PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – It would have made for a bit more television drama if Arden Cogar Jr. needed it.
As it was, Cogar had already sewn up the 2012 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series U.S. Championship presented by Ram Trucks before he competed in the last heat of the final event, the hot saw. Cogar’s dominating performance, which included three season-best times, staked him to a seven-point lead heading into the wild-card event, where balky engines, busted chains and bad cuts can spell doom.
“We’ve got some drama,” TV producer Justin Darling said, “it’s just if Matt Cogar would have come through. If he had beat Dave Jewett’s time, it would have been some real drama of Arden pulling his hot saw and it not starting.”
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All the action from the U.S. Pro Championships at the Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud will air on Outdoor Channel starting Wednesday at 8 a.m. Reairs are June 15 at 2 a.m. ET and June 17 at 4 p.m. ET. The final show follows the same days and times next week.
“The Championships turned out well,” Darling said. “The top three guys who are really in the race, you are seeing the best of the best Americans compete. You have two current guys who are at their peak in Cogar and (Dave) Jewett, and you have the future of the sport in Matt Cogar. He’s going to be a dominant, he and Jason Lentz.”
Ironically, Jason Lentz didn’t make the championships because of a disqualification in the hot saw in his regional. His father, Mel Lentz, the King of the Lumberjacks, was through his three cuts in the hot saw at the championships before Arden got his new saw, “Lottie the Hottie,” going.
Cogar couldn’t start the beast during warm-ups, throwing his hands in the air then placing them on the wood for the start call of Rich Hallett. On his first pull, a crescent wrench attached to his pull cord bounced off his noggin’.
He tried to start it again and again, getting near the time when he would take a Did Not Finish and zero points for the event. Then, a hushed crowd heard the engine come to life, saw Cogar carefully make his cuts and score one point.
He didn’t have to have it, but Cogar was glad it started as he successfully defended his U.S. title by finishing with 39 points. He scored 24 points with wins in the springboard, standing block and underhand chop, and all in top times of the year.
“That was about as good a day as I’ve ever had,” Cogar said. “Even though the hot saw didn’t do what it was supposed to do – Lottie didn’t bounce – everthing else was spot on. I chopped well, I sawed well, I stock sawed well. I’m very thankful. I can’t do any better than that.”
Matt Cogar, a 6-4, 245-pound 25-year-old who finished seventh in last year’s championships, gave his cousin a run for the money. He finished five points back of Arden with 34. Jewett had wins in the final two events to catapult to third with 30 points.
Those three will be joined by Branden Sirguy to represent the U.S. in the World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, Sept. 7-8.
For his U.S. title, Arden, a 42-year-old civil defense attorney from West Hamlin, W.Va., won a 2012 Ram 1500 Truck and a gold medal. The STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® shows on Outdoor Channel will chronicle his best day competing.
“Except for the hot saw, it could not have been a better day,” he said.
Darling said another interesting facet of the show is STIHL honoring nine original members of the Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEALS) units.
“STIHL brought them in for their 50th anniversary and they were presented chainsaws with their original colors,” he said. “It’s the original extreme sport honoring the original extreme warriors.”