Logger sports a family affair for Boykos

Catch the Boykos in action at Sunday’s logger sports competition at the Fall Fair

Passed down through three generations, logger sports is a family affair for the Boykos.

Port Alberni’s Mike Boyko and his 16-year-old son Kenji are squeezing in some final days of practicing on their homemade log rolling equipment in their backyard before Sunday’s logger sports competition at the Fall Fair.

Mike is a seven-time logger sports Canadian champion who has competed and demonstrated around the world for 30 plus years. He learned the sport from his logger father, Al Boyko, and has now passed it on to his son, Kenji, who is making a name for himself at competitions around the province.

Already this summer, Kenji has competed in two logger sport competitions. His area of expertise is log birling (log rolling) but he also dabbles in axe throwing and various other logger sports.

“The first competition was in Squamish, that was a pretty big one,” Kenji said. “I did about five rolls against five different people and overall I got third. There’s not many kids my age in the [men’s open class], I’m the youngest.”

Log birling sets up two competitors on a log 16 to 17 inches in diameter on the water. Each round is timed and if the competitors are unable to knock their component off the log, another round is added, with the log reducing in size.

“I’m pretty light, I just have to stay up there and be like a fly because [competitors] do lots of stuff to try to get me off,” Kenji said.

His second competition of the summer was in Campbell River, where Kenji competed, and beat, his dad for the first time. Placing second overall in log rolling in the men’s open class.

“It was the best two out of three,” Mike said. “So I beat [Kenji] the first match…and he came back and beat me, so we’re tied, and then he got me in the third.”

Kenji began competing when he was 10 years old, but said he was much younger when he learned the sport from his dad.

“I started log rolling, that was my first event,” Kenji said. “It’s really exciting you get to verse different people.”

Logger sports have been around for decades, beginning as a hobby for loggers and eventually evolving into world-wide competitions.

“On the Island, in the 70s, it was huge with every little town,” Mike said. “There was probably 25 shows in B.C. alone, at least. Now it’s died out, same as forestry has died out.”

Mike, who’s a logger himself, said people tend to think it’s predominantly loggers who compete in the events.

“Everyone thinks you’ve got to be a logger to be in logger sports, but you’ve got business men, all kinds of different careers,” Mike said.

Mike added that the sports have become more popular among women, which has been a rejuvenation for a somewhat dying sport.

“It’s really great for the sport,” Mike said about women competitors. “And they’re doing so great. My sister is doing the wood cutting now.”

Now semi-retired, Mike said he will still compete at this year’s Fall Fair event, along with his son, his sister and her children.

“I’m kind of at the stage now where everybody’s beating me, but I still enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t have that fire that I used to have for the competition where I used to train like a mad man.”

To catch the Boykos at this year’s logger sports competition, head to the Alberni District Fall Fair grounds on Sunday, Sept. 10.

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wounded Warriors runners arrive in Port Alberni

Fundraising dinner will take place at Royal Canadian Legion

Arrowvale Farm near Port Alberni hosts maple syrup fest

Taste west coast maple syrup on Leap Year Saturday and watch demonstrations too

ACRD urges B.C. gov’t to upgrade Bamfield Road in wake of winter storm

ACRD board to write letter to Premier John Horgan, expressing urgency

More businesses in Port Alberni need a voice at city council, says one Uptown owner

Business owner says all businesses in the Alberni Valley need a louder voice

Port Alberni finishes strong in men’s bonspiel

Home teams make it to the finals at Alberni Valley Curling Club’s Men’s Open Bonspiel

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read