Erin LaVoie wins the Women’s Division Championship; Rainer Shooter of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point wins the Collegiate Championship

 Matt Cogar Zoom

Matt Cogar


MILWAUKEE - Matt Cogar proved he’s one of the best lumberjack sports athletes of all time. Cogar won the 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® U.S. Pro Championship in front of thousands of raucous Wisconsin fans and became the only American athlete to ever win six straight U.S. titles. His victory also gives him the honor of representing the U.S. at the 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Individual World Championship in October in Liverpool, England.

This year STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® made history by having the American women compete on the same stage as the men. Erin LaVoie outlasted an incredibly talented field of female athletes to win the Women’s Division Championship. This was the second year of the Women’s Division.

The future of the sport was on display as the best collegiate athletes competed for the Collegiate Championship. Rainer Shooter of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point not only won the Collegiate Championship, but will also represent the U.S. in the Rookie World Championship abroad in 2019, and will be a member of the Team USA relay team in October. He’ll join professionals Cogar, Matt Slingerland, Jason Lentz, Walt Page and Adam LaSalle on Team USA.

New Series sponsor Harley-Davidson presented all three winners with a motorcycle. Long-time Series sponsor John Deere awarded the male and female professional second-place winners new Gators. All top three professional and collegiate winners earned Brute Forge axes.

“It’s never easy winning these. The athletes up here are the best lumberjack sports athletes in the country,” said Cogar. “I’m honored to compete alongside them, and I feel blessed to have won this.”

This year marked a new format for the U.S. Championship, which mirrors the World Championship:

  • Ten competitors competed in three disciplines - the underhand chop, stock saw and standing block chop – and the bottom two competitors were eliminated.
  • Eight competitors competed in the single buck and springboard chop, which were worth double the points. Again, the bottom two competitors were eliminated.
  • Six competitors competed in the hot saw, which was worth triple the points.
Cogar was near the leaderboard throughout the day, but trailed Slingerland
going into the final event. Cogar was lightning fast in the hot saw, finishing in 5.69 seconds. The score was good enough for second in the event, and led to a Championship win. Lentz finished second at the Championship, and Slingerland finished in third.

LaVoie earned the Women’s Division title after a wire-tight competition. She jostled at the top of the standings with Martha King and Nancy Zalewski all afternoon, but won the final discipline of the day – the single buck – to earn the title. King finished in second place and Zalewski finished in third.

Shooter was consistently good all competition. He finished in the top four in all four collegiate disciplines – the underhand chop, stock saw, standing block chop and single buck. West Virginia’s Andrew Sergent finished in second, despite disqualifying in the stock saw. Paul Smith’s College’s Chris Minore finished third.

“What an amazing weekend watching the best lumberjack sports athletes in the country compete,” said STIHL Corporate Communications Manager Roger Phelps. “The crowds were fantastic and we have three great champions.”

The weekend also featured the Champions Trophy qualifier. The thrilling endurance contest features athletes competing in the stock saw, underhand chop, single buck and standing block in succession. Cogar also won that event and will compete internationally at the Champions Trophy competition abroad in 2019.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Championships took place at German Fest Milwaukee. Thousands of fans packed the BMO Harris Pavilion from July 27 to 29. The venue and the city of Milwaukee have fully embraced the sport.

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series is sponsored by Harley-Davidson, John Deere and Duluth Trading Company. The U.S. Professional Championships will air on ABC on Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and Oct. 14. Fans can follow the Series through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and visit for the full results.