Sobieski lumberjack Chas Haas enjoying the spotlight

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Rookie competitor takes third at world championships in France
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Sobieski’s Chas Haas swings his axe during the standing block chop event. (Contributed photo)

Sobieski’s Chas Haas has enjoyed an immense amount of success since stepping into the world of a lumberjack in 2015.
Haas started taking part in lumberjack sports while working at the Dells Lumberjack Show three years ago. The job allowed Haas to participate in events that entertained crowds and has since earned the nickname, “The Bavarian Barbarian.”
“I had a friend who worked in the show, and after seeing everything they did, I was hooked,” Haas said. “I have German heritage, and my great-grandfather was a real-life lumberjack up in Birchwood around the early 1900s. My boss, Cassidy Scheer, coined the nickname after learning of this, and it sort of stuck after that.”
The job in the lumberjack show also allowed Haas to become familiar with the standing block chop, stock saw, underhand chop and single buck events — disciplines that are part of the Stihl Timbersports Series in which the world’s top lumberjack athletes compete.
With a solid understanding of the events and plenty of practice through his job, he decided to give the competitions a shot.
Even Haas could not have imagined the journey those competitions would soon take him on.
Haas competed in his first Stihl Timbersports event in the early part of 2017, when he represented the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the collegiate Midwest qualifier. Haas earned 38 points to take first place at the event — winning the stock saw, standing block chop and single buck events.
Just two events later, Haas won the 2017 Stihl Timbersports U.S. Collegiate Championship at German Fest in Milwaukee and broke the standing block chop record during that competition. He set the record in 20.80 seconds.
The finish put his name on the map and earned the young lumberjack a spot in the 2018 Stihl Timbersports Rookie World Championship, where he would represent the United States.
Haas, who graduated with a degree in biology in December, recently made the trip to Marseille, France, for the competition. Comprised of seven athletes from around the world, Haas came in third behind Australia’s Daniel Gurr, who took first, and Italy’s Michael Del Pin.
Haas earned the finish after taking second in the standing block chop (18.73 seconds) and third in the stock saw (11.74 seconds) and underhand chop (25.53 seconds) events. He finished seventh in the single buck (14.25 seconds).
“It was a huge honor to represent my country,” Haas said. “I had no clue if I would have a future in the competition side of the sport when I entered my first contest. But just over a year after that first one, here I was in France in the rookie world championships. It was something I did not take lightly and was very proud to do.”
The stock saw event sees athletes use a MS 661 Magnum chainsaw to make two cuts through a 16-inch white pine log. The lumberjack begins the event with both hands on the log and the chainsaw on the ground. The standing block chop event is like chopping a tree. The lumberjack must chop through 12 to 14 inches of vertical standing white pine.
The underhand chop involves the athlete standing on top of a 12- to 14-inch white pine log. When the timer begins, the lumberjack must chop the log between his legs. The single buck event has the lumberjack using a roughly 6-foot single man cross-cut saw to work through 19 inches of white pine.
Haas credits his time working at the Dells Lumberjack Show for his recent success as a competitor.
“We do 10 different events in the show, ranging from chopping and crosscut sawing to axe throwing, log rolling, boom running and speed climbing,” he said. “In the Stihl Timbersports circuit, the events are all chopping- and sawing-based. Every single event we do is based on a real task lumberjacks did out in the woods.”
Haas will serve as a show manager this summer. For a list of show dates and times, visit www.dellslumberjackshow.com.