LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Kate Page has improved her placing every year she has competed in the STIHL Timbersports Series, and this year she finished sixth among the 12 women during the July 23-25 event.
“I shouldn’t complain,” Page said. “I was eighth in 2018 and seventh in 2019. I was in the middle of the pack without points in one event. Next year, I have to be in the top five.”
Martha King of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, won the event for the second consecutive time.
Page, 30, who works as a firefighter in the Heppner Ranger District on the Umatilla National Forest for the U.S. Forest Service, qualified for the U.S. Championships at the West Coast qualifier June 6 in Centralia, Washington.
With nationals nearly two months away, Page thought she would have training time to hone her skills. The recent fires in Oregon threw a monkey wrench in her plans.
“We had the Lovlett Fire and I didn’t get in the training I wanted to,” she said. “We were working 12-hour days.”
At nationals, the competitors started with the stock saw, then moved to the standing chop, the single buck and the underhand.
It was the stock saw event that Page was disqualified in because the second piece of wood (cookie) that she cut was too thin.
“Right out of the gate, I disqualified in the stock saw,” she said. “It was so close. The edge of your thumbnail was how close. They make a line all the way around the log with a Crayon. Usually when I disqualify, it’s because I cut a Crayon line. I’m looking at my log and I thought it was good. I turned my saw off and set it down, which means you are done. My second cookie was super thin. It was too thin.”
Page finished fourth in the standing chop, fourth in the single buck and seventh in the underhand.
“I set a personal record for myself in the underhand,” she said.
Other than that, Page was not totally pleased with her performance.
“The whole weekend was crap,” she said. “I was all over the board, but I took sixth. It was a little wild this year. I didn’t break any equipment, which is good.”
Page also took the time to add up some numbers.
“If I would have taken sixth place (in the stock saw), I still would have been in sixth — 3 points behind fifth,” she said. “Unless I had a really good time, I would have been stuck at sixth place.”
Some competitors were surprised that Page showed up at the competition with all the fires raging in the Northwest.
“They talk about me being a firefighter and stuff, and saying, ‘Shouldn’t you be out fighting fires.’” she said. “They are waiting for me when I get back. There’s a 400,000-acre fire (Bootleg Fire) going on right now.”