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Making the chips fly

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HONESDALE, PA — On Saturday, August 3, the Wayne County Fair, now in its 157th season, presented the 36th Annual Woodsmen’s Competition in center court as an exhibition before the grandstands crowd.

In addition to the famous local county fair, the event was sponsored by the Wayne Conservation District.

Before the 11-event competition started, Mark Graziadio and Jim Hamill had a few words of welcome to the loggers and crowd, which were followed by Melanie Hanson belting our national anthem.

And then it was time to let the chips and sawdust fly.

The event featured spirited competition between loggers and woodsmen and women. First-place winners would receive $100, second place $75 and third place winners picked up $50 for their prowess with axes, chainsaws and crosscut blades of razor-sharp steel.

Bridgette Barlotta, a 45-year-old cell-tower climber from Port Jervis, NY learned the art of felling from her 76-year-old father Anthony, and both demonstrated they knew how to make a cut quickly through a series of logs.

Bridgette, now in her 13th year of woodsmen’s competitions, finished third in chain sawing (4.2 to 5.0 cubic inches) and came in second in chain sawing (5.01 and greater cubic inches).

“I enjoy this because it’s something my father and I can do together. He taught me since I was knee high to a grasshopper.”

Anthony Barlotta, is just a couple of weeks shy of his 77th birthday, and has been competing at the local county fair’s woodsmen’s events for 28 years, and is still going strong.

“It’s competition, that’s my theme,” he said.

The father-and-son team of Rick and Steve Mikloiche of Forest City, PA walked off the field with an armload of trophies.

Rick garnered first place in three events (vertical-block chop, chain sawing up to 4.19 cubic inches and chain sawing 4.2 to 5/0 cubic inches), came in second in axe throwing, and third in the “Super Swede” bow-saw event.

Not content with all that, he later teamed up with Arlene Shaw to take third place in the Jack & Jill crosscut competition.

And then it was time for the father to join forces with his son, and, working together in harmony, they took first-place honors in two-person crosscut and third in log rolling.

“I’m getting a little too old for this. I can’t keep up with him anymore,” said the elder Mikloiche.

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