Historic event celebrates local timber industry
Prineville was a booming timber and lumber community and boasted five major operating sawmills for many years. The local logging industry, chamber of commerce and local businesses wanted to celebrate the timber industry with an annual event that would showcase logging skills. Other parts of the state had timber carnivals, but none were in Central Oregon. In 1970, plans to hold a timber carnival in Prineville began taking place. The first Central Oregon Timber Carnival was held in Prineville May 15 and May 16, 1971.
The event began with a major parade through downtown Prineville with all types of logging equipment on display. The grand marshal for the first Timber Carnival parade was Stan Mishler, the1970 World Champion Log Truck Driver. The Prineville Jaycees sponsored the parade. Over 1,000 people lined the streets for the parade.
The Timber Carnival was a two-day event with a Timber Queen contest held on Friday evening. The parade took place on a Saturday and events began after the parade. There were several categories of events, including log rolling, double bucking, standing block chopping, horizontal chop, choker setting, axe throwing, power bucking, hand bucking and log truck driving contests. There were events for women also. Over 40 contestants signed up for the various competitions.
Logging equipment was on display at the fairgrounds. Most of the events took place on Saturday with a log truck driving contest on Sunday. There was much enthusiasm and crowd support for the event even though it was a cool and drizzly weekend. The first All-Around Logger was Box Waibel of Sweet Home. Harold Cook of Mitchell won the log truck driving contest.
The event proved to be such a success that it was continued on an annual basis for several years. It was an opportunity for local competitors to display their skills with loggers from other areas. It was a highly anticipated event. The carnival was later pared down to a one-day event. It continued until 1993. A declining timber industry in the region led to the eventual discontinuance of the event after the 1993 carnival. It was widely attended during its years of operation.
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