Image: Still from 1986 Grande Prairie Logging Sports. This video cassette shows various events, competitions, demonstrations and entertainment at the 1986 event. (SPRA 1998.22.03c) The still featured here shows a “birling” demonstration: a game wherein each player attempts to balance on a floating log while each rotate it with their feet.
In 1973, the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce was searching for ways to promote the city as the “Timber Capital” of Alberta. They approached locally based forest industries and allied companies to put together a timber show to run in conjunction with Muskoseepi Days. The first timber show was held that summer in 1973, with several local competitors.
In 1974, the Logging Sports Committee began negotiations with the County of Grande Prairie Agricultural Society to hold the show in conjunction with the County Fair. As a result of the 1975 show, the committee was accepted into the Canadian Loggers’ Sports Association (CANLOG) and became part of a Canada-wide competition circuit. The local Association began to construct a logger’s sports park— complete with a log house facility, birling pond and climbing poles— and, by 1976, competitors came from as far away as Australia.
From 1976 to the early 1990s, the event continued to be a part of the annual fair at Evergreen Park. However, the association whose job it was to organize the show was having difficulty attracting new members. The Grande Prairie Loggers Sports Association folded in 1994; that year, the last Loggers’ Sports Show was held in Grande Prairie.
Fonds 042: Grande Prairie Loggers Sports Association fonds consists of the rules and regulations of the Loggers’ Sports Association, programs of the yearly events, photographs, news clippings and a video of the 1986 competition. These records were donated to the Grande Prairie Museum by Laura Partlow and Martha Head and later transferred to the South Peace Regional Archives.
This article was originally featured in the March 2020 issue of Telling Our Stories.