Tag Archives: loggers

Loggers Jamboree Folk Tradition

Nationality: American
Primary language: English
Age: 58
Occupation: Insurance salesman
Residence: Mercer Island, WA


As a kid, MD’s grandpa took him to the Loggers’ Jamboree every year. His grandpa had been a logger for a long time, and this was a yearly tradition where local loggers got together to celebrate. There were tons of competitions, all of which MD’s grandpa participated in and usually won at. They had competitions where two men would get on a log with spiked shoes and they tried to roll each other off into the water. MD’s grandpa couldn’t swim, so it was kind of scary for MD to watch. There were also competitions where teams of two men competed to see who could chop down trees the fastest. They had old fashioned saws that had a handle for each man. They also had arm wrestling.


MD’s grandpa took him to the Loggers’ Jamboree every year from when he was 4 to when he was 8. These memories bring him a lot of joy. It made him feel like his grandpa was like Superman because he always won. MD didn’t have much to say on the meaning of the tradition besides that it was a way for loggers to connect.


Logging is both a niche profession and one that is traditionally associated with masculinity. As such, the Loggers’ Jamboree is a perfect way for this folk group to get together and share what they have in common. These competitions showcase that loggers value strength, persistence, and strategy, which are traits often tied to manhood. To be strong is often to be masculine, especially in folk groups full of traditionally masculine men. Whoever is strongest is the winner, further showcasing the importance of strength and persistence in the logging career. The tree-cutting competition seems to value cooperation and teamwork. After all, a long saw cannot be used by a single man–there must be two. Whichever team cuts the tree fastest is the winner, showcasing that speed and cooperation are equally important in logging. This seems to represent a value of brotherhood amongst loggers–they must be strong together. Since logging is a niche tradition, I would argue that the Loggers’ Jamboree is also a way to celebrate rare skills shared amongst a small folk group. Not everyone understand what it is to be a logger or the skills necessary to do the job, so celebrations of this field help reinforce the job’s value within the folk group. This is similar to the firefighters in Chapter 4 of Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: An Introduction (Oring, McCarl). This event wasn’t just closed to loggers, though–MD was invited, too. It seems that this logging celebration also celebrates the loved ones of loggers, inviting them to share in a niche culture and enjoy its games without its struggles.