TOMAHAWK, Wis. - The advice always given - though seldom taken - when one is seeking aid in finding a career is, "Do what you love."
Well, Michael Koers has managed to find not one, but two, careers while following that sage old wisdom.
Koers, a native of Russell, Pa., counts chopping wood amongst his favorite hobbies so, naturally, he became a forester and a logger. That affinity for athletic endeavors and being outdoors - he also enjoys hunting and fishing - has led to his second career as well, that of STIHL Timbersports Professional Lumberjack.
Koers began taking part in Lumberjack competitions 10 years ago, first at Finger Lakes Community College and then at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, where he won the STIHL Collegiate Series Competition in 2005.
Now a professional, Koers recently participated in the STIHL Timbersports Series Midwest Qualifier, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and finished seventh in the field while competing against fellow professional lumberjacks.
The competition, which is said to attract the world's top lumberjack athletes, is based on historic logging techniques and is often called the "Original Extreme Sport."
Competing in six different events, Koers tallied 18 total points. He tallied four in the springboard event, which requires that competitors climb a nine-foot pole by chopping notches into the pole and placing a springboard in each notch so that they may climb higher and higher, four in the hot saw, three points in the standing block and two in the single buck event.
His top score, meanwhile, came in what he calls his strongest event, the underhand chop.
Koers was awarded five points in the underhand chop, which can be one of the more difficult events of the competition because it calls for the competitor to balance on a 12- to 14-inch white pine log, swing a five-pound ax and alternate chopping on each side of the log until it is completely cut in half.
Though the event already took place, those wanting to see Koers in action should mark their calendars for May 6 at 4 p.m., as the event will be televised on the Outdoor Channel. Re-airs, also on the Outdoor Channel, will be on May 9 at 8 a.m. and May 11 at 2 a.m.