MAXVILLE – An estimated 100 people turned out for the 4th annual Maxville Gathering, held Saturday, Aug. 18, at the historic logging community site on Promise Road north of Wallowa.

They enjoyed music and food, tours aboard a mule-drawn wagon, a university professor’s informative talk, and an assortment of other activities that either stimulated the mind or got the competitive juices flowing.

Where competition was concerned, Wallowa’s Leita Barlow was the afternoon’s big winner. Unafraid of the mess a watermelon can produce when you’re challenged to eat it without aid of your hands, Barlow intrepidly gobbled her way to first-place glory in the watermelon-eating contest. Later, she joined Joseph’s Jim Akenson to form the winning team in the Gathering’s first-ever “Jack and Jill” logging contest.

In the logging contest, competitors performed a near-dizzying series of tasks inspired by popular conceptions of a typical old-time logger’s life. Teams would start the contest lying prone, waiting for the morning triangle’s clang signaling the break of day.

Their clock would start and they would spring to action, one team member pulling on a single logging boot while the other donned an apron.

Now it was “breakfast” and time for the apron-wearer to flip three pancakes from a frying pan and into the teammate’s plate. Three flips successfully caught, the team now used peaveys to roll a log about 15 yards, qualifying for the main activity – using a crosscut saw to cut a “cookie” from the end of another log already mounted on a stand.

Once the cookie dropped to the ground, one member hopped into a wheelbarrow to be quickly transported back to the starting area by the teammate.

Back home, the boot-wearer pulled that footwear off before the team “retired” to the prone position and the contest judge stopped their clock.

Behind Barlow and Akenson’s winning time of 1:43.39, the contest field performed as follows: Michelle Chapin, Enterprise, and Jerry Hustafa, Joseph, 2:37.65; Kirk Skovlin and Lars Skovlin, Joseph, 2:39.18; Lara and Christopher Buhler, Joseph, 2:43.86; and Holly Akenson, Joseph, and Ann Cox, Wallowa, 3:32.27.

In the watermelon-eating contest, Barlow’s co-competitors were Jay Kirk, Wallowa, second place, and Eliza Irish, Enterprise, third.


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