Fourth of July weekend brings the 55th Annual Mid-Sierra Loggers Jamboree to North Fork. The Jamboree is a celebration of the logging industry hosted by the North Fork Boosters as a fundraiser for the free summer program for North Fork children.
Saturday is the Pro-Am competitions starting at 10 a.m., and the Jamboree Horseshoe Tournament at noon. Sunday is the North Fork Lions Club pancake breakfast 7-10 a.m., followed by the professional logging competitors getting underway at Noon..
Four young ladies are running for Jamboree Queen, and a young boy and three young girls are running for Little Logger.
Queen contestants are Shellee Hance, Jordyn Ahrens, Hunter Hutchens and Cheyenne Whitener. Little Logger candidates are Timothy Alex Valle, Kessler Lopez, Jocelyn Hodges, and Dallas James. Winners will be those who sell the most Sunday tickets to the professional logging competitions.
Shellee Hance: Sponsored by Cody Construction, the 13-year-old attends Coarsegold Elementary School. She would like to follow in her grandpa's footsteps: Bob Smith was a Korean War pilot who became a sheriff's deputy in the Mountain Area and worked on the 1961 Harlow Fire which burned 20,000 acres in two hours, destroying both Nipinnawasee and Ahwahnee.
Jordyn Ahrens: Sponsored by The Buckhorn Saloon & Restaurant, the 17-year-old is going into her senior year at Yosemite High. She has been playing golf for five years and believes she has a good chance to attend college on a golf scholarship, with dreams to play professionally.
Her uncles (Chad and Lou Williams) and her grandmother Julie Ahrens have all participated in the jamboree. She has been raised in North Fork and wishes there was more for teens to do and a place where they could 'hang out..
Hunter Hutchen: Sponsored by Doug and Lois Betty of K & B Auto Parts, the 16-year-old attends Minarets High and is looking forward to a career as a veterinarian.
Her grandfather, J.T. Hutchins and her Dad, Jessie, have both been involved in the jamboree through the years.
Cheyenne Whitener: Sponsored by Gas N' Stuff, Whitener is a student at Minarets High. She wants to pursue professional photography, first through Oakhurst Community College and then moving to a larger, four year school.
On her mom's side, Oscar Childers was in the logging industry, and her grandmother, Zelda Whitener, is known for helping community members at the Grace Church Thrift Shop in North Fork.
The Queen's coronation will be Saturday night at the Wood Choppers Ball at Recreation Center. The ball begins at 8 p.m. and the Queen will be announced at 8:30. Tickets cost $5 in advance, $10 per person at the door. tickets: (559) 676-7648
Music will be provided by Wolf Hamlin and The Front Porch Drifters. Country singer Hamlin appeared on the national music scene in 2012, following an appearance on American Idol Season 11. He plays the Git-Fiddle and is known for great story telling along with his musical writing and playing talents.
Little Logger candidate Timothy Alex Valle, 3, is sponsored by The Redwoods in Yosemite. He is part of a logging family with Grandpa Tim Punkin known for his prowess at the Axe Throw, and Great Grandparents Logger Herb and Avis Punkin.
Kessler Adaline Lopez, 4, is sponsored by The Buckhorn Saloon. She is drawn to Jamboree because her father, the late Walt Lopez, Jr., loved to attend the event.
Jocelyn Hodges, 4, is sponsored by Gas N' Stuff. She would like to join sister Molly, a past Little Logger. Her dad (Nathan Hodges) as well as grandmother Cathy Hodges, grandfather Patrick Hodges,and uncle and aunt Jerry and Amanda Hodges have all participated in the Jamboree.
Dallas James, 3, is sponsored by North Fork Auto Parts.
All the candidates will ride in the Main Street Parade which starts at 5 p.m., Saturday, from Hank's Automotive. From there it winds through North Fork and ends up at Town Hall for a barbecue chicken dinner and the 6 p.m. announcement of the two Little Loggers.
Dinner costs $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Details: Cathy Thornburg, (559) 676-7766.