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awileman@sierrastar.comJuly 8, 2014 

Despite having a target on his back during this years Logger's Jamboree, on July 5, Nathan Hodges notched his fifth straight and seventh overall "All-Around Logger" title at the 55th Annual Loggers Jamboree in North Fork.

Raised in North most of his life, Hodges is owner and operator of All Phase Construction and works full time with the North Fork Rancheria making him no stranger to long days and hard work.

Over the years Hodges has made the event somewhat of a family tradition encouraging more and more of his family to compete including his wife, Melissa, younger brother Jerry, his mother, Cathy, father, Pat, as well as his step brother.

Despite designating limited practice time prior to the competition, Hodges prides himself in placing at the top every event and tallied most of his overall points by placing first in six of the nine events — ax throw, choker setting, stock power saw, hand chopping, birling and the Jack and Jill competition where he competed with his mother for the first time.

"It's like riding a bike for me," Hodges said. "I have been doing it for so long I just get out there and everything comes back."

Hodges says the hand chopping event has always been one of his favorites events as it brings sense of danger and excitement unmatched by the other events.

"I think when you add everything up it's a challenge and it's kind of dangerous when you're swinging an axe that big," Hodges said. "It takes a lot of skill, proper technique and strength to win."

Hodges also finished third in the double hand bucking with his father, and fourth in the tree falling event.

The main competition for Hodges this year was Aaron Morrow from North Fork. Morrow finished second overall and finished first in the double hand bucking and scored more points in the stock power saw and hand chopping competition finishing second to Hodges in those events.

Although he plans to compete again next year, and seems to be the clear favorite, Hodges knows he still has a long way to go before he can surpass Jim Taylor, of Redding, who sits atop the all-time list with 13 "All-Around Logger" titles.

"That's something I am asked every year and the answer is always the same. Yes, I will be competing next year," Hodges said. "I'll be out there every year until I have to crawl out there. Then they can put me in a wheel chair and wheel me out there if they have to."

Hodges has been attending the Jamboree with his family since he was four and says he first came intrigued with the event while watching others compete when he was younger.

Now, with more than five members of this family in the events Hodges says it makes for a fun day of competition against friends and family.

"It's all about family, friends and the joy of competition. I find it enjoyable to be out there competing against my family and friends. I wouldn't want it any other way," Hodges said.

Hodges said he is excited about winning this year's competition and hopes to continue the tradition next year.

Hodges has won 7 of 10 overall competitions since first entering back in 2004.

This year's Jamboree was a huge success raising close to $30,000 to be used for upkeep of the North Fork Recreation Center, which provides free summer programs for the children of North Fork.

"It all went over extremely well. Our attendance was up from last year and we made enough money so we can keep our summer youth program going," said the Jamboree's co-chairwoman Cathey Thornburg.

Minarets High School student Cheyenne Whitener was crowned this year's Loggers Jamboree Queen combining with the other three queen candidates to. Whitener said she is always looking for more ways to help seniors, becoming active in the community and increasing participation from younger generations.

"I was really nervous when I got up there and when they said I won it was overall excitement," Whitener said. "All the work I had put in over the past three months paid off."

Whitener was excited about be crowned but found more joy in the fact that the four queens were able to raise as much as $12,000 in pre-ticket sales to help with the North Fork youth programs.

"Everyone did such a good job. I am glad we were all able to participate and raise this much money for the Rec Center," Whitener said. "Without all of us being involved we wouldn't have been able to raise this amount of money. I know it's a good experience to learn from and the money goes to a good cause so I encourage kids of all ages too participate and compete in the upcoming years."

Kessler Lopez, 4, daughter of Shea Thomas and the late Walt Lopez, Jr., was crowned Little Princess.

Parade results

Parade trophies went to Kalub Moisa, Denver Wright, and Anthony Castanada (motocross), North Fork Chamber Of Commerce, Mono Museum, Gas 'n Stuff, 1961 Ford T-Bird/John Fabris, 1919 Model T/Stan Whitson with Grandson United States Marine Staff Sgt. Jeff Whitson, All American Cowboy Jasper Ervin, Horse drawn carriage/Maurice Corea, 2014 Coarsegold Rodeo Royalty/Queen Katie McDougald, Princess Lauryn Martin, and Princess Monica Christopher, Sons of the American Legion patriotic dune buggy/Ray Diaz, Honoring Roots & Elders/Kim Coltra, and mini motocross/ Tanner Ervin.

Jamboree royalty

2014 Loggers Jamboree Queen is Cheyenne Whitener, 16, a student at Minarets High School. Because of her experience volunteering at the Community Food Bank, she would love to find a way for teens to become more involved in helping seniors and others in the community.

Crowned Little Princess was Kessler Lopez, 4.

Named Little Logger was Timothy Alex Valle, 3. He wants some day to be part of the axe throw and the horseshoe tournament competition like his grandfather, Tim Punkin.

Whitner, Lopez, and Valle sold 2,450, 1,920, and 350 Jamboree tickets, respectfully. Total ticket sales raised was nearly $19,000.

Horseshoe tournament

Jamboree Horseshoe Tournament Chairman Dale Tex says 56 competitors, creating 28 teams participated in the event that is held as a memorial to Tim Punkin.

  1. Willie Chepo (North Fork) and Bob Medkoff (Coarsegold).
  2. Art Burt (Madera Ranchos) and Jake Ross (North Fork).
  3. Brandon Lawrence (North Fork) and Dale Tex (North Fork).
  4. Dominic Hotelv (North Fork) and Jesse Middleton (North Fork).

Saturday, July 5

Pro Am

  1. Nathan Hodges/Gino Brancato
  2. Jerami Middleton/Aaron Morrow
  3. Rudy Bates/Mark Ahrens
  4. Charlie Rose/Brian Terry

Jason Taylor Ax Throw

  1. Nathan Hodges
  2. Brian Davis
  3. Buck Scroggs
  4. Bill Antill

Junior Ax Throw

  1. Justin Wilson
  2. Keagan Mackey
  3. Emily Bourdan
  4. C.J. Minton

Jackpot Saw

  1. Aaron Morrow
  2. Bill Antill
  3. Mike Morrow
  4. Jessie Hutchens

Sunday, July 5, 2014

Overall Champion Logger

  1. Nathan Hodges
  2. Aaron Morrow
  3. Buck Scroggs
  4. Indy Elming


Ax Throw

  1. Nathan Hodges
  2. Mike Morrow
  3. Kyle Jansen
  4. Dale Tex

Choker Setting

  1. Nathan Hodges
  2. Indy Elming
  3. Buck Scroggs
  4. Charlie Rose

Double Hand Bucking

  1. Mike Morrow, Aaron Morrow
  2. Bill Antill, Buck Scroggs
  3. Nathan Hodges, Pat Hodges

Stock Power Saw

  1. Nathan Hodges
  2. Aaron Morrow
  3. Bill Davis
  4. Tim Elming

Hand Chopping

  1. Nathan Hodges
  2. Aaron Morrow
  3. Buck Scroggs
  4. Jeff Shamblin

Tree Falling

  1. Indy Elming
  2. Buck Scroggs
  3. Aaron Morrow
  4. Nathan Hodges

Hot Power Saw

  1. Mike Morrow
  2. Tim Elming
  3. Scott Hamilton
  4. 4, Indy Elming

Ladies Power Saw

  1. Kathy Logee
  2. Susie Lavell
  3. Cathy Hodges
  4. 4, Melissa Hodges

Ladies Ax Throw

  1. Kittie Lavell
  2. Toyahni Beihn
  3. Sheri Pinkerton
  4. Mindy Greer

Jack and Jill

  1. Nathan Hodges, Cathy Hodges
  2. Susie Lavell, Mike Morrow
  3. Kittie Lavell, Aaron Morrow
  4. Gino Brancato, Toyahni Beihn


  1. Nathan Hodges
  2. Jetty Hodges
  3. Pat Hodges

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