KP Logging Show was a rip-roaring crowd pleaser

Karen Lovett Andrea Van Slyke and son Mike Van Slyke, 8, compete (for his first time) handling the two-man saw during the double bucking contest. They are fourth and fifth-generation members of the Key Peninsula family of loggers. Photo by Karen Lovett, KP News

Key Peninsula Community Services (KPCS) volunteers labored day and night to make sure this years Aug. 15 KP Logging Showexceeded all expectations.

“Weve been gearing up for this all year,” KPCS Executive Director Penny Gazabat said.

“Because its our second year at Gateway Park, things seemed to fit together. Were very fortunate to have Susie Donahue as the chair. We made a couple of adjustments. Parking is closer to the vendors and the vendors are closer to the logging show. The loggers are our partners. We couldnt do it without them,” Gazabat said.

The Henningsen family of Belfair have been a cornerstone of the popular logging show for more than 20 years.

“Im the one who keeps them all in line,” Kerri Henningsen said. “All our drivers set up and compete. We brought our equipment in the rain, but it was dry when we were setting up. We enjoy doing the show, but its a lot of work. People see what we do in a pleasant setting.”

Kerris brothers, Jason and Jordan Henningsen ,were competing in events as well as being event announcers. Jeff Davis, their uncle does setup and competes. Niece Morissa and nephew Patrick take part in the family affair. This year Kerris 8-year-old son Bobby Jute was competing for the first time in double bucking, a two-person handsaw event.

“We love having the logging show here. Thats what this land is for, to be used by organizations that want to hold their events here,”said Christina Hallock, Key Peninsula Parks marketing specialist and recreation coordinator. “It will be less complicated to have events here once its designated as a park. Ingress and egress have to be addressed.”

Doctor Roes and the Down Home Band filled the air with familiar tunes while everyone perused the 19 booths. Profits from the silent auction and rummage sale will benefit the KPCS Food Bank and Senior Center.

Key Peninsula Veterans sold raffle tickets for a red, white and blue quilt at their booth. The drawing for the patriotic quilt made by Roxyanne Wooldridge will be held on Veterans’ Day. The larger than California-king-size creation took her more than one year to make. Raffle tickets are $1 and remain on sale until the Nov. 11 drawing.

Karl Bonn was on hand early, cooking breakfast for the loggers and volunteers. Eric Donahue and Jackie Daigle manned the kitchen throughout the day, keeping the public and workers well fed.

“I had a chilly dog,” Jane Allen said. “It was massive, messy and good. I didnt realize how much this logging show meant for fundraising for Key Peninsula Community Services and the senior center.”

During the double bucking event (two people pushing and pulling at each end of a handsaw) had an unusual twist this year. Fourth-and-fifth generation descendants of the Van Slyke family, owners of Vaughn Bay Lumber Co., put out a good effort. Andrea Van Slyke and her son Mike took a turn on the so-called “misery whip.”

Be it young or old, the popular event had plenty of fun for everyone. Six-year-old Olivia Wilson’s favorite thing was playing Plunko and mini golf.

“This is our second year staffing a Gater, four-wheel drive,” said Anne Nesbit, a Key Peninsula Fire Department volunteer battalion chief. “It belongs to a Gig Harbor paramedic. Its great for this park because it gives quicker access to trails. We can handle any first aid and this keeps a fire department presence in the community. Weve never had any accidents or major incidents at a logging show.”

“Im really tired,” said Brett Higgins, KPCS food bank manager. “We loaded up all the stuff for the rummage sale and food and waited out the rain to get set up for about 12 hours. Between tonight and tomorrow morning, it will be torn down and cleaned up. KPCS volunteers and families clean up. The loggers clean up their area.”

“Everybody who donated to the raffle has been awesome,” Henningsen said. “Mahnke Lumber also donated a ton of woodstove pellets for the auction and supplied a truck to secure logs. Big Bubbas in Allyn also donated $100 in gift cards”

“It went fabulous,” said Susie Donahue, event coordinator. “The loggers put on a fantastic show. We couldnt do it without our sponsors, the Peninsula Light Co., Bruce Titus Automotive Group, and all the volunteers that make this happen. Its a great family event for the Key Peninsula.”