Jimmy Lawrence loves the lumberjack sport. He is the coach for Haywood Community College’s Woodsmen’s Team and president of the South Atlantic Woodsmen’s Association (SAWA). He got his start in the sport as a student at HCC and has been the coach for over six years. He’s been involved with SAWA for about the same time.
Lawrence graduated from HCC’s Wood Products program in 2004. Before that, he received a Lumber Specialist diploma in 1994 and a Sawyer diploma in 1993. He works part-time in HCC’s sawmill.
With the SAWA Lumberjack Series, Lawrence travels all over North Carolina and to nearby states to compete. Over half of the competitors with SAWA are HCC graduates. The series has seven events. His favorite events are the underhand chop, single buck, and stock chain saw.
“I like this sport because you can keep doing it at any age. That’s not true for all sports. Lumberjacking even has a master’s division,” Lawrence says. “I love teaching these young competitors all I have learned.”
Lawrence realizes the sport doesn’t come without its challenges. It takes time to practice and master the skills and buying the equipment needed isn’t cheap especially for young competitors. At HCC, the Woodsmen’s Team raises money themselves through various fundraisers such as a firewood sale. They also receive donations, as well as prizes such as equipment through competitions.
Lawrence is especially proud of how HCC rates against many four-year schools in woodsmen’s events. “I would take the HCC team to any conclave. These students seem to have a stronger work ethic than you may see at a four-year school. They are more determined and dedicated.”
When time allows, Lawrence enjoys weightlifting and training with his son for SAWA.