Loggers’ competition to honour Godbout

EMO—After an impressive showing at last year’s loggers’ competition, Gaston Godbout, at the age of 76, had hoped to return to the annual event at the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s fall fair in Emo this year.
But while he won’t be there in person, his spirit will live on as his sons and grandsons compete for top honours this Friday morning (Aug. 18) while spectators remember the “Old Man of the Bush.”
Godbout passed away in October after a battle with cancer. In honour of him, this year’s loggers’ competition will be known was “The Gaston Godbout Memorial.”
“Even though he was in his 70s, he still competed actively and won as top logger for a number of years in a row,” noted competition chairperson Emily Watson.
“He’s really going to be missed,” she added.
Godbout, who owned and operated his logging company, Godbout and Sons Timber Ltd., was remembered in his obituary for his outstanding achievement of consistent first-place finishes in the buck saw event at the competition.
It noted he still holds the record time of 4.5 seconds in this event.
“There’s a big trophy on the wall at Abitibi that’s updated every year with the names of the winner and his name appears on there for a number of years,” said Watson.
“And he was very committed to the safety aspect of logging,” she added.
Godbout took home the Safe Logger Award given out each year by the Rainy River District Logging Safety Committee, one of the sponsors of the event, to the logger who best practices safety and awareness throughout the competition.
“He’ll never retire,” logger Kevin Caul had said of Godbout after last year’s competition. “He’s still pretty good.”
A year ago, his time of 8.44 seconds in the speed powersaw event was nearly a full second better than Caul’s second-place effort—and broke his own record in the process.
Godbout also took the bucksaw event in near-record time, as well as the axe throw, where he was the only competitor to use a one-handed technique. It appeared to pay off as he scored 15 out of a possible 18 points on this three throws.
He even teamed up with his grandson, Duane Loveday, to capture fourth place in the crosscut saw event.
Since this was a special event to Godbout, a trophy will be presented to the winners of this year’s event.
“His family—sons and grandsons—will be carrying on,” said Watson. “In the past few years, it had been a competition between him and his grandsons.
“They had a large family turnout to watch the friendly competition.”
Also, a tree will be planted in Godbout’s honour at 9 a.m. on Friday at the north end of the grandstand. The competition will follow from 9:30-noon.
(Fort Frances Times)

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