Loveday earns grandfather’s trophy as top logger

No one had ever beaten long-time participant Gaston Godbout in the buck saw event during the annual loggers’ competition at Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s fall fair in Emo.
So when he passed away from cancer last year, his family offered a memorial award to be presented to the winner of that event in this year’s competition, aptly named the Gaston Godbout Memorial.
And the award couldn’t have gone to a better competitior—Godbout’s grandson, Duane Loveday.
“I could never beat him,” an emotional Loveday remarked after the competition Friday morning. “He always won and still would have.”
Loveday, who lives in Fort Frances, placed third overall with 27 points. Kelvin Caul of Devlin garnered 34 points to top the competition for the fourth-straight year while his son, Jason, was second with 31.
“It’s good to be able to honour [Godbout]. He was really involved in this,” Caul remarked.
“He’s missing here this year, for sure,” echoed fellow competitor Wes Smith.
Loveday and Godbout had been partners in previous competitions. And until he arrived in front of the grandstand Friday morning, he didn’t have a partner for this year’s event.
“It’s really hard being here today,” Loveday admitted. “I thought of him through every part [of the competition].”
Dozens of Godbout’s relatives packed the stands and Loveday noted his grandfather was still there somewhere.
“I didn’t come here to win, but to keep him alive,” he added.
Godbout, who passed away in October at the age of 76, competed actively in the logging events and won as top logger for a number of years in a row.
And another way to remember him and to recognize his contribution, a tree was planted in his honour at the north end of the grandstand.
“This is very special and nice of them to do this,” said Godbout’s daughter, Mishelle Shaw. “But it’s sad that he’s not here.”
“It’s really hard, especially because this is our first year without him,” echoed Loveday’s wife, Sherri. “It’s very important that we remember him.”
Not only did Loveday place first in the buck saw event, he also took top honours in the speed powersaw and chair carve ones. Caul took individual first place finishes in the axe chop, pulpwood toss, and pole felling event.
The latter needed to go to a tie-breaker round between himself and Smith.
“Everything went well, except the axe throw,” Caul noted, saying while it is not one of his best events, he just could get the axe to stick.
He also said he’d like to see more competitors out next year. Wayland Smith, Orville Smith, Curtis Smith, and Duane Smith rounded out the eight contenders.
Caul and his son also placed first in the two-man cross-cut and the tea boil.
“He did pretty good,” he said of Jason. “I was happy to have him back, although my brother did pretty well for being a rookie last year.”
Jason Caul had been fighting forest fires last year, but finished second to his dad in the overall standings in 2004.
This year, he earned the Safe Logger Award, presented 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.
And although both Kelvin and Jason Caul had a good showing, the former admitted both spent a few hours the evening before practising for the competition.
“I guess it was worth it,” he said, adding he wanted to thank Badiuk Equipment for lending the pair some pieces of equipment.
Results from each event were:
•Cross-cut (two-man)—1. Kelvin Caul and Jason Caul (17.22 seconds) 2. Wes Smith and Orville Smith (23.45 seconds) 3. Duane Loveday and Wayland Smith (28 seconds)
•Speed Powersaw—1. Duane Loveday (8.97 seconds) 2. Kelvin Caul (9.40 seconds) 3. Jason Caul (10.38 seconds)
•Pole Felling—1. Kelvin Caul 2. Wes Smith 3. Duane Smith
•Buck Saw—1. Duane Loveday 2. Kelvin Caul 3. Jason Caul
•Axe Throw—1. Wayland Smith 2. Duane Loveday 3. Jason Caul
•Axe Chop—1. Kelvin Caul 2. Jason Caul 3. Wes Smith
•Pulpwood Toss—1. Kelvin Caul (74’) 2. Jason Caul (69’1”) 3. Wes Smith (58’1/4”)
•Chair Carve—1. Duane Loveday 2. Jason Caul 3. Curtis Smith
•Tea Boil—1. Kelvin Caul and Jason Caul 2. Wes Smith and Orville Smith 3. Duane Loveday and Curtis Smith
•Safe Logger Award—Jason Caul
•Rookie Logger—Wayland Smith