STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series Pro and Collegiate Qualifiers coming to Auburn March 15

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – STIHL TIMBERSPORTS is bringing its Collegiate Southern Qualifier and Professional Series regional qualifying event to Auburn March 15 as part of the 56th Annual Southern Forestry Conclave hosted by Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

Fourteen college students from across the Southeast will compete in events based on traditional logging skills, such as wood chopping and sawing, with the winner earning a spot in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Collegiate Championship in June in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

“Hosting the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series Southern Qualifier is a great honor for Auburn and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences,” said Tom Gallagher, associate professor at Auburn. “Our students have worked diligently to coordinate this event and we can’t wait to showcase our school, campus and skills.”

The competitions begin at 6 p.m. at the Cowboy Church of Lee County Covered Arena at 7600 U.S. Highway 280. Admission is $5. Collegiate and professional competitors will alternate during each event.

Participating schools include Auburn, Alabama A&M, Clemson, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana State, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas-Monticello, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

More than 300 students also will compete on Auburn’s campus in forestry conclave events, such as knife and axe throwing, log rolling and pole climbing, throughout each day March 15-16 at Ag Heritage Park, 650 S. Donahue Drive. These events have free admission.

In the Collegiate Southern Qualifier, students will compete in four disciplines, including the single buck, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop. The competitor earning the most cumulative points will earn a $1,000 scholarship from STIHL for his or her school and advances to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Collegiate Championship. The collegiate champion wins automatic entry into the 2014 Professional Series.

In the Professional Southern Qualifier, the top four pros will advance to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS U.S. Championship and the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany, Oct. 25-26. This year, for the first time, fans will have the opportunity to join the competition on Facebook with Fantasy Lumberjack. Prizes include STIHL chainsaws and a trip for two to the World Championship in Germany. To play the ultimate fantasy sports game, visit facebook.com/STIHLTIMBERSPORTS.

The Outdoor Channel will televise the Collegiate Southern Qualifier at 2 p.m. April 7 and also on April 4 at 7 a.m. and April 5 at 1 a.m. The Professional Southern Qualifier will air in primetime at 2 p.m. April 14 and also on April 10 at 7 a.m. and April 12 at 1 a.m.

More information about the 2013 Southern Forestry Conclave is available at http://wp.auburn.edu/conclave/.

Contact: Tom Gallagher, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, (334) 844-1095 (gallatv@auburn.edu); Charles Martin, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (marticd@auburn.edu); or Brittany Silberman, STIHL TIMBERSPORTS media contact, (770) 329-8260 (bsilberman@groupcse.com)