Sunday, June 24, 2007

More Log Rolling and Huntington's Disease in the News!

The following articles are about the Midwest Log Rolling Championships which were a HUGE success here in Madison yesterday.
Log rolling's evolution: From flannel to Spandex
Adam Mertz — 6/22/2007 8:33 am

When Olivia Judd was in eighth grade, all of her friends got the trendy graduation gifts you might expect at an upscale Madison prep school.
She got ... a log. An $800 rolling log, to be exact. This was before anyone south of Hayward knew much about the sport, an adaptation of the skills that lumberjacks employed for more than a century in plying their trade.
Judd couldn't have been happier. She also couldn't make her classmates comprehend why this was a good present.
Fast forward four years, and the recent Madison West graduate is still hooked on the sport, which has taught her lessons about self-improvement that carried over to other aspects of her life. So, on her college application forms, she'd say in no uncertain terms: "If you're not letting me bring a log, don't bother letting me in."
These days, Judd, 17, can at least see a glint of recognition in people's eyes when she mentions her favorite hobby, thanks in part to the exposure gained through the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, featured articles in People magazine, and even a cameo on MTV's The Real World.
It's also due to word-of-mouth from the next generation of log rollers, such as Judd and fellow Madisonians Fiona Cahill and Amber Scarborough, who don't fit the classic mold. To adapt a line from the classic Monty Python sketch, Judd's not a lumberjack, but she's OK with that.
"Obviously, we've kind of moved away from flannel and suspenders, and toward Spandex and sports bras," said Judd, who will attend Trinity University in San Antonio this fall. "It's a great sport for city kids, and anywhere you have some water. It's fun and athletic and it doesn't need to be stodgy."
Log rolling still has its base in the north woods, but it is now catching on in urban centers like St. Paul, Minn. In Madison, where there long has been a small and dedicated community of rollers, things have evolved to the point where girls now constitute a majority of the students who show up for twice-weekly lessons under world-class roller Shana Martin at Wingra Canoe and Sailing, on the shore of Lake Wingra.
"Lumberjacks did this. They'd get drunk, they'd build their camp, and they'd roll against each other. But it's slowly transitioned. "Lumberjacks still cut down trees and everything, but now athletes do the sport," said Martin, a Madison native who picked up the sport in elementary school and stuck with it even as she went on to star in track at Madison Memorial and the University of Wisconsin. "So, you're not going to see your big hairy, burly men -- we've got a couple of them -- but most of them are younger, under 30 athletes. It's definitely becoming urbanized."
As Martin indicates, these aren't necessarily the tomboy types. Cahill, 16, also sings for the Madison Youth Choir, at First United Methodist church and at Madison West, where she will be a junior in the fall. Scarborough, 14, plays the clarinet, enjoys drawing and acting, and participates in forensics at Madison Memorial, where she is heading into her sophomore year.
But they thrive on the solo competition offered in log rolling, and will be putting their skills on display Saturday at the Midwest Log Rolling Championships in Madison. The event doubles as a fund-raiser for the fight against Huntington's Disease, a rare, inherited neurological disorder that has afflicted Martin's mother, Deborah, for 21 years.
For both Cahill and Scarborough, log rolling was love at first sight.
"I had a friend doing it when I was in seventh grade, and I just had to do it," said Cahill, who also pole vaults for West. "I begged my mom for a week straight to get into classes, and she let me."
Part of the allure of the sport is the chance to compete alongside the best in the world, a thrill that Judd has experienced at an early age.
"When I was 13, I was still star-struck by all the pros. And I'd get to practice with them, and they'd give me advice," she said. "And I know that if I played a more conventional sport I'm never going to meet the stars, and I'm never going to make it to the big league. But here, I could be on ESPN when I was 15. I can be at the top. And I can see my hard work pay off, which is really gratifying."
Locally, the influence of the outgoing and multi-talented Martin on the growth of the sport can't be understated.
"I think she's really a role model for me -- not just because she's done log rolling, but she's just done so much good stuff in general," Scarborough said. "She's really amazing, and an inspiration."
Martin recently was elected president of the Wisconsin chapter of the Huntington's Disease Society and attended the group's national convention, where she received good news. Researchers have developed the first treatment to delay the onset of the disease, and a full-scale test is under way.
"It's amazing to see how much hope there is," Martin said.
What: Midwest Log Rolling Championship
When: Saturday. Kids compete at noon, followed by the pros in log rolling at 2 p.m. and the boom run at 3 p.m.
Where: Wingra Canoe and Sailing Center, 812 Knickerbocker Place, on the shore of Lake Wingra off Monroe Street
Admission: Free
For a good cause: The event benefits the Wisconsin chapter of the Huntington's Disease Society of America, of which Madison native and world-class log roller Shana Martin is president. For more information, visit
Wisconsin State Journal Local Section

Kestra Peterson, 11, Sun Prairie, left, and Gretchen Greene, 11, Madison, roll against each other. On Sunday June 17, 2007 Shana Martin, a world-class log roller, held demonstrations and open house as a lead-up to the Midwest Log Rolling Championship to be held June 23 in Madison. The event was held in Lake Wingra near Wingra Canoe and Sailing. Steve Apps-State Journal. PUBLISHED 6-18-07 Kestra Peterson, 11, of Sun Prairie, left, and Gretchen Greene, 11, of Madison, below, rolled against each other Sunday in Lake Wingra at a demonstration hosted by Shana Martin, Madison's own world-class log roller. Martin, right, has regularly participated in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games and other international competitions. The Midwest Log Rolling Championships will be held Saturday in Madison. The event is a fundraiser for the Huntington's Disease Society of America, Great Lakes Chapter. Visit for information.