Kid Stuff

Logs Will Roll

YMCA offers families awesome logrolling class

Sarah Bodeau |

Paul Bunyan, sawmills, and rivers are as much a part of the Chippewa Valley as cheddar is a part of cheese curds. Now, thanks to the Chippewa Valley Family YMCA in Chippewa Falls, area families can reconnect with their inner lumberjacks and lumberjills through a new, weekly logrolling class. Logrolling, or birling, has a simple objective: Stay on the log. People around here have been doing it for more than a century. In 1898, Omaha, Neb., hosted the very first logrolling world championship, and guess who took home the title? That’s right: an Eau Claire native, Tom Fleming. When Chippewa Valley Family YMCA Aquatic and Youth Coordinator Kyle Beach tried logrolling for the first time, he only lasted two seconds. “If you can stay on for three seconds,” chuckled Beach, “you’re the next Olympic logroller in the making.” During Sunday-afternoon classes, which began Feb. 24, families can try this totally local tradition. Although the Chippewa Y once offered logrolling, until recently, the activity had been benched – literally. “We had the official logrolling log, but without the qualified people,” explained Beach, “our log turned into a bench.” Beach said the log sparked many conversations, and this fall logrolling classes once again became possible when a staff member revealed her history as a roller. Families can choose to go to one, some, or all of the classes, which will cover the history of logrolling, how to logroll, and a crazy-fun game called Roleo. Think King-of-the-Mountain except on a log in the water. (This is a game that can be played in something called “Flap Jack Style” – how could that not be fun?). This kid-friendly activity is a great way for families to connect through exercise. “It’s fun. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” Beach said. “The family’s in the water, laughing, hoisting each other up – this is everybody together.”

Logrolling Class Sunday afternoons • Chippewa Valley Family YMCA, 611 Jefferson Ave., Chippewa Falls • 3:40-4:40pm • $3 for members, $6 for non-members • 723-2201 •