It’s not often an elected official can say he broke a man’s leg in a fight and not worry about the repercussions. But Lincoln County Commissioner Tony Berget says there are few events like Libby Logger Days, which runs from June 20 to 23. The four-day festival has been held for a half-century and celebrates the town’s industrial history.
This year’s festival includes a carnival, logger competitions, a 10K race and concerts headlined by the Copper Mountain Band and Jamelution. But the most popular event is still the “Bull of the Woods” fight, where two people box on top of a log.
“There have been some good, knockdown, drag-out fights up on that log,” said Berget, who last battled five years ago.
Berget began competing in the “Bull of the Woods” in the early 1980s, when he was a high school wrestler. Berget practiced on a log in his backyard, but he lost his first bout during Logger Days. The following year, he came back and won, starting a 13-year winning streak. During one of those battles, Berget forced a competitor off the log and he broke his leg. Berget fought in the event for the next 20 years, even after he was elected mayor and county commissioner.
One year, Berget took on all comers for a split-the-pot fundraiser and many people took the opportunity to take a swing at the mayor, including his wife and a city councilor. Although Berget has hung up his gloves for now, he said he might return next year, after he turns 50.
“I don’t know if it will be a big comeback,” he said laughing. “I’ll probably just get my butt kicked.”
An eight-person board organizes the annual festival, according to Jessica Svendsbye, who was also the Logger Days Queen in 1999. She and many others in Libby have fond memories of going to the festival as a kid and Svendsbye said that’s why she volunteers every year.
“It’s the heritage of our town and we really want to keep that history alive for our kids,” she said. “I have three kids of my own now and I want them to enjoy the same things I did.”
The entertainment highlight of Friday and Saturday nights will be performances by Jamelution. Based in Belgrade, the band has now played Logger Days the last two years and is developing a following in Libby.
Jamelution plays everything from classic rock and country to hip-hop and blues. Singer Cindy Damjanovich said the band has been compared to “a live juke box.”
“We cover a lot of different genres and I think that’s what makes us good for an event like this,” she said. “The people in Libby are so kind and nice and the organizers are so easy to work with. That’s what makes Logger Days stand out.”
Logger Days kicks off Thursday, June 20, at J. Neils Park with a family carnival. Logger Day buttons are $5 in advance or $10 at the gate. For more information, visit www.loggerdays.org.
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