It will always be one of the proudest moments of David Moses’ life.
Half a world away from home, the Snoqualmie man got to carry the flag of the United States of America into the world championships of timber sports on Friday, Oct. 25.
“That was awesome,” said Moses, who bore the banner in front a cheering crowd during the Stihl Timbersports Series World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. There to chop and saw as part of the relay team, he was selected after placing third at nationals.
Moses did well enough in the Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud, last June in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to gain the notice of the Team USA committee.
In Germany, Moses helped the relay team take second among 22 teams. The Americans fell to the New Zealand team by six-tenths of a second in the finals.
He did the standing block chop in the second round and single-sawed in the third round, performing best in the sawing round.
Moses was a little nervous, taking the stage in a world championship—that’s something he has never done before.
Surprisingly, Moses already has his German fans—lots of them.
“I’m pretty popular in timber sports over there, because of YouTube,” he said.
“It was kind of strange to go to Germany and have so many people know me by name, and I’ve never met them—fans and competitors as well,” said Moses. “It was a very humbling experience to have that many people be excited to see and talk to me.”
Another high point of the trip was meeting Air Force airmen and injured soldiers at an American military base, where Team U.S.A. did a timber sports demo, introducing many soldiers to the sport.
“They loved it,” said Moses.
Moses got a personal tour of Rammstein Air Force Base from a one-star general, and got to see some of the military’s large aircraft. He also visited the soldiers’ hospital at the base, putting his autograph on cards, hats, wooden single-buck “cookies” and wood chips for Air Force personnel of all ages.
Physically, he was ready, training ahead of time on the two relay events that he knew he had to do.
The toughest competitors, says Moses, come from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Germany.
The hometown favorite in Stuttgart was Robert Ebner, who wears a red-plaid lumberjack hat. An entire section in the stands wore those hats in his honor.
Timber sports are popular in Germany, and the sound and size of the crowd was reminiscent to Moses of pro football in the U.S.
“The big thing I noticed is, their fan base is better,” he said. “I was surprised how many U.S. fans we had over there. Quite a few people bought our team jerseys and wore them around.”
Moses, who visited the Mercedes museum and the Neuschwanstein palace in Bavaria, was impressed by the craftsmanship, the castles and the cobbled streets. His wife, Annette, who also competes in timber sports, has German ancestry, and made a point of touring German castles.
Moses was on the relay team with three other men. He learned a few things from his teammate Paul Cogar, father of U.S. champion Matt Cogar and older than him at 56, who gave him pointers on chopping. Another Cogar, Matt’s cousin, Arden Cogar, Jr., was on the squad.
Moses and third relay teammate Dave Jewett, of Pittsford, N.Y., are evenly matched in skills.
Top U.S. athlete Matt Cogar, who hails from West Virginia and is 26, competed in the individual events the day after Moses did; Moses describes him as well-mannered, calm and cool.
Looking ahead, Moses will do some off-season training, then get ready for the spring season that starts in April, with regional qualifier matches happening in June.
“Now, I take a little time off to rest,” said Moses.
The world championship “got me a little more motivated to want to go back,” he said.
With regionals, nationals and now worlds under his belt, Moses has been a busy guy in 2013, and he’ll stay busy. He knows there are a world of competitors out there, hungry for the kind of glory he just experienced.
Photos courtesy Stihl/David Moses
Moses carries the flag into the opening ceremony of the Stihl Timbersports World Championships in Stuttgart.
Moses practices his standing block chop, which he performed as part of the Team USA relay squad. Moses had good times and helped the U.S. group take second on Friday, Oct. 25.
Below, Moses hangs out with fans during the event.
Members of the Team USA relay team and fans.
Moses tours the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart.