A chance to embrace your inner lumberjack — but don’t take it too seriously
Man of the Cliff celebrates its 11-year anniversary this month
For the Vail Daily
Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Man of the Cliff
Does your crew chop faster, throw further and higher, and aim straighter than all others? If so, sign up for the first-ever Man of the Cliff team competition.
Grab your four best lumberfriends and sign up as a group to see which team has the best overall score. All that’s required is registration and an awesome team name.
In Colorado, there are plenty of people who talk the lumberjack talk, but can you walk the lumberjack walk?
There are few places more appropriate to try to bring some authenticity to your flannel-wearing ways than the Man of the Cliff competition in Avon, where amateur competitions for men and women include the likes of axe throwing, archery, keg toss and more.
What started as an ambitious idea (over a few beers) in Red Cliff in 2009 has turned into one of the Vail Valley’s most beloved events. Husband-and-wife duo Adam and Amanda Williams try to continually evolve the event by adding new competitions or activities, while making sure they stay true to the rugged and semi-unrefined beginnings.
Philanthropy is the main event
Adam and Amanda raised $400 for charity that first year. Ten years later, Man of the Cliff has donated more than $100,000 to local nonprofit First Descents.
“We have always wanted to get like-minded people together for a great time while also raising money for charity, and that is what this event has always been about.”
Man of the Cliff’s 2019 nonprofit recipient is Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, a Valley-based nonprofit that delivers health and wellness education programs to help families living with MS.
They chose Can Do as the nonprofit this year because the organization is local and had been a vocal supporter of Man on the Cliff for many years.
“We really love the people and their mission. It is close to our hearts as we have a good friend with MS,” Amanda said. “We’re giving 100 percent of 2019 proceeds to Can Do Multiple Sclerosis. Come throw some axes, enjoy a couple of Bonfire beers and support a fantastic cause in the process.”
A competitive spirit, all in good fun
A little bit lumberjack, mixed with some highland games and a dash of strongman — that’s how Adam and Amanda describe Man of the Cliff.
“And, also beer,” Amanda said. “It has been dubbed as the best man-watching in the valley, so even if you don’t come to compete, come to support a great cause by having a pint and just listening and watching.”
There’s a lot of denim and flannel, and beard-gazing could be its own competitive category (the beards are spectacular). The competitions are reserved for the types of things you’d find lumberjacks and lumberjanes doing out in the woods (see factbox).
“It’s all about the camaraderie. We liken it to camp — some people see these people all of the time, but to others it’s like a reunion at camp and it just thrives off of the competitive spirit,” Adam said. “There is a fun and joking atmosphere that has naturally evolved with Erik (Adam’s brother) being the emcee. He pokes fun at people and it underlines that the event is supposed to be a fun time to come together and not be too serious.”
A little skill, mostly luck
Axe Throw – Multiple rounds of axe throwing into a wood target.
Archery – Multiple rounds of archery, shooting into a target.
Keg Toss – Men get an empty regular-sized keg, women get an empty pencil keg to throw. The height is adjusted higher with each round.
Caber Toss – Long tree-type logs with branches removed; longer and thicker diameter for men; bigger cabers for each additional round.
Pulp Toss – Throwing about a three-foot-long log to a predetermined location, for accuracy, emulating the throwing and stacking of logs.
Spear Throw – Multiple rounds of spear-throwing into a wood target.
Hammer Toss – Toss a sledge hammer to knock down as many of the three staggered targets of small wooden discs that you can.
Speed Chop – Timed event with a predetermined amount of logs to chop. Starts off with three.
Tug of War – Teams of four people..
Two Man Cross Cut – Teams of two, timed event.
Stand Alone Axe – Provided by wood and steel axe company. Throw axes for a small fee. they will be there all day, both days.
Almost all events are tailored to skill and luck, and only a couple of events involve strength, Adam said.
“However, to normalize that, we drop your lowest score, so if you didn’t want to do the keg toss, technically you could still win if you did really well at the other events,” Adam said.
The event is for “the weekend lumberjack,” Adam added. There is no professional or semi-pro competitive categories — it’s 100 percent amateur.
“We are a husband-and-wife team that puts this on because we love it,” Amanda said. “We have a great group of folks that love the event and help us each year, and we couldn’t do it without them.”
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