Man of the Cliff starts in Avon on Saturday | VailDaily.com
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Man of the Cliff starts in Avon on Saturday

Man of the Cliff attracts nearly as many female competitors as male. The competition hits Nottingham Park in Avon this weekend starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Pictured here is Marilyn Williams, right, participating in the ax-throwing competition at a previous Man of the Cliff event.
Dominique Taylor | Special to the Daily |

MAN OF THE CLIFF

What: Amateur woodsman competition

Where: Nottingham Park, Avon

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Events: Ax throw, hammer toss, archery, speed wood chop, caber toss, tug of war, keg toss, spear throw

More info: http://www.manofthecliff.com

AVON — You know Man of the Cliff has hit the big time when competitors start selling ad space on their flannels.

Last year’s amateur woodsman competition winner, Sean Hanagan made the announcement this week on local radio station FM104.7 “The Mile” that he has already sold three ads on his lucky lumberjack outfit in NASCAR-style fashion.

“All money raised going to First Descents, of course,” he said.

And in an event where 100 percent of the proceeds go to that charity, the new venue at Nottingham Park — despite spectators lamenting en masse over the move from the competition’s founding location in Red Cliff — is being welcomed by competitors like Hanagan.

“I imagine that the crowds will be larger, there will be more exposure and more money raised,” Hanagan said.

There’s also room for more competitors in Avon.

“A bigger audience and more competitors will make it more fun,” said Denver resident Brian Cerkvenik, who plans his calendar around the event every year.

HARD WORK FROM ORGANIZERS

Cerkvenik has been able to get to know Man of the Cliff founders and organizers Adam and Amanda Williams through his participation in the competition during the past five years. He said they’ve worked very hard to make it what it is today.

“I understand all the struggles they were having with the size of the event and the space they had,” he said.

The sad truth is that Man of the Cliff simply outgrew its Red Cliff location.

“Last year, we had measured the street to within inches of where a fire truck could pass because we had pushed out from the parking lot so much,” said Erik Williams, Adam Williams’ brother and an announcer at the competitions. “We had a couple thousand people in the Mango’s parking lot all at once, with more on the way. There was a point where we all kind of looked at each other and said ‘I think it’s time.’”

Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to get your fix of Mango’s fish tacos. The Red Cliff staple restaurant where Man of the Cliff was formed will have a booth in Nottingham Park all weekend.

While Nottingham Lake won’t be in play at this year’s event (it is partially drained for construction of the town’s new stage, pavilion and event terrace piers), don’t count it out in the years to come.

“The thought of having water events in the future is awesome,” Cerkvenik said.

‘LAWNMOWER BEER FOR LUMBERJACKS’

Besides the venue, also new for this year is the title sponsor.

Bonfire Brewing has been a part of the event for years, and this year — as a measure of their success to complement the events — it has become the sole beverage sponsor for Man of the Cliff 2014.

Bonfire makes its signature Wood Splitter Pilsner especially for the event.

“The idea was a lawnmower beer for lumberjacks, a beer you can knock back a few of and still keep your wits about you, still compete,” said Andrew Jessen with Bonfire Brewing.

“Matt, our brewmaster, came up with a nice, traditional Czech-style recipe, and it was a big hit. It takes a little bit longer and is a little bit more expensive to make, but to do it once per year in one big batch works out pretty well for us.”

Local distillery 10th Mountain Whiskey will also be serving spirits at the event.

In another new twist for 2014, Man of the Cliff has joined up with the Eagle County Emergency Responders Fund in an inaugural Fire vs. Police battle. All stations in Eagle County have been invited to send teams of four to compete in head-to-head ax throwing, archery and tug-of-war competitions. In addition to the battle, there will also be the most classic of lumberjack morning meals, a pancake breakfast. It starts at 8 a.m. on Sunday, before the Man of the Cliff competitions begin.


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