Release your inner lumberjack in Red Cliff |

Release your inner lumberjack in Red Cliff

Daily file photo/

RED CLIFF, Colorado – Sharp stuff will be slung at this weekend’s Man of the Cliff, and we ain’t talkin’ election year rhetoric.

Man of the Cliff is sort of a cross between a lumberjack competition and a microscopic Woodstock for wannabe wood choppers.

You’ll throw axes, shoot archery, perform caber tossing, sledge hammer throwing, speed chopping and two-man cross cut sawing. The events has been slightly modified for untrained weekend lumberjacks.

In the keg toss, you even get to choose between a big keg and a little keg. But remember it’s called “Man of the Cliff.”

Anyone can do it, said Andy Williams, one of the event organizers. This isn’t the sort of thing you can practice.

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“It isn’t every day someone hands you a pole and tells you to throw it,” Andy said.

You don’t have to be a huge guy to compete, or even a guy at all, Williams said.

They provide everything the aspiring lumberjack needs – axes, kegs, cabers … everything with the exception of beer, which is why it’s in the direct proximity of Mango’s. Speaking of Mango’s, the bar/restaurant will host local band Hardscrabble on Saturday

And you gotta love this.

Among the sponsors for the caber-tossing/keg-throwing/sledgehammer-slinging/ax-launching weekend are Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Coors and St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver. The irony is lost on no one.

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is the title sponsor and there’ll be a tasting Saturday afternoon.

“We won’t break it out in earnest until sharp objects stop flying through the air,” Adam said.

The check from Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey joins all the other checks and goes straight to First Descents, an outdoors/kayak program for young adults with cancer. Every dime goes to First Descents, Adam said. The organizers don’t take a penny.

You’ll throw sledge hammers at pumpkins, first because it’s fun, and second because about the only thing you can do with a pumpkin is make pumpkin pie – and the best pumpkin pie you’ve ever had isn’t that much better than the worst pumpkin pie you’ve ever had, so let the sledgehammer slinging begin.

Because “How-Fast-You-Can-Get-a-DUI” is NOT one of the events, the Turtle Bus will be making laps to and from Red Cliff, and Mango’s has its vans for people who need a ride.

So far, there’s not an event for harmonizing while singing Monty Python’s “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK,” but anything’s possible at Man of the Cliff.

Like so much other inspiration, Man of the Cliff was conceived around a campfire in the company of friends – and that’s all you need to know about that evening.

When the idea showed up, they moved the party down the street to Mango’s, broke out a calendar and scheduled it for five weeks later.

They went door-to-door to Red Cliff’s 330 residents to drum up support, explaining that they wanted to start an amateur lumberjack competition in which never-evers would throw axes and kegs in order to raise money for charity.

“It made soliciting donations a little difficult,” said Amanda Williams.

TV host and outdoorsman Tred Barta is on board. He’ll be there Saturday morning to give flannel-wearing wannabes a demonstration and a quick lesson in archery, and probably on life as well.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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