World's best axemen to contest standing block event

Final blow: 80-year-old Stan Sainty of Launceston in action at a standing block event. The woodchopping legend will compete at his 50th Thousands carnival at Invermay on January 6 and then retire from the sport.

Final blow: 80-year-old Stan Sainty of Launceston in action at a standing block event. The woodchopping legend will compete at his 50th Thousands carnival at Invermay on January 6 and then retire from the sport.

In 1978 Launceston’s Stan Sainty won the Eric Reece Memorial Thousands at York Park by demolishing a 300mm block of wood off a handicap of around 9 seconds.

On Saturday, January 6, the 80-year-old will compete at his 50th Thousands carnival at Invermay, having only missed three since his first in 1965, and he said he’ll be happy if he just gets the job done.

The remarkable achievement will officially end his competition days which began with a football knee injury when he was a lad.

My father-in-law, a blacksmith, said ‘now that you can’t play football you can be an axeman’, and he made me a racing axe.

Stan Sainty

Stan has been training for the event by cutting blocks and walking up Queechy Hill.

The handicap event is broken into several divisions allowing axemen of all abilities the chance to get to the grand final. Five from each heat go through to the semis with the best progressing to the  divisional finals before the winners from each division come together for the grand final.

Chipper: Stan Sainty, Bill Smith and Terry Hodgetts - stalwalts of the Tasmanian woodchopping scene and key organisers of the Thousands carnival. Picture: Scott Gelston.

Chipper: Stan Sainty, Bill Smith and Terry Hodgetts - stalwalts of the Tasmanian woodchopping scene and key organisers of the Thousands carnival. Picture: Scott Gelston.