As official workwear sponsor for STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS®, we meet some interesting characters and see some pretty cool toys. In the case of STIHL TIMBERSPORTS athlete Adam LaSalle, he even let us help name the tool he counts on when crunch time comes in the final round of competition. His hot saw. In all its ear-splitting, 10,000 RPM sawdust-spraying glory, this saw, and the others it competes against, are the top fuel dragsters of the sport.
What The Heck is a Hot Saw?
It’s a heart-stopper event that’s created many an upset. “It’s no accident that the hot saw competition comes last in the line up,” says Adrian Flygt, event commentator and unofficial hot saw historian. “It’s a skill discipline, but with a whole mechanical chaos theory thrown in to maximize the monkey wrench possibilities.”
That’s right, behind all that raw horsepower and crowd-pleasing noise is a cantankerous, high-strung machine that’s known to fail at the worst possible moments. “With hot saws,” says Flygt, “There are so many variables it’s almost a cheetah blood and black magic scenario where you never quite know whether that saw will fly or die. No starts, thrown chains, killing for no apparent reason. You name it, it’s happened.”
A Checkered Past
And when it all goes wrong, a competitor can only stand helpless on stage with thoughts of throwing the saw in a lake for comfort. Which is exactly what happened to LaSalle’s saw before he acquired it.
“That saw had a checkered past,” says Flygt. “It went through several owners and got a reputation for not starting — and earned a few nicknames I can’t say in polite company. So it went back to the original builder for a refit and then got loaned out to another STIHL TIMBERSPORTS competitor for testing. The contest was held by a lake and when the saw failed to start, the competitor threw all 65 pounds of it into the drink. The crowd went wild.”
New Owner, New Name
Perhaps that baptism represented a new birth for the saw, or perhaps Adam’s saw-whispering skills are just better than the rest because, since he’s acquired it (at a cut rate price) the saw has run like a champ.
“You could say Adam’s just a mechanical guy who knows how to make things work,” opines Flygt. “But it’s more than that. He and that saw have come to an understanding — it hasn’t failed him in competition yet.” And the saw’s new name? “Considering its aquatic past,” says Flygt, “The Angry Beaver is a nice touch.”
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