GLADSTONE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Athletes from across the country traveled to Gladstone this week for a national competition.
On Monday afternoon, rollers hit Van Cleve Park in preparation for the US Log Rolling Open on the Fourth of July.
“Log rolling is a competition where two people stand on a log, there’s a center line that they can’t cross, and the goal is to be the last one standing,” said US Log Rolling Open co-director Katie Burke.
The first competitor to knock their opponent into the water three out of five times–without making physical contact–moves up in the bracket.
“It is double elimination, so if you lose a match and go to the back bracket, you can work your way all the way up to third place,” Burke said. “The objective is to be the last one standing.”
For Escanaba’s own Cole Bennetts, this is his first professional competition. He started rolling five years ago with his scout troop and says he’s been hooked ever since.
“It’s fun!” he said. “It’s a challenge, it’s something you get to work at, and it’s great when you actually start to get better at it and succeed. It’s a good feeling.”\
Bennetts will be up against 30 other rollers on Independence Day, including Tanner Hallett of California. Hallett claimed the title of US Log Rolling Open Champion in 2019, and he was the 2018 World Champion.
“I started going pro in 2017, which was super fun to just be able to roll a super high-caliber roller from all over the country,” Hallett said. “Now it’s just a great group of people who travels all over the Midwest and the U.S. and has a ton of fun competing.”
Bennetts says he is excited, and a bit nervous, to compete at this level. He is looking forward to learning from the other rollers and having fun–wherever he lands on the bracket.
“It’s a little bit nerve-wracking, but it’ll be a good experience, a good way to learn,” said Bennetts. “You’re going against some of the best in the sport, and you get to pick up quite a bit from them.”
The US Log Rolling Open was founded in 2016 in Chicago Southland, then moved to Gladstone in 2018. Burke says Gladstone is the perfect place to host the event.
“There are deep log rolling roots, going back to world champions, here in Gladstone,” she said. “This is also where the Boy Scouts have their program, and we have a local competing professionally for the first time this year. This is also co-director Dan McDonough’s home town. He is a nine-time world champion, and he will actually be coming out of retirement to compete this year.”
The US Log Rolling Open begins Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., followed by a boom running competition. Events are anticipated to wrap up around 5:00 p.m. There are some bleachers near the competition area, but spectators are encouraged to bring chairs.
To learn more about the US Log Rolling Open, click here.