“It’s a win-win because, like us, Jason is proud of being from West Virginia and Webster County,” says Dee Cowger. “Woodchopping is part of our heritage in Webster County. We have the Webster County Woodchopping Festival every Memorial Day weekend.
“When Jason approached us, we thought here’s a solid guy who works hard at what he does – just like we do – and represents the best of our county and our state.”
Lentz, 31, is a fourth generation lumberjack who lives in Diana, WV, and started chopping wood at age 3. “Jason’s father, Mel, is considered the King of Timbersports with six STIHL titles and multiple world championships,” says Angie Cowger. “We think that makes Jason the Prince of Timbersports.” Click here to read a great feature in USA Today about the Lentz family in 2015.
“As a kid, I ate something from The Custard Stand every four or five days and during the summer months of college more often than that,” says Lentz. “Since I have had some connection with The Custard Stand for 22 years I thought just maybe we could help each other through our lifelong journeys.”
Webster County, with a population of nearly 9,000 in north-central West Virginia, is home to the annual Southeastern United States World Championship Woodchopping Festival that celebrates the area’s timber heritage. “It’s not unusual to know everyone especially if you participate in sports or own a restaurant,” says Angie Cowger. “Plus, I was Jason’s fourth-grade teacher.”
The sponsorship will help cover travel expenses. Lentz will wear Custard Stand Chili gear at STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series and lumberjack competitions around the world.
Lentz is spending the winter in Australia where he can continue to train by competing. He most recently competed and placed in the Royal Canberra Show. He’ll be returning to the United States this spring to begin his rigorous 18 competition schedule. Lentz, of course, will bring him back home to the Webster County Woodchopping Festival.
The STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series U.S. Pro and Collegiate Championships is July 28-30 in Milwaukee. The Championship will be broadcast on ABC on Oct. 8, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. EST.
Based on lumberjack traditions, the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series presented by Ram Trucks challenges lumberjack athletes from around the world in the disciplines of the hot saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop. These traditional disciplines test the competitors’ strength, endurance, stamina, tool skill and agility.
Annually, millions of viewers in more than 62 countries view the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series, also known as “The Original Extreme Sport.” For the fourth straight year, the U.S. Pro Championship will be broadcast on ABC. The season will also air on ESPN, ESPN2 and NBC Sports. Each year the Series has increased in viewership.
Top lumberjacks from around the country compete in a series of five regional qualifiers to determine who will advance to the championships. The 2017 qualifiers will be held:
May 20: Morgantown, W.Va. (Southern and Mid-Atlantic)
June 3: Shelton, Wash.
June 10: Mount Horeb, Wisc.
June 17: Cherry Valley, N.Y.
The top overall competitor will be crowned the U.S. Champion and advance to the World Championship in Lillehammer, Norway, in November. The fastest athlete in each discipline typically fills out the World Championship Relay roster representing Team USA.
In 2016, Matt Cogar – another Webster County native – won his fourth straight U.S. Championship, which is the first time an American athlete has ever accomplished this feat.
“We’re hoping 2017 is the year Jason Lentz wins the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS World Championship,” says Dee Cowger.