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November 19, 2018

Lake-Minded Series: Abby Hoeschler from Key Log Rolling

Abby Hoeschler from Key Log Rolling 

So, what is log rolling anyway? Where did it start?

Log rolling is an authentic North American sport in which two competitors challenge each other to see who can stay on top the log the longest in a match of 3 out of 5 falls. You cannot touch your opponent and you cannot step on the center line. The sport originated out of the great river log drives in the northern United States and Canada.  Log drivers sent logs down river from the forests to the sawmills and they had to learn how to balance and step on top of the floating, spinning logs. They realized it was pretty fun and then started challenging one another to competitions. The rest is history!

 

Where did your passion for log rolling come from?

My mom grew up in Hayward, WI where the World Log Rolling and Lumberjack Championships were held. A young woman taught log rolling classes to kids at the lake in town, and as an active, sporty girl in a small town in the late sixties with few opportunities for girls in sports, my mom was hooked on log rolling! More than loving competing in log rolling, she loved teaching and sharing the sport with others. And so she passed that along to my siblings and me.

 

Where did you compete/what awards have you won?

I compete mainly in Wisconsin and Minnesota where the elite tournaments are held (but we’re working hard to expand the competitive opportunities, see more below!). I’m a 5x boom running world champion, which is an event similar to log rolling, but where you sprint across and back a string of various-sized logs, each end tied to a dock. I have a few youth world titles and consistently ranked in the top 5 female log rollers.

 

Tell me more about your business Key Log Rolling, what inspired you to start this?

The idea for a portable synthetic log rolling log is something my family has kicked around for a while. We saw that people were intrigued by the sport, and had so much fun when they tried it, but no one had access to it. It was impossible for the sport to grow when the equipment was a 500 pound wood log rolling. So when I graduated from college, my parents and I decided that I would try to design and manufacture and sell a portable, synthetic log rolling log – the Key Log. In the past 5 years, we’ve started over 500 log rolling programs at recreational facilities, parks and rec departments, summer camps, and college campuses.

 

What is your favorite part of the sport?

That’s a tough one because there are so many amazing aspects to log rolling! I think the biggest thing is that it’s just as fun for a brand new beginner as it is for an elite level competitor. There’s always a next step (literally), no matter what level you’re at. At a competitive level, I love how fast paced it is. There’s so much going on at once, and you have to strike a balance between being calm and relaxed, but also acutely focused and constantly at the ready.

 

What is your vision for the future of log rolling?

Our mission is to make log rolling an Olympic sport. I often say that log rolling is a recreational, lifestyle sport with an Olympic vision. We want to it to be mainstream, something that people in any community have a chance to try and learn, and eventually make it their own sport if they’re into it!

What does life at the lake mean to you?

I actually grew up on the Mississippi River, and so I grew up more in a river culture. But when I started Key Log Rolling, I decided on Minneapolis because I thought “what better way to grow the sport of log rolling than in the land of 10,000 lakes.” Now, my family has a cabin in northern Wisconsin where my mom grew up and that’s where we go as a family. My husband and I met on that same lake (his family hired me to give them a log rolling lesson!). Being on a northwoods lake is much calmer and more intimate than on the Mighty Mississippi. I love that we have an urban lake life here in Minneapolis - log rolling with friends at Cedar Lake and bringing the Key Log around to different lakes. And then we have our cabin lake life.

 

How can people join in on the log rolling fun?

Lots of ways! You can buy or rent a Key Log for yourself. You don’t need to live on a lake to have a Key Log because they’re portable. You could sign up for a log rolling class at one of the many places in the Twin Cities that now offer log rolling. Follow Key Log Rolling and the Minneapolis Log Rolling Club on facebook to stay tuned to events we’re doing