9th annual log rolling tournament makes a splash - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

9th annual log rolling tournament makes a splash

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Katie Rick Katie Rick
Shana Verstegen Shana Verstegen
Onalaska, WI (WXOW) - -

Sixty-eight log rollers from around the country competed on the Black River for the Three Rivers Roleo Log Rolling Tournament.

The sport of log rolling initially began in the late 1800s. During that time, America was growing and lumber was needed to build cities. Timber from remote areas was then transferred via waterways due to lack of roads and men had to quickly learn to remain on the logs and roll in order to stay dry and alive-hence the sport began and it continues to make waves today.

The 9th annual tournament took place on the Black River off the Great River Landing in Onalaska on Saturday.

Katie Rick and her brother, Jacob both Onalaska residents are log rollers themselves and started the event as a way to bring a tournament to the area.

She stressed it's much harder than it looks.

"Think about sprinting, when you see that whitewater they're basically going for a dead sprint in that whitewater match and then they'll calm it back down and they'll go for a dead water sprint again. They can be up there for a long period of time," said Rick.

Four time world champion log roller, Shana Verstegen said she got involved with the sport when she was about 7-years-old at the local YMCA in Madison.

"I took that, fell in love with it, started traveling all over the U.S. and Canada competing. Now we have a program on the Madison lakes, Madison log rolling where we have over three hundred students during the summer enjoying this awesome, awesome sport," said Verstegen.

The group of athletes included 25 professionals and the top 8 ranked women in the world.

"Believe it or not, it looks like we're just standing there piddling our feet on the log. It takes years of practice just to learn how to stand on the log by yourself. Then you start competing against other people and it is probably one of the hardest sports for core strength, leg strength, cardiovascular endurance, obviously balance, agility, and mental focus. You have to keep your eyes focused on one spot exactly the entire match. If you lose that focus than your match is over," added Verstegen.

On average, a match lasts about 7 minutes and requires constant foot movement, a tight core, and arm usage for balance.

MORE INFORMATION: Three Rivers Roleo

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