Sports event participation rose, even though the parade was small and the number of vendors was down for the 61st annual McCloud Lumberjack Fiesta this past weekend in McCloud.
Smoke-filled skies and high fuel prices were thought to be the cause for low attendance and a shortage of vendors.
But the Papa Anderson Softball Tournament drew many to Hoo Hoo Park, as 17 teams participated on two fields in the double elimination event.
The Family, featuring three sons of the late Papa Anderson, for whom the tournament is named, went undefeated on its way to claiming the softball title.
“It was the biggest tournament we ever had,” said organizer Ryan Jackson, who was also a Family team member. “There were so many teams and so many people around. It felt like old times.”
Numbers were also up for the Harold Benedict Memorial Horseshoe tournaments and the annual logging show.
Fiesta began Friday evening when 2 1/2 year old Morgan Bourke was selected as Little Miss Fiesta and 20 month old Forest Pearman won the Little Logger title.
Saturday morning’s Lumberjack Fiesta Parade had only six entrants, but still drew a lively crowd on McCloud’s Main Street.
A new attraction at Hoo Hoo Park this year that was a hit with children and adults alike was a 100-foot Giant Fun Slide.
Slide owners Otis and Towanda Thompson of Bakersfield said they wanted to visit McCloud and decided to bring along the fiberglass attraction. On slide mats made of fleece, well over 300 people rode the 100 foot slide, many more than once.
“The best part of being here is the nice people,” said Towanda.
Logging show events both Saturday and Sunday were deemed a success by event spokesperson Donna Shedd, who noted an increase in participants.
Bill Anderson, a big winner over the weekend, won both the Men’s Axe Throw and Pro Axe Throw contests on Sunday. He also pitched in the softball tournament for the victorious Family team and earned most valuable player honors.
Complete logging show results are listed below.
The American Legion Post 92 served breakfasts Saturday and Sunday morning and also sponsored a watermelon eating contest Sunday afternoon.
Food and drink was plentiful, with Curly Fries, corn dogs and hamburgers appearing to be the food of choice for many.
The McCloud Parent Teachers Organization stayed busy making and selling Banana Fosters as a fundraiser and, according to PTO spokesperson Paul Fernandez, “We did really well.”
Funds raised will benefit McCloud Elementary School’s music department and help send sixth graders to Environmental Camp, according to Fernandez.
McCloud resident Bill Clark won a large wood chainsaw-carved bear in a raffle, proceeds from which will go to the Recreation Council. The Bear was donated by local chainsaw artist Randy Wilson.
Guy Johnson won a cord of wood in another raffle.
Celeste Benedict-Gut, emcee for the 14th Annual Harold Benedict Horseshoe Tournament, called the event “a great success,” noting it “just seems to grow every year.”
She said 36 throwers competed in singles and 28 doubles teams signed up.
The winners were familiar, as Robert Zuelner claimed the singles championship ahead of Bubba Smith and Bo Hunt.
Don Ellison and Zuelner took first place in doubles, while Lee Crook and Richard Benedict were second and Bo Hunt and Emmett Webb placed third.
Trophies were donated by the Benedict family.
Benedict-Gut said $175 from the singles tournament and $200 from doubles was donated to the McCloud Recreation Council.
The McCloud Recreation Council sponsored the 61st Annual McCloud Lumberjack Fiesta.
 
“Many of our regular vendors have to travel a considerable distance to get here,” said Patty Ballard, president of the McCloud Recreation Council, which sponsored this year’s Lumberjack Fiesta. “With the high cost of gasoline and the fact that north state skies are smoky, they probably decided not to make the event this year.”
Event coordinator Lynn Clark said “attendance Saturday was pretty good, but Sunday was a bit slow. Those who did attend had a lot of fun, and that’s what it’s all about. Next year we hope to do a lot better.”
Fiesta Amateur Logging
Show, Saturday July 26
• Junior Axe Throw  8-10 – 1st, Preston Blakely; 2nd, Toby Nunmelly; 3rd, Hayden Gilbert.
• Junior Axe Throw  11-13 – 1st, Kaylee Ballard; 2nd, Matt Anderson; 3rd, Scott Sager.
• Junior Choker Setting  8-10 – 1st, Carlie Dunlap; 2nd, Preston Blakely; 3rd, Ryan Terras.
• Junior Choker Setting 11-13 – 1st, Scott Sager; 2nd, Isaiah Hughes; 3rd, Daylon Blakely. 
Fiesta Adult Logging
Show, Sunday July 27
• Powder Puff Axe Throw – 1st, Sandy Ballard; 2nd, Sharon Daleske; 3rd, Patty Ballard.
• Men’s Axe Throw – 1st, Bill Anderson; 2nd, Chad Henson; 3rd, Jason Hensley.
• Business Axe Throw – 1st,  Kyle Benedict; 2nd, Don Henson; 3rd, Chad Henson.
• Pro Axe Throw – 1st, Bill Anderson; 2nd, Chris Banner; 3rd, Jason Hensley.
• Women’s Choker Setting – 1st, Jolene Kirkpatrick; 2nd, Kerstin Wood; 3rd, Sharon Daleske.
• Men’s Choker Setting – 1st, Ryan West; 2nd, Kyle Benedict; 3rd, Gary Sheets.