Lumberjack Legend Arden Cogar Jr. Takes Center Stage in Harvesting Capitol Christmas Tree
Hayward, 12/4/23 – Arden Cogar Jr., a household name in the world of lumberjack sports, adds another prestigious honor to his distinguished career as he participates in harvesting the Capitol Christmas Tree. In an interview with the Lumberjack World Championships, Cogar shared insights into his decades-long involvement in lumberjack sports, his family’s rich legacy in the field, and the emotional significance of being chosen for this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree.
Decades of Lumberjack Dedication
Cogar’s journey in lumberjack sports began in 1977, evolving from running chainsaws as a young competitor to participating in his first Lumberjack World Championship (LWC) in 1984. His dedication deepened during college, solidifying his passion for the sport. Lumberjack skills run deep in the Cogar family, with multiple generations actively participating in the sport. From uncles to cousins, wives, and daughters, the family legacy extends to various lumberjack events.
Cogar’s LWC journey has been marked by resilience and excellence. Reflecting on his best year in 2006, he competed in an era dominated by legends like Jason Wynyard and David Bolstad. Despite securing second place 44 times in various events, Cogar’s impact on the sport is indelible. While Cogar expresses hope for competing at LWC 2024, the prospect depends on his demanding work schedule, which has become increasingly complex over the years.
Capitol Christmas Tree Legacy
Cogar is not the first member of his family to be invited to continue the tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree. His father, Arden Sr., was invited to cut the Kennedy White House Christmas Tree in 1962 and served as the honorary feller for the Capitol Complex Christmas Tree in 1976.
This year, Cogar and Ron Polgar harvested the 63’ Norway Spruce for the Capitol Christmas Tree at the Laurel Fork Campground, Herman, WV. Cogar’s wife, daughters, and extended family were present, creating an intimate and memorable gathering despite the event being closed to the public. C-feller, Polgar, is a long-time US Forest Service employee, with over 50 years of service, who competed on the Syracuse University (SUNY) Woodsmen’s Team during the late 1960s. He continued to compete at the Mountain State Forest Festival in West Virginia up until 2020. Cogar has known Polgar for most of his life.
According to Cogar, “The tree-cutting event itself was very surreal. It was like no other tree I’ve cut down in my life. First, I’ve only ever used a crosscut saw to fall a tree once in my life. Second, I’ve never cut a tree that was suspended by a crane – so there was no pop or sound when we got near and even past the hinge. Third, it had snowed about six inches and it was freezing cold at over 4000 feet in elevation. Finally, when I looked out at the nearly 100 US Forest Service employees, I actually knew each and every one of their faces and most of their names. It was as though I was part of a family even though I only had six real family members there.”
Arden Cogar Jr. expresses profound gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the Capitol Christmas Tree tradition. The invitation stirred deep emotions, especially considering the recent passing of his father in November 2021. His unique blend of lumberjack prowess, family legacy, and emotional connection to the task make this year’s tree-cutting a poignant moment in his storied career.
The Lumberjack World Championships would like to extend their gratitude to the Cogar family for their continued dedication to lumberjack sports. It has been an honor to host Cogar at the championships for decades, and “We hope to see Arden Jr. back in 2024 at the championships, “ said event manager Samantha LaSalle. “Families like the Cogars are what make this event, and the lumberjack community, feel like a family.”