Steven and Mitchell Kirk are ready to compete in the woodchop event at Maitland Show

READY TO CHOP: Mitchell and Steven Kirk are preparing to compete in the woodchop event at Maitland Show. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
READY TO CHOP: Mitchell and Steven Kirk are preparing to compete in the woodchop event at Maitland Show. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

When Steven and Mitchell Kirk have an axe in their hands, and their eyes fixed on a timber log, they are in their element.

Woodchopping runs in their blood and they are itching to unleash their talent at Maitland Show this weekend.

Mr Kirk, the current world champion, has been on the circuit for 35 years and when his son Mitchell started swinging an axe as a kid it was clear he was going to follow in his footsteps.

Michael has represented NSW and is already making a name for himself on the circuit.

The family tradition started with Michael’s great-grandfather Tom Kirk, who became a world champion.

Mr Kirk hopes to win the championship at Maitland Show and then defend his world title at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney in April.

He is on the Australian team with Millfield’s Justin Beckett where they specialise in double-handed sawing. 

“It’s something that’s been with our family for some time, my grandfather was a world champion,” Mr Kirk said. “This is the start of our season.

“We try to do competitions every weekend and my aim is to go the Royal Easter again and defend the world title.

“I want to try to win the championship event [at Maitland Show] because everyone starts on the count of three.”

There are almost 30 entrants in the Maitland Show competition who will make their way through timber logs of various sizes within 30 to 50 seconds. 

“It’s strenuous, it’s about technique, it’s about strength and stamina,” woodchop coordinator Phillip May said. 

“It’s a good number, it’s something that is picking up and attracting more people.

“There are even a few girls competing these days.”

Mr Kirk said woodchop was an acquired skill. 

“It’s a bit of hard work, it’s something you learn and you get better at it as you get older,” Mr Kirk said. 

“It’s a skill that you work on … if you’re starting out you try to find someone with more experience to show you a few tips.”

Mr May said the woodchop community wanted more people to give it a go.

“The competitions have a very friendly atmosphere and people are happy to give advice and help,” he said.

“It helps if you’re just starting out to go to someone with experience.”