Axeman's family a cut above

By Sonya Bateson

For Michele Bolstad, watching men compete for her husband's memorial trophy was bittersweet.

Mrs Bolstad and her two children are from Taumaranui and have been a part of the Rotorua wood chopping scene for many years. They were at the Rotorua A and P Show yesterday to take part in the wood chopping events and remember their husband and father David, who died after suffering a heart attack in November 2011.

David was an active member of the Rotorua Axemen Club until moving to Taumaranui but regularly came back to Rotorua to compete in chopping events.

The club asked Mrs Bolstad if she would support a memorial trophy for her husband in the underhand section, which was awarded for the first time yesterday to Taranaki's Shane Jordan, a man David had trained and competed with in the past. Mr Jordan said he was proud to have won the trophy.

Mrs Bolstad said wood chopping was a family sport.

"David used to live in Rotorua, he grew up chopping wood with his father, Sonny, who also has a memorial trophy.

When David died, they asked us if we wanted to do a memorial trophy for the underhand mens.

"The Rotorua A and P Show was always special to do because David had his dad's memorial ... I'll always come to the Rotorua show."

Mrs Bolstad said David had trained a lot of the men at yesterday's competition and participated alongside them in the New Zealand axemen team.

At yesterday's event, Mrs Bolstad's daughter Brooke, 10, took out first place in the under 16 boy's chop, while her younger brother Morgan, 8, came second. Morgan's name was already engraved on the trophy after winning last year.

"Their father would be immensely proud of them, he taught them how to chop," Mrs Bolstad said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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