Some of the world's top axemen are heading to Whangārei for the Whangārei A&P Society's revived wood chopping competition this weekend.
Rivalry is expected to be keen.
Competition organiser Jason Semenoff said Taranaki multiple world champion Jack Jordan had announced his entry.
World champion single sawyer David McDonald, of Waiuku, had also entered.
"The public will be able to see the best of the best in action. It will be really exciting,'' he said.
Semenoff is a member of the Ngatihine Axemen's Club and the Northland Axemen's Association.
Chopping is in the blood with his grandfather Pero Smith, who was a champion axeman, and his father Selwyn Semenoff, also a champion, whose impressive career was recognised with a life membership of the Northland Axemen's Association. He continues to compete in the New Zealand veteran's team.
Jason Semenoff is also one of Northland's legendary axemen. His impressive record includes being selected for the New Zealand under-21 team and New Zealand senior team to compete in Australia.
The next generation is now shaping up, with Jason's sons Tytan, 19, and Johnson, 18, taking part in the sport. Tytan has been named in the New Zealand under-21 team.
"They've got the bug. The boys have been out training at night, cutting through 10 logs in a session.
"It's a lot of wood, but we are lucky our neighbours at Parakao know we need a lot of wood so they give us plenty of logs to train on.''
Three generations of Semenoffs are entering in the team's race.
"Covid restrictions mean the axemen can't travel overseas at the moment, so they are keen to take part in New Zealand competitions.''
The family regularly competes at events in Hamilton, Rotorua, Tokoroa and Waiuku.
"We do a lot of travelling to make sure the boys are competing against the best in New Zealand. There used to be a lot more events in Northland, but now there are only about eight.''
Semenoff said preparations for the 140th Whangārei A&P Show were well under way, with donated pine logs prepared for the competitions.
"The logs have to be peeled and cut into blocks that are all the same size to try to give everyone an equal chance. It takes about a week of work to prepare them,'' he said.
Axemen commonly chop poplar logs but this year the logs will be pine, a more dense wood.
"It will be harder. There will be a lot of tired boys on Saturday,'' Semenoff said.
With allcomers welcome, he is expecting about 24 competitors. Most of the competitions are run with a time handicap according to their previous record.
"Every $50 won in prizemoney in the past earns a one-second time penalty. It gives the younger ones a chance,'' he said.
The Whangārei show events have attracted some good prizemoney, with up to $750 at stake for the championship events and $300 for handicap events.
With the use of pine logs, Semenoff is expecting some breakages so the stake money will hopefully offset any damaged gear.
"Each axe costs about $800 and racing saws can cost about $3500 so, if gear gets smashed, the costs can add up,'' he said.
Axes are razor sharp and could easily shave the hair off someone's arm.
Top competitors have an armoury of up to 12 axes, and they will select different axes according to the type of wood they are chopping.
Competitors all wear metal mesh socks as protection, but Semenoff cannot remember any injuries in more than 20 years.
"It's a really hard sport requiring lots of muscle power as well as excellent technique.
"You've got to have a good eye as you are chopping only 5mm or 10mm away from your toes. People are fascinated by it.''
The best axemen can chop through a log in 30 seconds.
"That's what the best fellas are aiming for.''