Chopping Girls
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Chopping Girls
If your idea of a wood chopper is a big burly bloke in a singlet, think again. The past few years have seen a surge in women getting into the sport of wood chopping.
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Transcript
AMANDA BEAMS: We stand, we cut foot holes out each side and we stand and cut between our feet through one side, turn around and cut through other side until the log until it's completely severed.

KYLIE ROLLINS: Wood chopping play s a huge role in Amanda Beams life. She started out as a Jack and Jill sawyer with husband, Dave, 20 years ago.

AMANDA BEAMS: Started out, he wasn't my husband, he was just this guy who wanted me to saw with him and since then, we've had two kids, they both chop and we've both made Australian teams.

KYLIE ROLLINS: It wasn't until six years ago that Mrs Beams picked up an axe. She was prompted by some American women at Sydney's Royal Easter Show who asked why there were no Australian women in the chopping events. Mrs Beams couldn't come up with a reason apart from tradition.

AMANDA BEAMS: I had a bit of a go and from that we've come up with an Australian women's team competing against a New Zealand women's team and an American women's team. It's just blossomed from there.

KYLIE ROLLINS: Mrs Beams and fellow sawer Sheila Rumley are the only Tasmanian women on the Australian team. Mrs Rumley stumbled into the sport.

SHEILA RUMLEY: My husband was handicapper for quite a few years. And then my daughter started sawing when she was about 15. Then I thought I'm going along so I may as well have a go too because it gets a bit boring sitting on the sideline each day.

KYLIE ROLLINS: At 54-years-old, she feels she can compete as well as the competition.

SHEILA RUMLEY: My male sawing partner at the moment is 73. But he had an injury this year so he's had a bit of a slow start coming back. But we're still quite competitive.

KYLIE ROLLINS: Both women recently competed at the Bream Creek show in southern Tasmania. They're encouraging other females to give it a go.

AMANDA BEAMS: The friends that you meet, the prices that you can go since I've been with Dale. I've been to America, New Zealand and I've chopped in every state and Territory in Australia, except for Canberra. So it can take you everywhere.

The way the sport is at the moment, we've got a lot of competitors dropping out and I know we've seen like a new life come to wood chopping with women and young kids competing and it just brings something a little bit different to our sport. We can't always live in the past. And we've got to move forward. If this is the way that helps it, helps the sport by introducing these events and bringing these people in, then, yeah, that's what we want to do.

SHELIA RUMLEY: Whether they think it's male-dominated sport, I don't know.

But we encourage our sawyers because we have what we call is a coach and novice, which is an experienced sawyer and someone who is learning.

So that's how we've gained a lot of our sawyers because they came through that way.

Some of the girls in the Australian team are office girls, you know. So it doesn't mean you have to, you know, be an outdoors person. I think their husbands are wood choppers and they go along so they decided they would take it up.

KYLIE ROLLINS: Bream Creek was a warm-up for the Sydney Easter Show where Mrs Beams competed in chopping and sawing events and Mrs Rumley in sawing. After last year's result they had a special incentive to win.

SHEILA RUMLEY: We won one each against New Zealand and then we lost the learn one by six hundredth of a second.

AMANDA BEAMS: We were beaten by a hit last year, first time they've beaten us. So a bit of revenge.

KYLIE ROLLINS: Revenge is sweet. While New Zealand won two out of three teams races it was dis qualified from one, leaving the Australian team the overall winner.
Notes
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