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In a log rolling competition, opponents step onto a floating log, spin it rapidly, stop or snub it suddenly, and try to reverse the motion of the log in order to send their opposition into the water!  When one contestant is off the log, the remaining opponent “takes the fall”.  A match is the best of 3 out of 5 falls.

Our logs are West Red Cedar, one of the most buoyant woods, and are lathe turned to specific diameters.  Some competitions use carpet covered logs and all competitors wear a tennis or water type show with good traction.  Amateur roller including Adult Sport division always roll on carpeted logs.  Some competitions have uncarpeted logs for Elite (pro) and Master rollers who wear specially made spiked shoes.

Typically, four logs can be used during a competition.  The first (#1) log is 15″ in diameter and has red stripes on it.  The time limit on the first log is the time limit for the log.  If a winner has not been declared by the end of it, “time” is called, and the competitors move on to the next smaller log.

Competitors are not allowed to touch their opponents or cross the center line during a match.


Watch the roller’s feet! When both competitors are facing the same direction, they are involved in a running match. Each roller is using the same step. This tends to move the log across the water. If the rollers are evenly skilled, a running match tends to take a longer amount of time. You can expect to see a stronger opponent try to stop the log or splash in an attempt to catch their opponent off guard! The judge will stop the match if the rollers come too close to an object that might interfere with rolling or may be dangerous.

When competitors face opposite directions, they are said to be involved in a bucking match. Only one roller can use his/her front step at a time (this is typically a roller’s strongest step). The other competitor is forced to use his/her back step. These matches tend to be a little more exciting and often finish faster than running matches.

A stronger competitor may try to stop the log, turn it the other direction, and force his or her opponent to use a back step. At times you will see rollers use a skip step. This is a valuable step to know, as rollers can change the speed of the log with this step. They may also try to stop the log and then change its direction. Keep an eye out for other tricky moves such as rocking, turns and splashes. We do not allow any of our competitors to chew snuff-but in the olden days, competitors may have tried to distract their opponent by spitting in his/her eyes! To this day, the cheer, “Give ’em snoose!” may be heard at log rolling tournaments.


Katie Burke
Phone Number: 608-769-3583

Katherine R. Burke (Formerly Rick) has been among the most accomplished contributors connected to the sport of log rolling over the past 20 years, working as a professional log rolling promoter, coach, and competing as a professional log roller as well during that time.  The Onalaska, WI native is also currently an Associate Lecturer of Accountancy at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Rick’s first venture into promoting tournaments came in 2008 when she co-founded Three Rivers Roleo, which eventually grew into one of the top three professional tournaments in the sport.  In 2015, the Roleo had the second highest purse on the professional circuit and attracted virtually every top 10 pro in the world.  Three Rivers Roleo celebrates its 15th year, the weekend of July 8 & 9 at Taste ‘N Glow Balloon Fest. The event was broadcast in several states on Fox Sports North, covering much of the upper Midwest, from 2015-2019. Burke, who’s also directed several amateur tournaments, founded the US Logrolling Open, a pro event which made its debut in Chicago Southland in June of 2016 and moved to Gladstone Michigan in 2018.  The fourth annual US Log Rolling Open will be held on July 4, 2022. The majority of top 10 professional competitors on both the men’s and women’s side are expected to attend both events. Since moving to the Gladstone the Open is co-directed with Dan McDonough, a 9 time log rolling World Champion.

Burke has also produced a stellar resume as a competitor in the world of Timber Sports.  Over the past decade, Burke has qualified for the STIHL Timbersports series seven times, every year boom running was a part of it, and qualified for ESPN’s Great Outdoor games as well.  She’s consistently been among the top Log Rollers in the world since 2005, earning 13 top 3 finishes during that stretch. Additionally, she is a professional boom runner and for the second consecutive year is ranked 2nd in the World. She placed 2nd at the Lumberjack World Championships in 2018 and 2021

Burke also consults on other events assisting in coordination and execution. She worked on the STIHL Timbersport Series behind the scenes as the Director, Roger Phelps, right hand in 2017 and 2018.  She worked at the STIHL Reno Air Races in 2017.


Gladstone Michigan was home to the 1926 Log Rolling World Championships.  The last time Gladstone hosted log rolling was in 1999 at the 4th of July Celebration.

The City of Gladstone is located on the picturesque shores of Little Bay de Noc. Our location offers our residents and visitors numerous year-round activities. Boasting a population of just over 5,000, we have the small town quality and hospitality that the Upper Peninsula is known for. The City offers its own city-owned/operated utilities and campground.  For more information about the City click here. For more details about the 4th of July Celebration, click here.