A travelling contingent of 13 Australians make up a healthy proportion of the 36 axemen set to compete in the Blenheim Axemen's Club's annual competition at the Marlborough A&P Show tomorrow.
Chopping under the New South Wales banner, 12 of the axemen are from NSW itself, with one from Tasmania also involved. Two of the group, Steve Kirk and Joe Rattray, are current members of the Australian team.
Of the 23 Kiwis entered in the competition, six have represented New Zealand. Among those are West Coaster Adam Lowe, the six-time defending champion in the competition's premier event, the Geoff Hocquard Memorial Underhand Chop. Lowe is also the reigning world champion in the standing chop from the Sydney Royal Easter Show and finished first-equal with John Aitken, who was fourth in the Geoff Hocquard Memorial last year, in the double saw world championship.
Just three Marlborough axemen are in action this year - Blenheim's Robbie Brownlee and Geoff Hocquard, and Willie Abel from Picton. All three will be taking part in a variety of chopping and sawing events.
Chopping gets under way at 9.30am tomorrow, with a NSW v South Island Invitational teams race at 1pm and the Geoff Hocquard Memorial, which includes the competition's top six axemen, set to go at 1.30pm.
- The Marlborough Express