The Great Outdoor Games Kick Off in Style

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The ESPN Great Outdoor Games kicked off Thursday morning at Rancho
San Rafael Park.

The games kicked off Thursday morning with the women's endurance event. The endurance competition combines the stock saw competition, with the underhanded chop and then it ends with what's called the single buck where competitors make a single cut through a pine log.

Advancing to the semi-finals today was Michele Bolstad from New Zealand. Her husband's an Outdoor Games competitor and got her

Here's how she trains . . .

"We live on a farm and I do farm work and I'm also quite an athletic
person and I have a 15-month old daughter and I go hike with her around
the farm with her in my back pack," Michele said.

The next event of the day was archery practice. Thirteen men and three women lined up to shoot four different targets.

"I had an injury and couldn't use my legs so I was trying to find a
sport where I could use my upper body strength for so that's what got
me personally into it," said competitor Aya Labrie.

Inspired by all the female competitors, I decided to give it a shot and
headed over to the tree climbing event.

They gave me some tree climbing spurs and then strapped me in so I could try and climb a 40-foot cedar poll.

The real competitors will climb a 65 foot pole and they won't be strapped as I was.

I even got some advice on how to climb the pole from former tree climbing competitor Dwight Severson. "If you relax and let me have this leg and this is what you're going to do just like that and you're going to stand right up on it, toe out."

This is a lot tougher than it looks. I didn't get very far so we headed
over to check out the third event of the day, the timber

Here competitors chop notches in the side of a pole, stand on a piece of wood and then chop a block off the top.

"My father he was a logging contractor," said competitor Dale Ryan. "He didn't get into the sport until age 21. I was fortunate enough to pick-up an ax at the age of four, had me first chop at age 8 and been chopping ever since."

The shotgun practice rounds and competition were in the evening and the ESPN Great Outdoor games will continue all tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday right here at Rancho San Rafael Park.

There's plenty more scheduled for tomorrow at Ransho San
Rafael. Tree topping will take place at 8:00 and 3:30. Men's Endurance is scheduled for 9:30 and 5:00.

The Women's Endurance finals are scheduled for 6:00 tomorrow

You can see Archery at 10:00, 11:30. 1:30 and 3:30.

And the Shotgun competition is scheduled for 8:30 and 9:00
tomorrow night.

For a complete listing of events and information, go to the "links" area on our Web site to link to the Great Outdoor Games.