By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
Jason Lentz is a fourth-generation professional lumberjack from Webster County, West Virginia. He’s a world champion. Just like his dad.
“I take no prisoners,” Jason says. “I like winning.”
And ever since winning the Lumberjack World Championship in 2018, Lentz has done a whole lot of winning.
Lentz on a hot streak in 2023
His hot streak continued into 2023 with a huge win at the Stihl US Trophy. Competing against the top 12 lumberjacks in America, Lentz won for the second year in a row.
That win qualified him for the Stihl World Trophy event. Held in the Netherlands, only 16 of the world’s top competitors earned the right to be there.
“I really enjoy competing for my country,” Jason emphasizes. “Wearing USA on my jersey makes me feel like I’m doing something for my country. It’s pretty special.”
Lentz finished third in this year’s event. While he was honored to place on the podium, he is hungry for more.
“I haven’t won it yet,” Jason says of the Stihl World Trophy event. “It’s on the to-do list. I want it.”
Lentz says he “has no social life,” because all he does is “compete.” He knows the big competitions only come around once a year, and his goal is always the same–”I try to win everything.”
He put that mentality to work as soon as he returned to the US from the WOrld Trophy event. Competing at the famed Cherry Valley Games in New York, Lentz won it all against 40 top competitors.
Next, he will compete at the Lumberjack World Championships in Wisconsin. It attracts top lumberjacks from across the globe. Lentz has won the event twice before (2018 & 2021), and he aims to win it again this year.
Professional athletes usually devote 100% of their time to their sport. Lumberjacks rarely can do that.
“We don’t make money in this sport,” Jason explains. “I took $50,000 worth of equipment to Cherry Valley, won $4,000, spent most of that getting there, and I was the only one to win any money there. It’s tough.”
Lentz has sponsors who help make it possible for him to travel to competitions. And he works a day job replacing city water pipes across West Virginia. “I work 40 hours as fast as I can,” he says. “Then I go choppin’.”
And he means it. He’s 6 foot six inches tall, weighing 250 pounds. He looks like a professional football player (and did play basketball in college), but he doesn’t go to the gym. He doesn’t lift weights. How does he train?
“I just do the sport,” he says. “Repetition is the key. Choppin’.”
‘It’s like golf’
Lentz says the good thing about lumberjacking is that you can do compete at a high level over a number of years.
“It’s like golf,” he explains. “You can compete at a high level into your 50s.”
At just 37, Lentz has a bright future in a sport where he’s already a top star. He’s grateful for the opportunities it has provided him, saying the chance to travel the world and meet new friends across the globe is a direct result of the sport he loves.
“Nobody has a clue we have the best lumberjacks in the whole world right here in West Virginia,” he says. “It’s an honor to have the longest living name in the sport as a 4th generation lumberjack from West Virginia.”
Stay tuned to RealWV as we continue to follow Jason’s competitions this season.