Rise of the Lumberjill

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Photo courtesy of Mia Martinez

Head Lumberjack 2020 Lauren Davis

Evie Benson, FCHS Journalist

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Lumberjack history was made on Jan. 24 when the first ever “Lumberjill” won the Lumberjack Friday contest. For 8th graders (and newcomers to FCHS) who might not know, Lumberjack Friday has been a tradition at FCHS for the last 12 years. On the first Friday of February, students come to school dressed in flannel and end the day with a home basketball game. 

Yet the real event is the tradition of showing up at 5:00 am at the IHOP at Zions Crossroads to eat pancakes and attend the annual Lumberjack syrup competition. Not a school-sanctioned event, the competition is eagerly awaited, as it determines which junior will take home the title of “Head Lumberjack” for the next year. 

So how did this tradition begin? Lumberjack Friday was started by former Flucos Joey Donahue ’11 and Jake Turner ’11 in 2008. It later evolved to a school-wide festivity with help from other students. Former Fluco Chris Markham ’13 started the well-known syrup-chugging contest in 2013. In the contest, whoever chugs a bottle of syrup the fastest gets named as the Head Lumberjack for the year and gets to carve his or her name in a wooden axe, then keep it until next year. The axe was made by former Fluco George Wall ’12, and since then, it has been passed down every year, continuing the tradition. 

The tradition is always evolving. In 2019, Kyia Scott ’20 became the first female to participate in the syrup contest, although the 2019 winner was Matt Haden ´20. “ I just went to IHOP with a friend and got pushed into chugging. But I won and I was surprised,” said Haden. This year’s event featured juniors Lauren Davis, Ben Perry, Jason Hamshar, Damon Everard, and Travis Morris. Ultimately, Davis won the competition and downed her syrup bottle first, earning her the title of Head Lumberjack for 2020. “When I won, it was amazing. It was a really big accomplishment for me,” said Davis. 

Although the day is exciting for students, things can get out of hand. For example, in 2018 a group of students went to Walmart after they ate at IHOP. The sheriff’s office was called because the students were being disruptive and loud. Although no charges were pressed, Walmart did contact FCHS and then principal James Barlow made a statement to the local press that this was not school-sanctioned event. 

In 2017, an IHOP waitress got the bills mixed up and thought that some students left without paying. They contacted the school before realizing that the students were not at fault. 

Normally, Lumberjack Friday is held on the first or second Friday of February, but this year was a bit different, taking place on Jan. 24 to coincide with the boys basketball team’s home game against Monticello. Dozens of Fluco fans turned out in plaid, flannel shirts and best lumberjack attire that night to cheer the varsity boys on to a win.