LE CLAIRE, Iowa — A woman from Ellsworth made history Thursday when she stood on a log and rolled across the width of the mighty Mississippi River.
Alissa Wetherbee is the founder of Axe Women Loggers of Maine which is a group of "lumberjills" who take part in professional timber sports athletic events. Many of the women in the group have won world or collegiate championships and hold world records in axe throwing, log rolling, sawing and chopping.
Wetherbee is a world champion axe thrower and peavey log roller.
The 39-year-old log rolled from Port Byron around 8:30 a.m. to LeClaire in Iowa on Thursday morning, Sept. 26, while her husband and father were in a canoe in front of her for support and direction.
"It's pretty cool. We have been thinking about it and planning it out for a year. It's a big relief," Wetherbee told NEWS CENTER Maine hours after completing the 500 plus yard log roll which is the farthest she has ever gone. Wetherbee says it took her about 30 minutes to cross the river.
Wetherbee balanced on a so-called Key Log which is made of synthetic materials designed specifically for the sport.
The self-proclaimed "lumberjill" says her training to become a modern-day female lumberjack began when she was a kid living in a home heated by wood. Not surprisingly, Wetherbee chopped a lot of wood as a kid and eventually, it became less of a chore and more of a fun activity.
Wetherbee grew up on Mount Desert Island and was a champion pole vaulter in High School for MDIHS. She turned down two different college scholarships for pole vaulting and to pursue Lumber Sports instead.
Now her group, Axe Women Loggers of Maine, travels the nation and the world trying to change people's ideas of lumberjacks and timber sports.