Beginning on June 11 of this year, professional log rolling will have a new look in a brand new market. Plans for the newly formed US Log Rolling Open have been nearly finalized, and tournament Director Katie Rick has announced that the new tournament will take place on the second Saturday in June. The event will be located just southwest of Chicago at Centennial Park in Orland Park, IL. “It’s going to be what we hope becomes a top professional tournament,” says Rick. “It’s a new opportunity for the sport to expand into the state of Illinois. It’ll be a one day tournament and include both professional men and women.” The US Log Rolling Open will have the distinction of being the season opening tournament on the pro circuit in 2016, followed by the La Crosse Open and Midwest Championships (Madison) in June. This year’s Three Rivers Roleo (Onalaska, WI), Namekagon River Roll Off (Hayward), and 2016 Log Rolling World Championships (Hayward) will take place in July.
Rick, who also operates and oversees the Three Rivers Roleo, was drawn to the Chicago area in part because of the marketing potential that the nation’s third largest city presents. “It’ll be a great opportunity, it’s fantastic to be in a big market,” says Rick. I think it’s something that people in the area will be very interested in. The park that we’re in has a lot of walking traffic so I think we will get a chance to expose the sport to a lot of different people in a larger market. Hopefully we can use this as an opportunity to spread and expose our sport.” USLRA president Troy Birdsong agrees that stretching the sport into the Chicago market is a major step forward for the sport of Log Rolling. “The more we can do to expand the sport, the better,” says Birdsong. “One of our goals in the USLRA is to continue to support the expansion of the sport. It’s very exciting to be in another new market, especially a market the size of Chicago.”
Rick is confident that turnout among top pro rollers for the event should be strong, adding that several top ranked rollers live within a few hours of the location. “We’re still in the process of fundraising but the goal is to be a level two tournament,” says Rick. “It’s close to Madison and Oconomowoc where there are top pros and solid programs. It’ll be a little more of a trek for others but I’m hoping that they will see the opportunity that we have for the sport and to compete at another tournament.” Rick has not ruled out the possibility of a televised broadcast, and says she’s continuing to explore all media options and possible sponsorship opportunities. Updates and further details on the 2016 US Log Rolling Open can found in the coming weeks and months on Facebook at www.facebook.com/uslogrollingopen.