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Arden Cogar Sr.


Woodchopper Arden Cogar Sr. (July 2, 1934 – November 21, 2021), was born in Desert Fork, Webster County, to Hansford and Nora Pugh Cogar. He won many woodchopping competitions, including nine championships at the highly regarded festival in Hayward, Wisconsin, in 1955. He also competed in Canada and Australia, and in 1965 exhibited his prowess at the New York World’s Fair. Cogar’s woodchopping skills garnered several world records, including a 1978 record in underhand competition for chopping a 12-inch block of yellow poplar in 15.5 seconds. He achieved another world record in 1976, in standing competition, for chopping a 10-inch square of yellow poplar in 16.20 seconds. Events requiring contestants to chop an upright log were his specialty, but Cogar also won many awards in the underhand event, in which the log rests in a cradle made for that purpose. Cogar participated in the first international team competition in 2001 in Webster County, where he helped found and was a long-time supporter of the annual Woodchopping Festival, held each Memorial Day weekend.

Cogar’s son, Arden Cogar Jr., born April 21, 1970, in Webster Springs, also became a competitive lumberjack. He attended West Virginia University and competed on the lumberjack team. Now a lawyer in Charleston, Arden Cogar Jr., has won numerous individual world titles. In June 2012, he captured his second straight championship in the Stihl Timbersports U.S. Championship. His cousin, Matt Cogar of Diana, Webster County, came in second at the competition. More than 20 members of the Cogar family participate in timber sports.

Written by Jaime Simmons


  1. Comstock, Jim, ed. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia vol. 5. Richwood: Jim Comstock, 1976.

  2. Arden E. Cogar. WDTV, November 22, 2021.

  3. Doster, Adam. The First Family of Competitive Lumberjacking. The New Yorker, July 22, 2016.