Sunday, May 25, 2014
Timber Joey, mascot for Portland's MLS soccer team, the Portland Timbers
In honor of yesterday's Portland Timbers victory over the New York Red Bulls, I give you Timber Joey who usually has a chain saw in hand which he uses to cut a slice of a huge log every time the team scores at their home field. However, at the 2013 Polar Plunge, the Special Olympics Oregon event for Portland--when I got my first ever chance to see him in person--Timber Joey took to the Columbia River sans saw and joined lots of other folks wearing all sorts of costumes, all in support of a great cause.
Here's the first shot I got of him, dripping wet and freezing cold after he'd made the plunge. I myself never got any closer to the water than where I'm standing taking photos.
See the water dripping from that other guy's sleeve! Cold, cold, cold. I took the photo, though, so that you could see the crossed chain saws on the back of Timber Joey's shirt.
Info found on the World Wide Web about Timber Joey: Embedded in long-standing tradition, the Timbers feature a unique mascot. Free of costume, big feet or cartoon-like gimmicks, the Timbers’ mascot is a true outdoorsman. With his chainsaw in tow, Joey Webber, known by fans as “Timber Joey,” helps create a one-of-kind atmosphere at Providence Park.
The tradition of having an authentic lumberman as the club’s mascot began in the 1970s when the Timbers competed in the North American Soccer League. Leading the way was Timber Jim (Jim Serrill), who created and continued several fan-favorite traditions during his 12 seasons as the club’s mascot and icon (1978-82; 2001-07). Initially volunteering for the role, he captured the hearts of fans with his rope stunts, hanging from rafters and light poles with his revved up chainsaw in hand.
Following Serrill’s retirement in January of 2008, Webber has since carried on the club’s match-day traditions and possesses an inspirational charisma, which can bring the crowd to its feet with a quick rev of the chainsaw. A beloved Timbers match-day tradition is the sawing of a slab off a log following every Timbers goal and presenting the slice to the goal-scorer in a post-match ritual.
Webber was born and raised in the timber town of Philomath, Ore., where he attended the School of Forestry as a youth. He competed in state forestry and timber competitions and ranked in several events including pole climbing, jack double bucking, fire hose relays, axe throwing, log rolling and hot saw operation. Growing up, Webber was also a competitive rugby player and was a member of the U.S. National Rugby Team’s U-19 pool for two years (1996-97). He competed as a bare-back bronco rider in the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association from 1996-2000, and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2000.
Webber is active in the Timbers community outreach efforts, joining players and staff in visiting hospitals, participating in charity events and is a part of a variety of other key community initiatives. When not in his trademark silver hard hat or Timbers suspenders, he operates his own construction company that specializes in concrete finishing and also serves as the security manager at a local restaurant.
An official induction ceremony for Webber, along with Serrill, took place during halftime of a Timbers exhibition match against Italy’s Juventus Primavera on June 14, 2008.
History of the log slab tradition:
“No, you can’t bring any chainsaws in the stands. Are you crazy?” That’s what former Timbers general manager Keith Williams said to Jim Serrill back in the late 1970s. At the time, little did Williams know that Serrill would become the team’s long-time icon as “Timber Jim” and that his saw would establish a unique and beloved Timbers tradition – the cutting of the “log slab.” After each goal scored by the Timbers at Providence Park, a slice is cut from the victory log behind the north goal and celebrated in a cloud of sawdust and cheered by the roar of a chainsaw and thousands of voices. The log slab is then paraded through the stands, and ultimately, presented to its rightful owner – the goal scorer – in a post-game ceremony. This time-honored tradition has helped make Timbers matches at Providence Park a one-of-a-kind soccer experience in the United States. Over the years, the players have changed, the uniforms have changed, and even the mascot has changed, but the tradition of cutting the log slab after each Timbers goal lives on, and the spirit of the “log slab” will continue to inspire Timbers fans for years to come.