Veteran woodchopper Gary Skipper has sharpened his axe blade and is ready to compete at the 110th Gin Gin Show to honour his mate Don Dingle.
Wielding his axe at the Bundaberg Show on Thursday, it was easy to see the drive behind every swing Gary made.
The veteran came out of retirement to compete in honour of Don.
Don passed away 10 years ago after he suffered a heart attack while competing at the Gin Gin Show.
Gary was competing in the same heat against Don at the time.
Both men shared passion for the sport
Don had a 50-year association with the local sport and left a legacy behind.
Gary has been competing for 45 years and said woodchopping was entrenched in him.
“Once it’s in your blood – it doesn’t matter how old you are – it calls you back,” Gary said.
“I came out of retirement not only to honour Don but to also keep the youth involved.”
Gary said Don was a role model for him when he first came into the sport and he continued to be a mentor not only for him but others until the day he died.
“Don was a true ambassador for the sport,” he said.
“He could wield an axe with the best of them.”
Now Gary wants Don’s name to live on through the younger generations of woodchoppers.
“I do this to keep the young fellas involved,” Gary said.
“It’s about supporting the young ones.”
Competitor Luke Dingle said just as Don was Gary’s inspiration, he found Gary had taught him everything he knew and it was important.
Woodchop arena in Don's honour
The 2019 Gin Gin Show will mark 10 years since the passing of local axeman Don Dingle.
In recognition of Don’s considerable contribution to woodchopping at the Gin Gin Show, the woodchop area will be officially named the Don Dingle Arena.
Don was passionate about woodchopping and competed for over 50 years without a break – an outstanding achievement.
He competed in all the Royal Shows and was very popular with the other axemen and loved catching up with them each year.
Don also travelled to America in 1981 to compete in woodchop events for a month.
The Dingles are well known around Australia for their chopping prowess as brothers, sons and nephews competed together as the Dingle Team to take on the rest.
In Don’s eyes, his greatest achievement was being selected to compete in the Australian Veterans Team against New Zealand – a feat he managed nine times.
Others may consider his fostering of the sport to be an even greater achievement.
Don enjoyed competing against his family and it was a delight to see the friendly rivalry and banter between them. Picking up axes at a very young age, Don delighted in watching the next generation develop into fine axemen carrying on the family tradition.