Logrolling Becomes a Family Tradition in Cowlitz County

Charlotte and Virginia Hansen of Toutle, Washington, were logrolling from the time they could pull themselves up on a log. They would practice together, perform together, and compete against one another in shows and competitions both local and international. 

According to Timber!: The Story of the Lumberjack World ChampionshipsVirginia won the world title in 1953, 1955, and 1956. From a 1956 Sports Illustrated "Record Breakers" article, "Virginia Hansen, 23, of Toutle, Wash, got 'wetted' by younger sister Charlotte, came back to take next two falls and women's crown."  

Charlotte won the women's world title in 1954, 1959 and 1966. Her title was upset in 1967 when she was beaten by a 13-year-old girl from Idaho. When Charlotte married Jim Janke, another logroller, the two not only competed in the world championships but were also involved in various Timber Carnival shows in the Pacific Northwest. 

World Champion log rolling sisters Charlotte Hansen (left) and Virginia Hansen (right) practice under the direction of their father, Frank Hansen. The Hansen sisters of Toutle often faced each other as they traveled the country competing and performing at logging shows throughout the 1950s. -- Courtesy Darcy Mitchem

World Champion log rolling sisters Charlotte Hansen (left) and Virginia Hansen (right) practice under the direction of their father, Frank Hansen. The Hansen sisters of Toutle often faced each other as they traveled the country competing and performing at logging shows throughout the 1950s.

Courtesy Darcy Mitchem

Charlotte's daughters, Julie and Jenny Jankewent on to hold women's logrolling world championship titles themselves.

"My sister and I practice and compete together just like my aunt and my mom always practiced together,' Julie told the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel in 1986. "Mom started us logrolling when we were about 10."

Jenny won at the Lumberjack World Championships in 1979, 1980 and 1983. Julie won her first title in 1978 at the age of 14, and in 1985, Julie beat Jenny in the finals. She would go on to win in 1989 as well.

Get a glimpse at Cowlitz County history and see hundreds of beatiful, historic photos in The Daily News' new book, Greater Cowlitz County Memories Volume II.

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