True passion

Passionate fans, sold-out arenas, and a positive image transfer to STIHL: in the TIMBERSPORTS® Series, STIHL has successfully created a platform that charges the brand with emotion. A look behind the scenes of the world’s most important lumberjack competition series.

Passion, ambition, strength, and the right technique are the secrets of success for TIMBERSPORTS® athletes. Past events had thousands of enthusiastic spectators cheering them on. The most recent competitions, however, had to take place without an audience due to the pandemic. That does not make them any less exciting, though.
Passion, ambition, strength, and the right technique are the secrets of success for TIMBERSPORTS® athletes. Past events had thousands of enthusiastic spectators cheering them on. The most recent competitions, however, had to take place without an audience due to the pandemic. That does not make them any less exciting, though.

The tension is palpable. Standing in front of the stage, arms crossed, gaze firmly fixed on the action just a few meters away: woodchips fly, saws cut their way through tree trunks in seconds, axes are swung. Since 2010, these are the types of scenes that Erich Rettenmoser (from Austria) regularly sees when at work – and they have now really become a passion of his because timber sports – specifically its top-tier competition – has cast a spell over him. Over the years, he has become more and more involved, now working as the stage manager to ensure that everyone is in the right place at the right time during the competitions and that everything runs like clockwork.

Apart from his native Tyrol, there’s no other place he would rather be than working behind the scenes at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series: “To be honest, it’s quite addictive. It’s a lot of work, but it’s hard to think of anything better.” He has played a decisive role in making the competitions increasingly popular around the world, and he has also spent the last decade and more trying to ensure that they always get better. A self-described perfectionist with an attention for detail, he “always wants to do something different from the others.” It’s precisely this approach that has ensured that the annual Individual World Champion has received a trophy these past eight years, which is individually crafted by a goldsmith.

More than


Million People worldwide enjoyed the coverage of TIMBERSPORTS® through various channels.

Sjuul Jansen is responsible for the timekeeping system and works in the control center for competition management. The 21-year-old Dutchman has a watchful eye over everything, and has been part of the team since he was only 12 years old. His father, Bart Jansen, is a true TIMBERSPORTS® fixture. He used to bring his young son along to the competition, who would do his part by putting on the music. He later moved on to coordinating the drone footage and is now a referee, overseeing the competition via video. His father has been at it so long, Sjuul hardly had a choice: “At home, everything revolves around STIHL or timber sports.” Though he barely spends time at home anymore as he’s on the go, traveling with TIMBERSPORTS® for more than half the year. His younger brother also helps out, while his mother takes care of the paperwork, booking trips, and organizing. His sister is the only odd one out, occasionally complaining about the lack of other topics in the house. And yet: “TIMBERSPORTS® is more than a job for us, it’s our passion and way of life.”

»TIMBERSPORTS® has really become a family business for us. Everyone joins in. It’s our life.«

Sjuul Jansen (21)responsible for video timing and general competition management


Timber sports have a long and proud tradition, stretching back to the 19th century. Originating in Australia and New Zealand, the sports made their way around the world. The competitions are real crowd-pullers, both “down under” and in North America, with athletes sometimes reaching superstar status. One of 2021’s top athletes was Jason Lentz from the U.S. Standing nearly two meters tall, he navigates the many photo shoots, interviews, and the rest of the bustle during the world championships completely unfazed. He stays completely focused and concentrated – long before the competition even begins. Calm and collected, he aims to follow in his father’s footsteps – and they are huge. His father, after all, is THE Mel Lentz, better known as the “King of the Lumberjacks.” He can lay claim to six STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® titles, not to mention countless top placings in other timber sports competitions around the world. Lentz Sr. on his son: “As long as he keeps his cool, nobody can beat him.” And the 2021 Individual World Championship in Munich proved him right. In a real photo finish, Jason Lentz was able to beat the veteran competitor Martin Komárek from the Czech Republic, who was in the lead at the time, and Marcel Dupuis from Canada. “This title really represents a lifelong dream for me,” said the beaming winner at the end of the competition. Probably only the first in a long sporting career ahead.

»My father is a legend in the scene – he’s the King of the Lumberjacks. I’d like that title too.«

Jason Lentz (36), USAReigning TIMBERSPORTS® Individual World Champion

Values are the key

His direct competitor, Martin Komárek, is one of the first to congratulate Jason Lentz, and it is obvious just how happy he is for him. The Czech athlete is generally known as the good soul on the competition circuit – never has a bad word to say about anyone, always in a good mood, supports the young rookies, and always plays fair. Athletes and fans alike agree that he’s a class act, through and through. When asked about what the most important values are for him, Komárek answers: “Loyalty, a good, sportsmanlike approach to the competition and other athletes, and never forgetting to laugh and enjoy the spirit of camaraderie, no matter how tough the competition gets.” He knows that it is especially the experienced athletes who serve a role model function: “That’s why performance or the results aren’t always the most important part of the competition.” Komárek has been competing at STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® in Europe since day one.

It’s the special kind of feeling that he associates with the sport – that unique mix of athleticism, strength, and the handling of razor-sharp machinery, the people, all the different, sometimes spectacular, competition venues – it all comes together to keep inspiring him. If, on top of all that, he is also able to have his family there, then there’s nothing better.

Unfortunately, the Individual World Championship in Munich was Martin Komárek's last international competition – he passed away on March 10, 2022, in a tragic accident. Martin Komárek leaves behind a gap that no one can fill, and will forever be an outstanding athlete and ambassador of the of the TIMBERSPORTS® Series.

»Being from Tyrol, you grow up being very close to nature. Everyone knows the lumberjacks there, but TIMBERSPORTS® just takes it to a whole new level.«

Erich RettenmoserStage Manager and avid STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® fan

Robert Ebner, one of Germany’s best known athletes, has spent more than 16 years of his life focused entirely on the sport: training, following the right diet, taking part in competitions. And it has paid off, with 40 podium positions at national competitions, including 20 wins and seven German championships. Not only that, but he also placed second in the world championships and is the current world record holder in one of the most difficult disciplines – the Hot Saw. These are the benchmarks of a great career, one that he rounded out with great emotion at the end of 2021 with a tenth place at the world championships in his native Munich. Despite some setbacks, the Forest management master and safety coach would not trade a thing for his time in TIMBERSPORTS®. Ebner sees the STIHL brand as playing a very big part in this as well: “The STIHL brand, and the Stihl family with it, stands for things that carry a lot of importance for me personally. Strength, family, reliability.” Precisely the reason why he not only identified with the sport, but also with the tools and the company.

»The last 16 years have taken their toll. I’m unbelievably grateful for the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met along the way, the entire time.«

Robert Ebner (36)German top athlete, who closed out his career at the world championships in Munich

»You need stamina and willpower to succeed.«

Severin Bühler (32)has been an active athlete for 20 years.
for more information on the Stihl TIMBERSPORTS® SERIES and the competitions, visit

»Emotions make the difference«

How important is a brand to the long-term success of a company?

Andreas Baetzgen Products are interchangeable for consumers in many markets. Many people also believe that affordable no-name products are sometimes even better than expensive brand-name products. At the same time, new and aggressive competitors – especially from Asia – are constantly entering our markets. In this climate, the brand, its credibility, and especially the emotions associated with it play an important role in a consumer’s purchasing decision and are often the deciding factor. Emotions make the difference today.

What does TIMBERSPORTS® contribute to STIHL in this respect?

Baetzgen TIMBERSPORTS® is more than just one communication instrument among many. I see it as a completely unique selling point that the series is globally perceived – by the media, sponsors, and people – as a real sport and not as a marketing tool. STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® fits the brand better than any sponsorship and facilitates its own channels of communication. The series also goes a long way to highlight the STIHL brand’s authenticity and professionalism, and is much closer to the product than any other sponsorship activity could be. All the more important, as the overall goal is to sell products. What’s more, TIMBERSPORTS® has also been able to add value to the STIHL brand for nearly three decades now. This tradition and continuity are what make TIMBERSPORTS® a long-term and valuable avenue for communication with existing customers and the development of new target groups.

What role do the employees of the STIHL Group play in this respect?

Baetzgen The employees play a very decisive role – they are the face and the ambassadors of the brand. They are the ones who shape the STIHL brand through their day-to-day work and transport the message to customers. The best brand would be nothing without the employees who bring it to life. They are the ones who make the enthusiasm for the brand, the products, and everything associated with STIHL authentic. When everything lines up just right, the authenticity of that passion makes it contagious.

Andreas Baetzgen is a professor of business communication with a focus on marketing at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences (HTW Berlin). He has worked as a consultant for ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, actively supporting many aspects of brand communication and brand development.

Facts and Figures
STIHL Timbersports®


Fans follow TIMBERSPORTS® on social media.

Hot Saw

This Discipline is comprised of races with specialized chainsaws that are used to cut “cookies” (tree trunk slabs). The saws are specially manufactured for these races, boast up to 80 hp and a chain speed of up to 240 km/h.

Timber sports have a storied tradition that goes back until at least the


in Australia. The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series was founded by STIHL Inc. in 1985 in the U.S.

More than


Countries host TIMBERSPORTS® Series events. In 2021, 80 competitions were held in 18 countries, despite the pandemic.

The fourth edition of the TIMBERSPORTS® guide bar was produced more than


times and sold in 26 countries.

The fourth edition of the TIMBERSPORTS® guide bar was produced more than


times and sold in 26 countries.

3 questions for…
Raimondo Napoleone

What is the significance of TIMBERSPORTS® to STIHL?

Raimondo Napoleone TIMBERSPORTS® is an important marketing tool and an irreplaceable multiplier. It charges the brand with emotion, appeals to new and younger target groups, and introduces them to STIHL. As such, TIMBERSPORTS® serves as an efficient communication tool to reach our target groups on a daily basis with appealing and relevant content. Which is precisely why we apply the same high-level quality standards when running TIMBERSPORTS® events as we do everywhere else at STIHL. We know this is seen and it really pays off. Large attendance numbers at our arena events, as well as millions of views on our social media channels and third-party online platforms are the proof. That’s how we know that TIMBERSPORTS® leaves a lasting impression.

How does TIMBERSPORTS® go from Waiblingen out into the world?

Napoleone TIMBERSPORTS® isn’t just a German project by any means. Thanks to the various national series, we have events happening in 20 countries on four continents. We in Waiblingen provide the framework conditions for a high-quality, strategic implementation. We also oversee the international competitions, such as the world championships. The TIMBERSPORTS® team also invests a lot of energy in media marketing to ensure global visibility for the competitions. Besides specific TIMBERSPORTS® channels, the series works together with various media partners, including Sport1 in Germany and La Chaine l’Équipe in France, which even dedicated an entire week to TIMBERSPORTS® 2021 specials. In addition, we have partnerships with TV broadcasters such as CBS (U.S.), TSN (Canada), and 7 Network (Australia). The biggest feather in our cap so far was getting DAZN on board, a leading, global sports streaming service that is home to the most important international soccer leagues and other popular sports, and broadcast top international competitions in Germany, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland for the first time in 2021. This goes a long way in strengthening our image as a serious sports series.

Which other channels are used to increase your reach?

Napoleone Live TV and online broadcasts are especially important for us now during the pandemic, with many competitions still having to take place without spectators. That was the reasoning behind our decision to greatly increase the number of live broadcasts over the last two years. It allowed us to offer fans more live sports. So far, our analysis has shown that the TIMBERSPORTS® media work across the STIHL Group has enabled us to reach a total of 791 million people worldwide, bringing the series and, by extension, the STIHL brand straight to them. As I said previously, social media is a key pillar when it comes to us reaching new and younger target groups, as it is where they prefer to consume content.

Raimondo Napoleone (34), STIHL’s man for the international STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series and the management of the TIMBERSPORTS® brand.