Winner: Timbers Game, Portland
The buzz of a chainsaw is common enough in Oregon, but at a soccer game? Attend a Portland Timbers game at Jeld-Wen Field and watch mascot, Timber Joey, a real lumberjack, saw off a slab of a log on the field to celebrate each goal. The log slab then passes into the crowd, ending up in the hands of the player who scored the goal. The Portland Timbers, survived in various iterations since 1975, joined Major League Soccer in 2011 and have become a beloved part of the Portland sports scene. Its hardcore supporter group, known as the Timbers Army, has staked out the north end of the stadium, where it boisterously stands throughout the game, chanting and singing. Its motto: “We are Timbers Army, we are mental, and we’re barmy, true supporters for ever more.” (portlandtimbers.com)
Runner-Up: Pole Pedal Paddle, Bend
Photo by Buddy Mays
Each May, Bend residents know it must be Pole Pedal Paddle time because every other vehicle has a kayak, a bike and skis on its roof. Since May 1977, the uniquely Bend event has grown from a few participants to around 3,200 in 2012, with half coming from outside Central Oregon. The five-sport, sixleg event (downhill ski, cross-country ski, road bike ride, run, kayak and sprint) starts at Mt. Bachelor and finishes at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Athletes range in age from teens to octogenarians and can compete alone, as a pair or on a larger team. Families and locals who aren’t competing love to drink coffee and cheer participants along the route.