The 15th Annual NELMA Eastern White Pine Graders’ Competition was held September 29, hosted by Hancock Lumber Company’s Bethel, Maine mill. A total of 44 graders representing 10 NELMA Eastern White Pine lumber producers participated in this year’s event. After 2 rounds of grading lumber selected by NELMA Inspectors in the grades of C-Select, D-Select, Finish, Premium, Standard, and Industrial, 11 competitors were left to compete for the final Top 8 Individual Awards.
With an 85% grading accuracy, Cornel Berry of Pleasant River Lumber’s Hancock, Maine mill took First Place honors, followed closely by Lonnie Kollander of Limington Lumber. Chris Goode of Hancock Lumber Company’s Pittsfield, Maine mill took Third Place by a mere 13 second tie-breaker over Chris Joy of DiPrizio Pine. Fifth through Eighth Place winners in order were: Mike Brooks (Hancock Lumber- Casco, Maine), John Hodgkiss (Irving Forest Products), Jim Hutton (Pleasant River-Sanford, Maine), and Jim Zolesky (Limington Lumber).
In the Consolation Round, Tom Mitchell of Limington Lumber finished First in an 8 second tie-breaker with Brian Flynn of Pleasant River Lumber’s Sanford mill.
Matt Pomeroy, NELMA’s Director of Inspection Services, noted “this year’s results were some of the closest on record where only 1 correct score separated the Third Place finisher from Eighth Place, resulting in the use of the Time-Remaining tie-breaker to sort the order of finish.”
The day’s final event was for the Team Championship and the coveted Bronze Hammer Trophy. In another close battle, the graders from Madison Lumber Mill located in West Ossipee, New Hampshire correctly graded 9 of the 10 competition boards to collect their first-ever Team Title. Second Place went to last year’s champion, Hancock Lumber Company’s Casco, Maine in a tie-breaker with DiPrizio Pine. Fourth Place went to Irving Forest Products, with Limington Lumber Company rounding out the Top 5 Teams.
NELMA would like to thank all competitors for their participation. A special thank you goes to the staff of Hancock Lumber Company’s Bethel operation, in particular Aaron Schulte and Keith Trask, for hosting a great day of events enjoyed by all!