Sawing team rips log, cuts up at fair contest

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Bird and McHale. Montana and Rice. Gene Maevers and Jimmy Sinn.

Some athletes just have a chemistry.

Maevers and Sinn cut through to the finish with blade-like precision Saturday, pumping like pistons in a restored muscle car.

The focus was the stuff of legends.

And in 18.09 seconds of give-and-take with the two-man saw, Sinn and Maevers, both 64 and on Social Security, cut through a 12-inch-diameter log and claimed the coveted first-place crosscut saw trophy at the SEMO District Fair Friday night.

Like all athletes of legendary caliber, the men acted like they had been there before.

"We've seen enough competition, we know what to do," Maevers said. "All you got to do is pull back and forth. It's the rhythm."

Apparently a game-day routine is important.

"It all depends on how he feels," Sinn said of his partner. "If he gets in a nap in the afternoon, we do all right. If not, he gets a little tired toward the bottom."

Then, in an exclusive interview with the Southeast Missourian, Maevers shared his secret to winning saw competitions:

"I do without sex for a couple of days."

By this time, an awe-inspired crowd gathered around the champions and laughed.

Officially, Maevers and Sinn have won "less than 100" competitions over the years, whether in the fair or in the Egyptfest. They don't practice. The great ones don't have to.

"We sawed when we were young kids," Sinn said. "We used to have to cut wood that way."

Sinn and Maevers won by the narrowest of margins, just ahead of their rivals, Dude Huey and Jim Foeste -- 18.49 seconds. Huey and Foeste, also in their 60s, have had their fair share of victories over Sinn and Maevers.

And there is some dispute over the true winner Friday.

"The guy running the stopwatch is his nephew, you see," Huey said.

The two Egypt Mills teams were easily the best among the seven teams. They beat the third-place team by nearly 12 seconds.

Two burly men well over 6 feet tall, looking half the age of the two Egypt Mills teams, found out the hard way that experience wins championships.

"This was the first time we ever tried it," Ralph James said. "We just didn't have the muscles going right."

The event was sponsored by the Egypt Mills Antique Tractor Club.


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