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World Champion Log Rollers

World Champion Log Rollers Chicago Button Museum
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World Champion Log Rollers button back Chicago Button Museum
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Black text on light wood-colored background.

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A Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of a World's Fair held in Chicago from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation. The fair's motto was "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms." The fair held many different events including logrolling, in which lumberjacks or other competitors attempt to balance on a log the longest while it is rolling in the water. The contest involves two lumberjacks, each on one end of a log floating in the river. One starts rolling the log, and the other is forced to keep up. The lumberjacks try to stay on the log while attempting to cause the competitor to lose their balance.

In the 1920s and 1930s, log rolling was popular as a spectator sport. A group of log rollers headed by Jimmy Murray toured the country, attending state and county fairs, exhibiting their skills to the public through trick and fancy log rolling.  The 1933 world champion of log rolling, Wilber Marx, was featured in a popular news reel of the time, and he gained national popularity.  This group of log rollers would have been the featured performers at the 1933 World’s Fair log rolling exhibition.


Freedman, Lew. (2011).Timber!: The Story of the Lumberjack World Championships. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.

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