BLUE OX LOG ROLLING CLUBAt Key Log Rolling, we're confident that the technological advancement of the portable Key Log® will open up opportunities and allow people to dream bigger about what the sport could be including an Olympic sport.
Sarah Beron, a middle school math teacher from Minnesota, has just confirmed our belief by starting the first private log rolling school using Key Logs. Blue Ox Log Rolling, LLC is located in Victoria, Minnesota, near Minneapolis. Here's her inspirational story!
How did you get involved in log rolling?
Log rolling first piqued my interest in college when I met Mandy Erdmann, an elite level competitor from Wisconsin. I didn’t know that someone could actually be a world champion log roller. The fact that she looked nothing like the stereotype of a flannel-wearing, bearded, lumberjack-type made me think harder about the sport. I started planning my annual state fair visits around the log rolling demos held there. When my youngest daughter, Elsa, was just beginning to walk, she had amazing balance and we began to joke about her impending career as a log roller. Then, two years ago, we bought our dream home on a little lake and it was perfect for log rolling. I started researching logs and found the Key Log. Then a friend forwarded me the link to the Key Log Rolling family demo at the Blaisdell YMCA. I was so excited to finally try it but nervous that maybe I had overplayed how much I would love it. But I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It was everything I’d been dreaming it would be for years. It was fun and challenging, provided fitness and competition, both against myself and a friend.
What is it about log rolling that has captured your imagination?
Log rolling combines everything good and nothing bad. It’s like yoga meets kickboxing… on water! It’s new and different and a little bad ass. It’s fun and something that people want to do naturally, even my ten month old daugher! It’s great exercise, but with no injuries. I love that It rewards hard work quickly and is great MENTAL exercise (I really LOVE the mental focus of the sport). Finally, it's got great history! As a teacher, I love this. Kids can also learn about their Minnesota roots.
You started a log rolling club at a your middle school. How did that come about?
I teach math at Minnetonka Middle School West. My school students were expressing huge enthusiasm for my new hobby and convinced me to start a log rolling club for them. The school decided to also invest in this cool activity and the first middle school log rolling club was born! This spread to the Minnetonka Community Education department and adults joined us. This past school year, I taught 80 middle school students and adults to log roll. Those two hours were the highlight of my working life (I’ve been teaching for 11 years and needed something fun and new at work).
How did you decide to start your own log rolling business?
As summer approached, I wanted to continue offering log rolling classes outdoors but wasn't able to do it through the school. So I created an LLC, bought insurance and Blue Ox Log Rolling was born!
What is Blue Ox Log Rolling? A school, a club?
It’s both! A lot of my students have “outgrown” me in the sense that I don’t have any more knowledge about log rolling than they do. They just want a place to log roll over the summer so I will provide that. But I want to continue inviting new people into the sport and I love teaching so I will continue to provide classes and opportunities for new log rollers. And I think all levels of students benefit from log rolling at the same time in the same place.
How did you decide on the uniquely Minnesota name, Blue Ox? Why not Paul Bunyan?
My husband, Nolan, suggested “Loon Log Rolling” and my mom suggested “Blue Ox Log Rolling”. I loved them both and couldn’t decide so I put it on Facebook and the popular vote was overwhelmingly “Blue Ox Log Rolling”. I bought the domain and sent in the paperwork that night. A logo will be fun!
What are your hours of business and fees?
We just rolled out the summer class schedule and registration information. There are numerous options for people to start rolling!
What do your friends say about your new endeavor?
Everyone loves it and they are so excited! Even my husband gets asked about it at work and from his friends all the time. A friend told me, “I’m just so impressed that you just DID this. You didn’t ask anyone to hire you for this job. You made it happen.” I’m living out my dream and my passion for teaching and sports. I’m learning so much about creating a business, making a website, designing a logo, marketing, teaching adults, choosing insurance, and more. I can be purely passionate because there has never been something that I’ve been so sure about. Not once have I had any second thoughts about my log rolling endeavor. I don’t really know how to explain it except that there hasn’t seemed to be any downside at all. I’m leveraging where I live (on a perfect log rolling beach), I have the summers off and need something to focus on other than my children, I need to get back in shape, I love the idea of watching my kids practice their sport with their friends at home, I love introducing my friends and family to a new “game” at parties at our home, maybe I’ll make a little money eventually, I’m introducing people to something that will enrich their lives and I’m having tons of fun. Every single part of it has been fun so far. It’ll be fun to see where it goes.
Please share any anecdotes about your experience, thus far.
It was toward the end of the very first log rolling session at Minnetonka Middle School that I brought 4 or 5 boys to the Minneapolis Log Rolling Club’s tournament at the Eden Prairie Community Center. I knew it was going to be an all day event so I brought a huge stack of math tests to grade. But I couldn’t sit down. Not once! All day! It was so exciting to see my students compete. I was so proud and amazed at how well they were doing! I sat next to the parents on the bleachers that day in Eden Prairie while they cheered on their sons at this new sporting event. It was a powerful moment. It’s been exciting to see the joy log rolling is bringing to these families.
Posted: Thursday, August 25, 2016 3:45 am
By Unsie Zuege firstname.lastname@example.org
After nearly two weeks of watching 2016 Summer Olympics, it’s not so crazy to imagine log rolling becoming an Olympic sport.
After witnessing a recent class at Lake Auburn in Victoria, its allure is obvious. Anyone of any age can do it; and, apparently, it is addicting in a meditative zen, yoga, Candy Crush video game sort of way.
Since last winter, Minnetonka Middle School West math teacher Sarah Beron has been teaching log rolling, first to interested MMW students at the school pool, and this summer in her backyard that looks out over Lake Auburn.
Beron, a Victoria resident, first became interested in log rolling on her visits to the Minnesota State Fair, timing her visits to coincide with the log rolling events.
“I always loved watching the lumberjack show there,” Beron said. But it wasn’t until college at St. Olaf that she realized that log rolling is a sport for everyone. At St. Olaf, she got to know fellow student Mandy Erdmann, an elite log rolling competitor from Wisconsin.
“Until then,” she said, “I had the stereotype in my head of log rolling just for lumberjacks, men in flannel shirts with beards, not an actual sport that I could do.”
Still, Beron didn’t get into the sport until two years ago, when she and her husband found their dream house in Victoria. Encouraged by having a lake in her own backyard, she looked into buying a synthetic log that reacts like a traditional wood log. But she didn’t pursue it any further, that is, until she and her husband signed up for a lesson in Minneapolis. And then she was hooked.
Let’s start a club
“It was way better than I ever hoped,” Beron said. “It’s challenging, but you can experience success. I beat my husband three times that day.”
The following week, she told her classroom all about it. They were so enthused from her vivid description they said, “We want to do this, too! Let’s start a club and use the MMW pool.”
She pitched the idea to Paula Hoff, MMW principal, offering to bring her own log for the school to use. The principal did Buran one better. “I’ll buy a log for the school,” Hoff said. So the club started in the school pool with two synthetic logs in February. Each four-week class had a maximum of 15 students. Due to the popularity, she added another group, “and it just grew,” Beron said. Then parents wanted in, and siblings, and she had to add Saturday sessions.
And, it never occurred to her to start a business. Once summer started, her students started begging her to continue the log rolling classes. Beron thought it over. “Can I do it at my house?” she wondered. Her idea was squashed when she realized that her homeowner’s insurance wouldn’t cover the liability.
Then a friend suggested she create a business and get insurance that way.
“I never thought of starting a business,” Beron said. “I just did it out of necessity of getting insurance, and it just went from there.”
Beron named her business Blue Ox Log Rolling, a nod to Minnesota’s timber heritage, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. This summer, her 1-hour classes run Wednesday, Thursdays and Saturdays. Word of mouth has kept her classes full and her summer busy. Log rollers range in age from grade-schoolers to professional business owners, both men and women, and lately, businesses and companies have contacted her to teach log rolling as part of company and professional team-building exercises. On average, between 25 to 50 attend and have been taking her classes on a regular basis.
On a roll
On this particular August morning, most of the class — made up of nearly a dozen middle school aged girls — gathered in the shallow water on Lake Auburn. Some were from Beron’s MMW class from last school year. There was a lot of splashing and laughing as the log rollers took turns balancing atop the logs.
The synthetic logs are 15-inches in diameter, 12 feet long and weigh 65 pounds, more when filled with water and in a pool or body of water. The surface is textured, creating traction and enough grip for bare feet or aquatic shoes. Plastic yellow fins wrapped around the logs — called trainers — help stabilize the logs, making learning fast and easy. The fins slow the rotation; beginners start with three trainers on a log. As log rollers become more skilled, trainers are removed. The logs can be used in any body of water that is at least two feet in depth.
“I’ve been doing it most of the summer,” Emma Baden said, during a break. “I like it because it’s a mental sport as well as physical. You have a make sure you’re focused on the log. And it’s a core workout.”
Brianna LaMere of Excelsior likes log rolling for the fun of it, but also the workout she gets. “It doesn’t feel like you’re working too hard until later, when you’re sitting in the car and your legs suddenly feel so tired.”
“It’s satisfying,” said Grace Roemig of Excelsior. “Once you can stay up, you keep getting better.” Callie Creech of Minnetonka goes to Minnetonka High School. “It’s a really fun competitive sport. I do soccer and track. This has really been good for my balance and focus.”
Drew Peterson of Hopkins was one of the adults at Wednesday’s class.
“I love it,” Peterson said. “It’s a workout, which is good for someone who’s older and likes bagels too much. And, I have to say, it’s good for my tuckus.”