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Fischers have success at Great Outdoor Games

The Fischer family of the town of St. Joseph returned Monday from ESPN's Great Outdoor Games in Lakeland, Fla., with prize money in their pockets and tales to tell of Hurricane Dennis.

Forty-three-year-old Chris Fischer, his daughter, Tanya, and son, Tyler, qualified to compete in timber events of the annual Outdoor Games sponsored by the cable TV sports network. They were joined by nephew and cousin Jamie Fischer of Stillwater, Minn., a log-rolling instructor at St. Croix Valley YMCA in Hudson.

Jamie was the most successful competitor of the clan, winning the gold medal in the boom run and taking silver in the log rolling. He pocketed $10,000 for the first-place finish and $3,500 for the second-place.

Jamie gained his top prize, however, following the championship log-rolling match, when he dropped to one knee in front of the TV cameras and asked his girlfriend, Jill O'Brien, to marry him. Luckily for him, she accepted the engagement ring and his proposal.

"Even though I don't have the gold medal, I have the gold of my life. I couldn't be happier," Jamie was quoted as saying on ESPN's Web site.

Jamie's winning run for the gold in the boom run came against his 16-year-old cousin, Tyler.

ESPN reports that the cousins were neck-and-neck three-quarters of the way through the race when Tyler stumbled slightly and had to catch his balance, allowing Jamie to cruise to victory.

The boom run is a sprint across a pond and back on top of spinning logs that are chained end to end.

"I slipped a little bit on a knot in that log, and that's all it took," Tyler was quoted as saying.

His disappointment was eased by a $3,500 pay-out for second place.

Jamie's mother, Laura Fischer, reported Monday that he was talking about getting a car. "You know, he's 16," she said. "They're into their cars."

Tyler will be a junior at Hudson High School when classes resume. He's a member of the varsity hockey team.

Laura said Tyler had the fastest boom run of the competitors, but couldn't equal the time in the head-to-head match with his cousin.

"He was right there with him," Laura said. "That's the closest anybody has ever been to Jamie running. Usually, when Jamie has won he's been a couple of logs out ahead. I think Tyler is going to get him in a couple of years. Or maybe next year. Or maybe this year."

They'll face each other again this weekend at the Minneapolis Aquatennial games, and the following weekend at the World Lumberjack Championships at Hayward.

Chris Fischer was happy to have been invited to ESPN's Great Outdoor Games. The games are limited to the top-eight ranked competitors worldwide in each event.

Chris placed seventh in the log rolling.

Tanya, who will be a junior at St. Cloud State University, finished seventh in the women's boom run.

The boom run competition was about to begin Saturday afternoon when the event venue was evacuated because of reports of tornados spinning off from Hurricane Dennis.

"It was real tense. We've never had an experience like that before," said Laura Fischer.

The rifle venue had to be closed because it was flooded by a foot of water infested with poisonous snakes.

Chris and Laura Fischer operate a furniture refinishing shop (Fischer's Furniture Restoration) at their place on Appalousa Court in the town of St. Joseph. They also have a pond where family members and friends practice log rolling and the boom run.

You can watch the women's boom run on ABC-TV Saturday, July 16 between 2:30 and 4 p.m. The men's log rolling will air on ABC-TV Sunday, July 17 between 1:30 and 3 p.m. The men's boom run is scheduled to be shown on ESPN Sunday between 3 and 5:30 p.m.

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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