Emily Matthiessen / Olympic Peninsula News Group
The Sequim Logging Show, seen in May 2023, will operate next year as its own nonprofit organization to seek insurance coverage separate from the Sequim Irrigation Festival. Organizers of both the festival and show say it was a pragmatic decision and is similar to what the festival did in late 2017 after leaving the umbrella of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Emily Matthiessen / Olympic Peninsula News Group The Sequim Logging Show, seen in May 2023, will operate next year as its own nonprofit organization to seek insurance coverage separate from the Sequim Irrigation Festival. Organizers of both the festival and show say it was a pragmatic decision and is similar to what the festival did in late 2017 after leaving the umbrella of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Logging Show to be separate from festival

New nonprofit formed, but event will continue

SEQUIM — Just as the Sequim Irrigation Festival did in late 2017, the Logging Show is branching off on its own — for insurance reasons.

Festival board members voted in June to allow the Logging Show, running in this capacity since 1987, to become its own 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.

Former festival executive director Deon Kapetan said blending the festival and Logging Show’s insurances has been complex.

“It’s a big enough entity now that it makes sense,” she said of the new entity.

“It’s similar to what the festival did [in December 2017] with the [Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit] for insurance reasons.

“We were a huge liability to the chamber. With doing this, they can obtain the right type of insurance.”

Logging Show co-director Shellie Torrence said the show has grown out of the festival’s umbrella and no longer fits its insurance mold.

“It’s not a derogatory or negative thing,” she said. “We’ve spread out.”

Both festival and Logging Show volunteer leaders say the show’s nonprofit status is anticipated to be finalized by the end of the year and it should be seamless.

“There won’t be any changes and the public probably won’t even know there’s a difference,” Torrence said.

New festival executive director Vickie Maples said her understanding is that the festival originally joined the Chamber of Commerce to be covered by its insurance.

“When it worked to get their own insurance, then the festival separated from the chamber,” she said.

“Now the logging show is able to get their own insurance.”

New nonprofit

The Logging Show has operated from the Blake Property south of Trinity United Methodist Church and Carrie Blake Community Park since 1987.

Co-director Dave Bekkevar said it’ll continue in the same space offering arena events, truck and tractor pulls and historical equipment displays, with new events likely to be added.

Loggers from across the region compete in events such as relay races, hot saws and spar poles. They added a fireworks show about 15 years ago, and they have a Logger’s Ball, too.

“There’ve been a lot of wonderful times and people,” Bekkevar said of his years organizing the event. “It’s fun to watch them have fun.”

For the nonprofit, its three-person board of volunteer directors will feature Torrence, Bekkevar and his daughter-in-law Jocelynn Bekkevar.

“We’ve got some younger blood taking this over,” Dave Bekkevar said. “We don’t want (the show) to go away, because it has historical value for this area.”

Torrence said it’ll operate with its own funds once the nonprofit is approved by the Internal Revenue Service and the festival transfers some seed money to help with 2024’s events.

Logging Show organizers say about $30,000 a year is needed for operations, including about $11,500 for fireworks this year, and other miscellaneous expenses such as an emcee, band, bleachers, portable toilets, permits, insurance and more.

Sponsors and donations remain strong, organizers said, and they plan to continue the event at no charge for entry so anyone can come, especially families.

Trish Bekkevar, Dave’s wife and a show volunteer, said they have two volunteer meetings a year before the show and in the fall to discuss logistics and what they’d like to do differently.

This year a display was added that showed the historical transition of logging from the past to present.

“The history of the whole thing is what we want to keep,” Trish Bekkevar said.

“From not using machinery to cross cut to what we’re using today so people can see how clean and efficient they are.

“They’re not just slamming and banging and leaving a mess.”

Looking ahead to the event on May 10-11, 2024, the Bekkevars say they always need volunteer help parking cars alongside Boy Scouts, FFA students and other individuals.

“Our community really steps up,” Trish Bekkevar said.

“We couldn’t do this without our community and our volunteers. No one gets paid for this. We’re just doing this for the community.”

Like the Irrigation Festival, Kapetan said it’s “very rare to have 100 percent volunteers in this day and age.”

To get involved with the Sequim Logging Show, organizers encourage people to message the event’s Facebook page under “Sequim Irrigation Festival Logging Show.”

Festival organizers say they continue to seek a volunteer coordinator. For more information about volunteering or the festival, visit irrigationfestival.com or facebook.com/sequimirrigationfestival.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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