Tug of War team from Elder Logging

All Sooke Day meant Tug of War

Historian Elida Peers writes historical stories about Sooke and region

We don’t see this today, but there was an era when Sooke thrilled to the Tug of War Contests at All Sooke Day on the Flats.

In 1940, this team of husky loggers worked for Elder Logging Company at Muir Creek, one of the major employers of the day. The Elders had come to town in the 1930s and their forestry operations had a big economic impact for two decades.

At rear:  Dadie Michelsen, Andy Davidson, Ed Robinson, Horace Arthurs, Albert Robinson, Bill Duggan, Paul Michelsen.

Front: Charlie Davidson, patriarch Ed Elder, Bob Dods, Max Elder, team coach Harry Vogel holding youngster Howard Elder, the son of Dal Elder at far right. The Robinsons, Davidsons and Michelsens were all connected to the pioneer Joseph Poirier family.

Several of these men were fallers, harvesting the timber in the Muir and Tugwell watersheds. In the 1950s after Elder Logging was sold to Moore-Whittington, their crews were able to continue working with the new owners for some time.

Cherished grandson in this photo, Howard Elder grew up to graduate from UBC with a degree in Forestry Engineering and eventually headed the CANFOR camp at Woss Lake, said to be the largest logging camp in B.C. at the time.

Horace Arthurs, who in his retirement years constructed many of the logging models at the Sooke Region Museum, was often the team’s anchor. He recalled, “We had to train six weeks ahead of time plus it took a good coach to coach a team properly… We competed against Army, Navy, Firemen, you name it.”

Ed Robinson chuckled, “It was tough on the hands… I remember once we pulled for 20 minutes before we beat them, and I had a piece worn out of my hand … a team from up around Duncan there – they all weighed about a ton apiece.  We held on and rocked them a little and we finally beat ‘em.”

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum