THE Mid Wales Axe Racing Club whose members compete against top axemen from countries around the world, will demonstrate their spectacular skills at this year’s Royal Welsh Spring Festival.

The popular Mid Wales team – known as The Welsh Axemen – includes past or present British and world title holders, and was formed more than 30 years ago following a visit by an Australian touring club to the Royal Welsh Show in 1976.

Since then the club members have become global travellers in the sport competing in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and in countries across Europe, demonstrating their adroitness with razor-sharp axes and high-shield chainsaws.

Visitors to the festival which takes place at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, over the weekend of May 21 and May 22, can watch the lumberjacks in action in the showground’s cattle ring.

They will perform two 30 minute displays including ingeniously carving articles from blocks of wood using only a chainsaw, cutting through vertical and horizontal timber in either the quickest time with a chainsaw or the minimum number of blows with an axe, and a man-versus-machine contest between an old fashioned two-man cross-cut saw and a modern chainsaw operator.

One of the most thrilling spectacles of the performance is the tree climb where the axemen scale a 12 foot pole by notching the pole with an axe and inserting foot boards on which to stand to reach the next cut higher up, repeating the process until the top of the pole is reached.

The festival will also provide fans of magnificent Shire horses with the opportunity to see them close up at the Spring Festival when the famous Waldburg Shires appear at the event for the first time.

A team of Waldburg Shires pull the Lord Mayor’s gold State Coach through the City of London from the Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice every November at the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Six of these majestic animals will perform in the main arena at the Festival in a specially choreographed musical ride set to foot-tapping tunes.

The Waldburg Shires are based in Cambridgeshire and give displays using an array of traditional and modern horse-drawn vehicles and ridden demonstrations at shows throughout the country.