MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you’re as passionate about your sport as William Hoeschler, you’ll do anything to see it succeed.
And Hoeschler’s sport is log rolling — he’s the reigning world champion. In fact, comes from a whole family of world champion log rollers — who want nothing more than to see their niche regional sport, become an Olympic sport.
“But no one did it. You know what I’m saying? It was just a small group of people in a small region that did it and if half of those people went to a wedding that weekend you could never put a tournament on. So we literally wanted to grow the sport,” Judy Hoeschler said.
But in their efforts to do that they ran into a road block. A quarter-ton road block.
“The weight. It’s impossible to have an international sport where your sporting equipment weighs 500 pounds,” Judy said.
“To get this log, in place, in thousands of swimming pools, is just not feasible. One of the biggest problems we discovered was, with an organic wood product, you have agricultural restrictions internationally.”
“That’s what happened when we tried to go to France. Customs wouldn’t allow,” William said.
“People say why don’t you just use European wood. It’s not the density of cedar. You need it to be very lightweight,” Judy said.
So this family of world champion log rollers started a family business.
“It came out of — Necessity is the mother of invention,” Judy said.
The Hoeschlers developed a synthetic log that weighs only 65 pounds, with a patented inner core of high-density foam, that, when filled with 50 gallons of water, weighs 400 pounds, and feels just like the real deal.
“It’s just a technological advancement. I mean, all sports have had them, log rolling never had one. I mean we literally have been rolling on wood logs with spike shoes for 125 years,” Judy said.
Their business is based in Golden Valley. The logs are manufactured in Winona.
In just the last six years, they’ve established more than 500 programs at colleges, parks and rec departments, summer camps, and rolling clubs in seven different countries.
The first-ever college championships will be held in 2019. With the Olympics, they hope, soon to follow.
Growing the sport internationally is a huge part of that pursuit, which is why Will is taking a trip to Europe next week to promote the sport, and his family’s invention.
“Try to drum up support for more and we’re just slowly getting this thing rolling. Pun intended,” Judy said.
“Pun intended. There’s always puns. We’re always doing puns,” William said.
“Our goal for creating this product was to become an Olympic sport. Not to sell a plastic log,” Judy said.
From the Northwoods to the Olympics? Just add water.