Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival
September 15 - 16, 2018

Event Rules

Each event held at the Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest has rules. Below are a list of events and their rules. Some are more complex than others, but you will find that each event has a fair standard of determining the winner.

Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest 

  1. All participants must furnish their own tools.
  2. All wedges must have a smooth top and all rough edges must be trimmed.  They will be checked by the judges. 
  3. The committee has the right to reject any unsafe tool.
  4. All logs will be drawn by lot.
  5. If 50% of the splitters reject a log it will be replaced if other logs are available.
  6. There will be a meeting of all splitters before each class where rules and regulations will be explained.
  7. Each splitter will be timed with an official stop watch, and the time will be recorded by the official time keepers.
  8. Each splitter will sign his name and class in a bound book.
  9. The entry fee will be set by the Logan Railsplitting Association.
  10. A committee of five members will make all decisions pertaining to the Railsplitting contest.
  11. This same committee will grade and select logs prior to 10 AM on Saturday morning.
  12. When the splitter finishes his log or calls time he must go to a designated area and await the judges decisions.
  13. All rails will be separated, and the heart side turned up before time is called.
  14. All tools and wedges must be removed from the logs or rails before calling time, or a time penalty will be placed against the contestant.  Ten seconds for each tool left in the log or rail.
  15. There will be three (3) judges with one of the three serving as the Chief Judge and each one will receive a set of rules.
  16. Each contestant will receive a set of Railsplitting rules upon signing the entry form, paying the required fee, and completing the waiver of liability.
  17. The logs will be drawn one hour before the contest is scheduled to begin.
  18. The Junior Class is for ages 14-18.  Proof of age must be shown.
  19. The Amateur Class may be any person who has never split in the Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest Professional Class, and must be 18 years of age or older.
  20. The Professional Class is any person who signs the bound register as a professional splitter, due to the monies placed on Win, Place or Show in this class, and will be bound to this class henceforth.
  21. The quality of the rails will be left to the discretion of the Judges.  A rail is a portion of the log which shows saw marks on both ends.
  22. The Junior Class will split six rails.  The Amateur Class will split six rails.  The Professional Class will split eight rails.
  23. Time and quality will be of equal value in the judging of the rails.
  24. The decisions of the judges will be final.
  25. All rails shall remain the property of the Logan Railsplitting Association.
  26. Protective footwear shall be worn: No sandals, tennis, or canvas footwear will be allowed.


Dean Tibbs Tomahawk Throw

  1. The throwing line will be no more than 12 feet away from the base of the target block.
  2. Each contestant, upon request may have up to two practice throws before their turn officially begins.
  3. Five throws are allowed for each contestant.
  4. No contestant may step over the throwing line while throwing their tomahawk.
  5. The contestant with the most points at the end of the competition is the winner.
  6. In case of a tie, the tied competitors will have one throw: If it is clear through points who is the winner, that person has won.  If the competitors all score the same point value with their final throw, the following will be used to determine the results.
    • Tomahawk is stuck in the block, but did not cut the card: A measurement of the distance between the blade and the card is the determining factor.  The tomahawk closest to the card wins.
    • Tomahawk has cut into the card: The tomahawk that has cut into the card the furthest will be the winner.
    • Tomahawk has cut the card in half: The tied competitors receive one more throw to determine the winner, using the scoring below or the tie rules above.
  7. All tomahawks are subject to approval.  Only tomahawks are allowed to be thrown, axes will not be allowed.


  1. A throw that misses the block or sticks into any part of the stand counts as zero (0) points. 
  2. A throw that sticks into the block, but does not cut the card in any way is worth one (1) point. 
  3. A throw that sticks into the block and cuts into the card is worth three (3) points. 
  4. A throw that sticks into the block and cuts the card in half is worth five (5) points.


Target Block (Block)
Circle of wood that the competitors aim towards.

Target Card (Card)
A normal playing card pinned or stapled to the block which is the target goal of the competitors.

Target Stand (Stand)
The support base for the target block, usually made of wood.

Throwing Line (Line)
A line drawn 12 feet back from the target stand which the competitors throw from.

Tomahawk (Hawk)
A small, balanced, hand axe designed for throwing in competition. They are usually designed to be aerodynamic and to spin one time before hitting the block.


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