via press release:
From mountaintop to river bottom, loggers risk life and limb for “Green Gold” – and the competition is fiercer than ever…
Original Hit Logging Series Returns for 5th Season Sunday, January 8 at 9PM ET on HISTORY(R)
New York – The AX MEN are back, and risking falling trees, bone-crushing equipment, human error, freak accidents, hungry predators, brutal forces of nature – and each other – in an all-new race to be “King of the Mountain.” Season five of the popular series premieres Sunday, January 8 at 9pm ET on HISTORY.
For generations, loggers have put their lives on the line every day to provide America with the timber it needs. But these AX MEN will do anything to claim “Green Gold” worth millions and live to tell the tale.
Last year’s champs, Papac Logging, are back on a remote Alaskan island to defend their title. But with an unruly crew and competition from all directions, Mike Papac knows that it’s easier to make it to the top than to stay there. In Washington, father-and-son team Gabe and Craig Rygaard return with a plan to double their production…but it may double their troubles as well. In Oregon, Levi Brown is forming his own company of young guns, but first he has to convince his investors that they have what it takes to play with the big boys. From Montana comes newcomers Siderius Logging – a group of opinionated and charismatic cowboys who want to show the world that they can beat the West Coast guys at their own game.
Down south, Shelby “Swamp Man” Stanga is back with a revolving crew of assistants – wife Donna, cousin Belinda and a guy named “The Hog Man” – proving that the only thing more unpredictable than a day in the swamp is a day with these characters. Way down upon the Suawanee River, the father-son team Jimmy and James Smith return to go another round with Patrick “Pond Bear” Swilley and rival, Uncle Buck.
For more than a hundred years, larger than life characters, many of whom are members of logging families who go back to the time when the West was being settled – have spent their days among towering trees and powerful machines and their nights in outposts far from the comforts of civilization. AX MEN details the history of the logging industry and tells how technology has transformed life for today’s logger, while the struggle of man versus nature stays the same.
The logging crews of season 5 of AX MEN include…
Big Gun Logging – Tired of working for “The Man,” some of Oregon’s most talented young loggers are ready go at it alone. The leader of this new outfit is one of season one’s youngest stars, Levi Brown. The former Army soldier is trying to get his own logging company off the ground. He recruited a crew that’s big on character but low in experience: his brother Luke, loudmouthed yarder operator Stacey Roberson, and a team of new greenhorns. Levi is seeking backing from his former boss, logging giant Mike Pihl. It’s a gamble that could cost Mike everything. Meanwhile, Big Gun is investing their savings, reputations and futures – in the longest shot in AX MEN history
Papac Logging – As last season’s champion, Papac will have to defend its title against both youth and experience. This season Papac is back on remote Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, home to some of the biggest wood in the world and some of the toughest terrain in North America. Company owner Mike Papac is sitting on a mountain full of green gold, but with a crew as unruly as the terrain and a team filled with egos bigger than the logs they’re chopping, the Papac train may be derailed at any time.
Rygaard Logging – Broken equipment, falling trees, blow-ups with employees, and other obstacles…Rygaard has seen it all and survived by being lean and mean. But last season, they lost to newcomers Papac Logging, and the father-son owners Craig and Gabe are obsessed with taking down Papac. They have a plan: they will divide their crew in two – two teams working side-by-side, two site bosses each running things their way, two groups competing with each other to move the most wood. With two yarders running simultaneously, Rygaard might just have enough firepower to beat Papac’s mega-logging operation. But it could also mean twice the meltdowns, twice the accidents, twice the chaos. It’s the biggest gamble they’ve ever undertaken.
Shelby “Swamp Man” Stanga – This gun toting, gator-eating, and swamp-water-drinking logger destroyed his most important piece of equipment last season. Determined to get his operation back on its feet, he’s enlisted some of the most colorful characters in the swamp: “Cajun Leprechaun” Davie, Tracy “Hog Man” Hickman, cousin Kelly, swamp girl Cheyenne, and even sometimes-estranged wife Donna Stanga. And of course, his pal Piss Willy. Shelby is working for a buyer who wants a laundry list of logs. If he can find the buried treasure, he’ll be swimming in cash. But first he has to contend with snakes, alligators, leeches, swamp rats, mechanical difficulties, and issues with his revolving cast of assistants.
Siderius Logging – Half loggers, half schoolyard bullies, Siderius Logging is a team of young cowboys who just might have a shot at competing with the big boys…IF they can keep their mouths shut long enough to pull a log to the landing. Dan Siderius started the company just three years ago. Still struggling to find its way, Siderius Logging is an outfit with a lot to prove and the egos to do it: over-talkative yarder operator Josh Fite, rigging slinger Travis Reynolds, hook tender Drew Koffler, and greenhorn Jesse Kelleher. The crew is as lean and mean as they come. New country…new crew…and plenty of personality to spare…the team is out to prove that they can hang with the big boys and maybe even show the competition that they’re the ones to beat.
S & S Aqua Logging – Last season’s log-off ended in an unexpected twist when the colorful father-son team of Jimmy and James of S & S Logging pulled the upset over rival Joe Collins. This season, they’re striking out on a piece of the Suwannee River they’ve picked out all for themselves. But when they get there, they realize they’re not alone. Local logger “Uncle Buck” Livingston has already taken up camp on this part of the river, and he’s recruited Patrick “Pond Bear” Swilley as his ace diver. Jimmy and Buck strike a deal – whoever pulls the most logs at the end of the season gets to stay while the loser has to move on. To make it more interesting, the winner takes the loser’s boat.
Ax Men averaged 2.8 million total viewers and 1.6 million Adults 25-54 in its fourth season. This is a +33% increase vs. season 1 among Adults 25-54 (1.2 million) and a +47% increase among total viewers (1.9 million).
AX MEN is produced for HISTORY by Original Productions. Executive producer for HISTORY is Russ McCarroll. Executive producers for Original Productions are Thom Beers, Philip D. Segal, Jeff Conroy and Sarah Whalen.
HISTORY(R) and HISTORY(R) HD are the leading destinations for revealing, award-winning original non-fiction series and event specials that connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. Programming covers a diverse variety of historical genres ranging from military history to contemporary history, technology to natural history, as well as science, archaeology and pop culture. Among the network’s program offerings are hit series such as American Pickers, Ax Men, American Restoration, Ice Road Truckers, Top Gear, Pawn Stars and Top Shot, as well as acclaimed specials including Vietnam in HD, Gettysburg, America the Story of Us, WWII in HD, 102 Minutes That Changed America. HISTORY has earned four Peabody Awards, eleven Primetime Emmy(R) Awards, 12 News & Documentary Emmy(R) Awards and received the prestigious Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network’s Save Our History(R) campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. Take a Veteran to School Day is the network’s signature initiative connecting America’s schools and communities with veterans from all wars. The HISTORY website, located at http://www.history.com, is the leading online resource for all things history, featuring over 20,000 videos, images, audio clips, articles and interactive features that allow visitors to dig deeper into a broad range of thousands of historical topics.