The AWFS Fair is almost here, as thousands of woodworking professionals gather in Las Vegas (July 24-27, 2013) to learn and retool to keep their businesses productive, competitive and on the cutting edge. But the fair is more than just work for attendees. Here are some activities taking place that can serve as a diversion, from awards and contests to…belt sander races.

Accuride’s Belt Sander Races
The BSRA National Championship Belt Sander Races take place Thursday, July 25, and feature an energized crowd – usually one thousand fans – and competitors racing belt sanders on a 75-foot wooden track.

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There are two racing classes, Stock and Modified. Winners in each class get trophies. TigerStop will present a SawGear System to be presented as Grand Prize for the fastest modified sander. “If my belt sander wins, I will donate my Tigerstop to a school affiliated with the Woodwork Career Alliance,” said Laurel Didier, VP and publisher of and of AWFS Fair TODAY!, the print show daily for AWFS Fair 2013. WCA ( is doing certifications at AWFS, booth #9657, (Contact Scott Nelson at A Crash & Smash Demolition Derby debuts this year, with sanders dashing into a post and falling to pieces.

AWFS Visionary Awards
Sixty-six woodworking products are entered in the Visionary Awards competition. Winners in five categories – Environmental, Ergonomics, Safety, Innovative Technology and Productivity – will be judged on creativity, quality and ingenuity. The awards will be given at a presentation on Friday, July 26, in the AWFS Theatre.

The Visionary Awards (formerly the Sequoia Awards) get a newly designed trophy, to be unveiled at the show. Entrants will be featured in the AWFS TODAY! publication.

Fresh Wood Student Competition
The 2013 Fresh Wood Student Competition provides a look the next generation of up-and-coming woodworkers. Students from high school and post-secondary woodworking programs in North America will have their construction and design projects on display at the show and the winners will be announced at an Award Ceremony at the Fresh Wood Display.

CMA Wood Diamond Awards
The Cabinet Makers Association Wood Diamond Awards will be announced in numerous categories, including kitchen, bath, furniture, closet, commercial/institutional, architectural millwork, store fixture and more. A solid cherry customized plaque will be awarded to 1st place winners at 11:00 am on Thursday morning, July 25, at CMA booth #9918.

WorldSkills Cabinet Qualifying Trials
AWFS invited the top scoring SkillsUSA national cabinetmaking champions to compete in the 2013 WorldSkills Cabinetmaking Qualifying Trial at the Fair. The contest determines which student will represent the United States at the 2015 WorldSkills Competition in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Competitors will work in a fully-functioning 1,600 square-foot cabinet shop at the show in booth #9251 building an advanced cabinet, which must include a door and a drawer box, handcut dovetail joinery, veneer, edgebanding, built-in drawer slides and hardware installation.

The winner will be announced Saturday, July 27 at 11:00 a.m. at the booth. The awards ceremony will be emceed by Tommy MacDonald from the PBS show “Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac.”

Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge
Veneer Technologies’ Craftsman’s Challenge Awards are given to projects that contain veneer material. Announced Thursday, the Grand Prize winner will receive $3000; other category winners will each receive $1000.

SawStop Panel Sweepstakes
Northwest Hardwoods will be giving away a standard model 10" SawStop Industrial Cabinet saw to the winner of a random drawing held on July 10. Entrants built an original cabinet using Alder hardwood.

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