The Bennett family business is on the chopping block, which is just where founder Simon Bennett likes it.
Wood Monster, which supplies woodchopping machinery and firewood, is a perfect fit for Simon’s skillset and family history.
Based in the small town of Majors Creek in the NSW Southern Tablelands, the family operation incorporates a strong passion for woodchopping and all things firewood.
Simon’s father, Len, now 81, is a retired 1975 world champion woodchopper, and Simon represented New South Wales for 15 years, captaining his state four times in competitions against New Zealand.
Two of his three children, Madii, 27, and Curtis, 21, are rising stars in the popular sport. Simon’s wife Simone and their other daughter, Dakota, 25, don’t compete but support those who do.
When they’re not competing at Royal Shows around Australia and in New Zealand, the family runs Wood Monster, which Simon established this year after more than 20 years working on his own.
Wood Monster specialises in wood chop block trimming machines, associated equipment, and firewood.
Simon has used DEUTZ engines in wood processing machines for more than 20 years and will continue to do so as he expands the firewood production arm.
“I’ve always been fascinated with DEUTZ engines,” he says. “I like the simplicity of them. They’ve been terrific. I like the 912 series. It just suits what I do.”
The Bennett family usually spends up to eight months on the road competing, which stopped during the pandemic. Competitions have begun to restart this year.
Curtis, who took up woodchopping at 13 and first represented Australia at 16, is the reigning Australian Under-21 national champion.
Now 21, he won three events at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show: the 325 mm first division standing block, the 325mm Open underhand and 500mm double handed cross-cut sawing event.
At 6’ 5” (196 cm) and 150 kg, Curtis is a formidable opponent, especially with Len as his coach. “He’s got a long family tradition which has helped,” Simon says.
“We’re fortunate that we can spend the time that it takes to travel to all these places. Hopefully that gets back to normal in the not-too-distant future.”
Madii is accomplished in cross-cut sawing and woodchopping, having represented Australia several times. She sometimes competes against – and has been known to beat – men.
“She certainly competes against the men in the handicap division in the open class,” Simon says.
Woodchopping is growing in popularity and Simon, who is President of the Australia Axemen’s Association, sees big events attract millions of views on Facebook.
He loves working with DEUTZ, which has been incredibly supportive of his ventures through Business Development Manager – Engine Sales, Ross Harman.
The set up allows the family to travel on weekends after several intense days running the business during the week.
“We’ve designed our lives around our sport,” Simon says.