By Mark MacDonald
SOOKE – Ready, set, action! Again!
Big Timber, the reality TV series featuring the Wenstob family and their Wenstob Timber Resources logging/milling operation, has been renewed for a third season on the History Channel, with its premier slated for Thursday, September 29.
Big Timber follows the dangerous work of logger and sawmill owner Kevin Wenstob, his wife Sarah and their crew go to extremes to keep the family sawmill, and their way of life, alive.
Sarah said they were told the History Channel wanted a third season during the second season, and Kevin confirms that solid ratings led to the renewal.
“It’s all about the ratings,” he states. “People really like the show, and every episode they keep coming back. Season one, we were coming out of the box, season two we were finding our groove, and season three is really good entertainment. Episode one of season three is an awesome show.”
Wenstob Timber Resources is a family business in every sense of the word, created by Kevin and Sarah after they met in their early 20’s. Sarah, an operating room nurse for two decades, is the unofficial company organizer, keeping the firm on track. Two sons, Erik and Jack Wenstob, also work in the business, and Jack is also Sarah’s personal trainer.
Western Red Cedar is their fiber of choice, and the mill and harvesting operations employs 14 workers.
Adds Sarah: “The first episode is season three in a nutshell, and it tells a great story. I like watching it, but I’m in it, too. The show is about genuine people, with Kevin and I and the team you have to take the good times with the bad times, and I think people out there really respect that this is what we do, day in and day out.”
A promotional piece announcing the renewal states: “This year, Kevin’s spending the million dollars he has saved in the bank to build a huge new saw at the mill, expand his dock at Hook Bay and – with deadly surges and rocky reefs putting his fragile boats at risk – create a brand new experimental log salvaging boat to replace the Power Wagon.
Faced with heavy snowstorms, perilous monsoon-like rains, and deadly rocky shores he’s forced to log salvage far up the Pacific coast, to areas he’s never been before.
Even Kevin’s not sure if it will all be worth it. . .”
Sarah believes the show has made a positive contribution to the company.
“Our customer baser has opened up,” she notes. “Mainly in the Victoria we can help customers out with timber and lumber needs. Worldwide, we’ve had a lot of contact, and we’re sending cedar to the United Kingdom now. We can just keep up with the demand that we have now, and a lot of our season three is about increasing production.
“Because of the TV show, we’ve had inquiries about people wanting to purchase large volumes of wood. The market is there, and all the pieces are coming together, but we’re at a bottleneck because we don’t have the capacity to supply. That’s what we’re working on now, and we’re getting new equipment to make that happen.”
Kevin is recognized regularly in Port Alberni, as the company harvests timber from the region and is there regularly. Not as much in Sooke, where they’ve been part of the social fabric for many years.
Wenstob Timber has become a bit of a tourist attraction as well.
“Since season two has come out, it’s worldwide. We have groups coming from all over, from Australia, New Zealand, Wales, England, Ireland,” says Kevin. “That has been a huge eye-opener, that people traveling go to Jasper, then Vancouver, and come to Vancouver Island to see Big Timber. The fact that travelers end up showing at our office door is amazing.
Sarah has had T-shirts made, which visitors are snapping up.
“We sell a lot of T-shirts,” she says. “I never thought we’d be selling T-shirts, but people who stop by the office see them and buy them. They’re a popular item.”