Danny Sailor, Logger Legend

Danny Sailor became the World Champion Logger in 1962, wearing Dayton Boots. Sailor’s act consisted of racing up a 100 foot high fir tree, doing handstands, headstands, and sometimes the Charleston, without the benefit of a safety net.

“I put a 12-pound weight on each foot when I’m practicing,” explained Sailor, “and when I take them off I feel like I’m flying”.

Like so many Dayton wearers, Sailor was unconventional. A prairie boy who came west to British Columbia, Danny:

  • was a strict vegetarian
  • had a soft spot for the Dukabours – once allowing 1,300 of them to camp on his Surrey farm - while delivering them 500 loaves of bread
  • stayed up a pole for 28 days in 1959 to help raise money for the poor
  • was fined $25 for a missing mudguard on his truck. He was broke, so he agreed to spend five days in Oakalla Prison. Word of his imprisonment leaked out - and the fine was quickly paid by an anonymous fan.

By 1968, Sailor was making $30,000 a year, touring U.S. cities with his highflying act. His winning footwear became a source of much curiosity and the Dayton Boot Company began receiving orders from U.S. loggers. Sailor won a total of 35 logging trophies, wearing Dayton Boots. In his signature move, he would climb to the top of a 120-foot pole, do a jig, throw his tin hat in the air – and then beat it in a race to the ground.

Danny Sailor, a Dayton original.

Danny Sailor c/o Vancouver Public Library ArchivesDanny Sailor and Daytons

11 comments

I was on the road with Danny in 1969 with his nefew Johnny Pringle doing the sports show curcuit. We did a double act in Memphis with two poles. He was close with a buck, liked to shop in dollar stores. His bargen hunting also applied to professional women. That said, he could also be very generous. Last time I saw him was 1980 when he invited me on a free trip to Porto Viarta. We met where else but the bargan floor of Woodwards in Vancouver.I could’nt make it then and so we settled for a beer and conversation. If he is still alive he would be in his 90"s. At that time he said he’d just sold his property in Surrey for 1.7 million and that he had a business in Mexico.

wm(bill)small January 29, 2018

I am 67 now and still can see Danny up the pole. my Dad and I thought he was and is the best guy ever up a pole. God Bless You Danny

Wayne Lind December 28, 2017

I worked for Danny Sailor at his place in surrey . He paid me for pulling nails out of all the used lumber he had . He let me drive his trucks around in the back forty , showed me pics of circus girls and fed me . That was back in the 70’s when I was a teenager , I always felt like I was around a legend , never forgot him , never will .
Thankyou Danny Sailor

Raymond Jones November 01, 2017

I also saw Danny in Nelson at the fair held behind the Civic Centre. I don’t recall if it was late fifties or early sixties but he did his jig at top and raced his hat to the bottom. Amazing feat – I got his autograph.

terry vulcano August 12, 2017

I just saw, for the first time an installment of the Hollywood Palace from October 8, 1966 and was blown away by Danny Sailor’s performance. I have Googled him and cannot find out what became of him. Your boot company popped up as he did ads for Dayton. Is there anyone with access to info as to what happened to him?

Greg Brock April 25, 2017

In 1955 I worked with Danny at Ketchikan Pulp logging operations in Alaska. In fact I shared a two man room with him on the floating logging camp at Neets Bay. He was second rigger and as second second rigger I learned how to climb from him. He was one of a kind, an athlete as well as a logger and dedicated to excelling at speed climbing and rigging spar trees. He would always wear weights on his ankles when rigging tail trees or practicing speed climbing which he did whenever he had some spare time. He would often stand on his head on a nearby stump – practicing for the same feat later performed on top of a spar tree 100 plus in the air. He adhered to a strict diet and was anxious to tell anybody about how to stay healthy. Danny would eat only fruit and vegetables, drink no water and eat no meat. It must have worked for him as he was a picture of health. He carried around a flat jar of honey from which he would take a swig whenever he needed extra energy, such as before a practice speed climb. He claimed if you were in perfect shape you wouldn’t sweat and would not need toilet paper! He gave deer and wild animals as evidence. Well that was Danny – maybe a little odd but an all around great guy!

Ron Berge March 11, 2017

In 1955 I worked with Danny at Ketchikan Pulp logging operations in Alaska. In fact I shared a two man room with him on the floating logging camp

Ron Berge March 11, 2017

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Cameron November 11, 2016

I met Danny at A sports man show in Cleveland , Ohio , circa mid sixties and never forgot him. Danny did his beat the hat to the ground feat. I got A pair of old Bashlin climbing irons , somewhat crude by today’s standards, and learned first hand the effort involved in just slowly climbing A tree. Hats off to Danny Sailor !

mike morley October 21, 2016

I watch Danny,s performance when I was just a young boy back in Nelson, BC in the late fifties. He did a jig on top of the pole and he beat his hat to the ground, it was amazing!!! Great act!

Ron Livingston September 01, 2016

Here is a 1966 performance by Danny Sailor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yNzPjPOOfU (at about the 49:15 mark)

doug May 29, 2016

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