Bring on the Heavies!
In their original form, many centuries ago, Highland games revolved around athletic and sports competitions. Though other activities were always a part of the festivities, many today still consider Highland athletics to be a signature part of the games. Although running and other sports are sometimes included, the HEAVY EVENTS are considered most recognizable.
The Tacoma games are the home of the Washington State Championship. Competitors are both men and women from their twenties through their sixties and include all sized frames from small to large. Athletes come from all walks of life including fire fighters, ex-military, physician's assistants, doctors, educators, sports and fitness professionals, trades people and IT professionals, who share a love for the competition and their personal best. Each athlete at the Tacoma games is looking to throw further, higher and more accurately than they have before.
Caber Toss: This is the premier Scottish event. The competitor or “tosser” must “pick” a caber, run and toss it so as to flip it end over end and land straight out from him/her at a 12 o'clock position. The Caber is tossed for accuracy not distance. The judge scores it just as the caber hits the ground. A side judge will sometimes be used to determine if the caber rotated thru 90 degrees, if no its a “Fifer” and judge will sometimes be used to determine if the caber rotated thru 90 degrees, if no its a “Fifer” and not counted. The Caber size is chosen by skill of the class. Elite class cabers can be 18’ to 20’ and 100+ pounds.
Weight For Distance: This event entails hurling a 14, 28, 42 or 56 lb. weight (depending on class) as far as possible while maintaining control behind a trig. The athlete spins to gain momentum on the weight then releases it. Three attempts are given to each athlete to record their longest throw.
The Sheaf: This event derives from the ancient farming traditions of Scotland. It is believed to be a newer part of formal highland games, has been made much more popular in the US than in Scotland but is well established as a worthy part of Scottish heritage and a traditional event.
It grew out of a competition to see who could toss a sheaf of wheat highest, into a barn, over a neighbors hedgerow, etc. Today we use a 10, 16 or 20 lb. burlap bag weighted with typically balls of twine and burlap tightly compacted. A modified pitch fork is used to stick, swing and toss the sheaf over a height standard. Athletes over time have customized, named and spent a lot of time and money on their sheaf forks. The sheaf must pass over the horizontal bar and competitors get 3 attempts at a height before they are eliminated. The highest tosser wins In the event of a tie for height, the one with the fewest misses wins. Heights begin at between 12 and 16 feet and go over 30 feet for the winner in the elite classes. A crowd favorite!
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