Virginia Scottish Games - September 2 & 3, 2017


Athletics

(Masters, Women's, and Open Athletics Registration is now closed)
For more info on Athletics, please visit the MASA website

Would you like to sponsor a trophy or flight of medals?

Trophy Sponsorship $80
(Trophy chair will follow up by e-mail regarding choice of trophies)

 

 

Medal Sponsorship $30
(Trophy chair will follow up by e-mail regarding choice of events)

- Includes Gold, Silver and Bronze for one event

 

 

Event Preferred

In Memory or Honor of

Trophy Desired

In Memory or Honor of

Event Desired

CARRYING ON THE HIGHLAND TRADITION

By Mike Wills

For a thousand years they have battled.  From the days of the medieval Scottish kings, they have gathered to test their strength on the field of honor.  Competing in one of the world's most ancient sports, they are at the same time world-class athletes…and links to the distant past.  They are respected as husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, farmers, business people, soldiers, and world-class strength athletes.  They have trained thousands of hours and competed all along the East Coast to earn their spot here today.  But, by nightfall, only one can claim his place in history as the 2008 East Coast Amateur Champion. 

Only one.  But, that is only half the story. 

The fact is this:  Nearly 80% of the families that call the Appalachian Mountains their home can trace their heritage directly to Scotland and Ireland.  When tens of thousands fled Scotland and Ireland during the 1700s - due to the Scottish Highland Clearances after the final collapse of the Jacobite cause, and the economic and religious pressures visited upon the Irish through the Ulster Plantation process - nearly all followed a similar emigration path to the colonies.  First to the shores of Virginia, then westward, finally settling in and spreading throughout the mountains that dominate present-day western Virginia, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and northern Kentucky. 

Why did they keep moving beyond the flat and fertile lands along the coast?  The British came to the shores of Virginia too, and they had claimed much of the desired land.  When they inevitably moved westward, the British could not farm the mountainsides.  They needed flat land!  So, the Highlanders found their new home in an area that seemed harsh and inhospitable to most.  The mountains reminded them of the home they had left behind, and the Appalachians became the new Scotland in America.

Time marched onward, and quickly we forgot. 

The athletes, pipers, musicians, singers, genealogists, and vendors gathering at Great Meadow are all living reminders.  They remind us of those who fought, died, persevered, and started over to secure our right to live in freedom and dignity.  More than that, they represent the link between common struggles faced by both the ancient Highlanders and today's proud Virginians.  You see, the original Highland Games participants were commoners, preparing themselves for battle when they had been stripped of their weapons, but not their pride.  They did not seek glory.  Fighting without protest, they found death a more palatable choice than forced servitude.

Now, it is time for us to remember.  This is who we are.  We are the descendants of Scotland.  We are proud and free.  And today we celebrate our heritage…many for the first time.  So on this day in history, the greatest amateur Highland Games athletes from around the country - each and every one a champion already – will descend upon Great Meadow.  The prize is a place in the thousand-year lineage of warrior champions.  You are invited to be a part of this opportunity to celebrate the rich Scots-Irish heritage of Virginia and the Appalachians, experience championship competition at a global level and enveloped in a Millennium of cultural heritage, and learn about your ancestry while enjoying traditional Scottish hospitality at its finest.

Neart agus urram.  Strength and honor.

The Events:

Braemar Stone Toss

The Braemar Stone Toss is named for the ancient festival held in Braemar, Scotland, that requires that a heavy stone be put from a standing position, creating a test that relies as much on strength as technique.  The Braemar stone, weighing between 22 and 28 pounds, is thrown from a stand.  The athlete cannot use a run-up approach or spin; instead, both feet must remain stationary until the stone is released.  The athlete must not go past the wooden trig (a toe board that marks the backline and frontline) or touch the ground with any part of his body other than his feet.

Open Stone Toss

Rob Hamelin - Stone Toss

The "clachneart," or stone toss, is one of the world's most ancient tests of strength.  The challenge has always been simple: See who can throw a sizeable creek stone the farthest.  The Open Stone Toss developed into today's track and field shot put event.  The Open Stone Toss allows a run-up or spinning approach, with the stone usually weighing between 16 and 18 pounds.  The contestant must keep at least one foot within the sidelines of the 4'6" wide and 7'6" deep throwing box at all times.  The trig cannot be crossed at any time during the throw.

Heavy Weight Toss

Kearney Smith - Heavy Weight Toss 

In Scotland, the traditional measure of weight is a "stone," which equals 14 pounds.  Block weights weighing two stones (28 lbs.) and four stones (56 lbs.) were used to balance scales for measuring grain.  These weights were thrown by locals gathering around the grain store to determine who was the strongest man in the village.  The contestant must keep at least one foot within the sidelines of the 4'6" wide and 9' deep throwing box at all times.  The backline and frontline - marked by the toe board called a "trig" - cannot be crossed at any time during the throw.

Light Weight Toss

John Odden - Light Weight for Distance 

Drawing from the same roots as the Heavy Weight, the two-stone Light Weight is 28 pounds and was originally used to measure out grain.  The modern track and field 35 lb. weight throw is derived from Highland Games weight tosses. The contestant must keep at least one foot within the sidelines of the 4'6" wide and 9' deep throwing box at all times.  The trig cannot be crossed at any time during the throw.

Heavy Hammer Throw

 Eric Frasure throwing heavy hammer

Throwing the massive rock quarryman's hammer is a test of strength developed hundreds of years ago.  Being even larger than the blacksmith's hammer, the 22 lb. heavy hammer remains an event unique to the Highland Games.  The athletes will throw the hammer with their feet remaining stationary, aided by metal spikes that are mounted to the bottoms of their boots and jammed into the ground.  The thrower must remain behind the trig, avoid falling over and touching the ground, and keep both feet firmly planted until the hammer has been released.

Caber Toss

Sam Grammer turning the Caber 

The caber toss draws upon the distant past to establish this test of strength and skill as the king of Highland Games Heavy Events.  Caber is Gaelic for tree, and lumberjacks are believed to provide the origin by turning small trees end-over-end to cross small rivers.  Soon, attacking warriors started landing 20' tree trunks against castle walls during siege, using them as crude ladders.  The Caber Toss is the only event that isn't measured for height or distance. Instead, judges score the event in a subjective manner.  A perfect score occurs when an athlete is able to turn the caber end-over-end, with the caber landing in line with the athlete's direction of momentum, resulting in a 12:00 score on an imaginary clock face.  If the caber turns, but does not land straight in front of the athlete, scores between 9:00 and 3:00 are assigned.  If the caber does not turn, the side judge awards a degree score up to 90°. Due to its subjective nature, and the fact that almost every competition provides a different caber, there are no records, only bragging rights.

Sheaf Toss

David Marble throwing Sheaf 

The sheaf toss originates from one of the most practical and common farm chores:  Throwing sheaves of hay up into the barn loft.  Traditionally contested at county agricultural fairs, the sheaf toss has made its way into the Highland Games over the last 100 years, becoming a fan favorite along the way.  Using a traditional 3-tyne hay fork, the athlete attempts to throw a burlap bag stuffed with materials such as straw or bailing twine over a horizontal bar.  Each athlete gets three attempts at each increasing height until there is a winner, with misses being counted against them should two or more athletes tie at a height.

Weight Over Bar

Kate Mason throwing Weight over Bar 

The standing Weight Over Bar, or weight for height as it is often called, is a tried-and-true test of brute strength and explosiveness. Originating from similar traditions as the weights tossed for distance, this is a staple event that is also often contested in strongman contests. The rules are minimal, simply stand under a horizontal bar and throw a 56 lb. weight over it with one hand.  A running or spinning approach is allowed at the discretion of the field judge.  Each athlete gets three attempts at each increasing height until there is a winner, with misses being counted against them should two or more athletes tie at a height.

We would not be able to have our Wounded Warrior competion without the very generous support of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. Charles J. Watters Assumbly 2888, Warrenton, VA and the support of Ed Cook and their Wounded Warriors VSGA Committee and former VSGA President William Jarrett 
Knights of Columbus

 and the .

Colin West Memorial Award
Prior Year's Athletics Scores (courtesy of North American Scottish Games Athletics)
2007 Athletics Pictures (courtesy of Mike Melia and Eclipsed by the Moon)
Virginia Scottish Games Field Records
2010 Pictures
2009 Pictures

2012 Professional Athletes
2013 Professional Athletes

 

 © Virginia Scottish Games Association 2017

NO RAIN CHECKS, NO REFUNDS

Labor Day Weekend:
September 2 & 3, 2017
September 1 & 2, 2018
August 31 & September 1, 2019