Scottish Festival Features Ancient Games

By: Jordan Shefte Email
By: Jordan Shefte Email

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Two days of bagpipes and kilts begins this weekend in McPherson, as the 19th annual McPherson Scottish Festival kicks off.

Each year, a different category is highlighted, and this time it is the year of the highland athlete.

They're ancient games creating some modern competition.

Dave Glasgow is preparing to honor his heritage.

"To keep the Scottish culture alive, to remember our ancestors," Glasgow said. This weekend, he'll pay homage to his Scottish background by competing in the athletic games.

Nine different events will be performed.

"There will be hammer throwing, sheaf throwing and weights for distance, and the iconic caber toss that Scotland is known for," Glasgow said.

They're all activities that have been passed down from ancient times.

"They were originally started as the way for clans to get together, show off their best athletes," Glasgow said.

This weekend, 45 athletes from five different states will compete with ages ranging from 16 to 69.

"They take strength, but they also take timing, coordination, and practice... a lot of practice," Glasgow said.

To get an idea of how all these components come together, we asked Dave for a demonstration. He agreed, Kilt and all.

"Well it's breezy sometimes, but you get used to it after awhile," Glasgow said.

We started with the weights for distance.

The little ball is heavier than it looks, weighing 42 pounds.

"The object of the game is to get your body in a position to where you can throw with your hips and your back and your legs, and not so much your upper body," Glasgow said.

In weights for height, the idea is to throw the weight over a bar, similar to the height of a pole vault.

"You're simply swinging it between your legs bringing it down and using your back and your hips and your legs obviously for the propulsion to get the speed and the power to take it over the bar," Glasgow said.

Then, it was hammer time.

"You're building momentum and the final pull is what you're looking for, the final pull and release," Glasgow said.

Finally, Dave demonstrated a sheaf toss.

Usually, a bag of straw would be thrown for height.

"You stick the fork into the bag, get a good swing on it, " Glasgow said. "Some people use a run up for three swings, get a good back swing and pitch it up."

"It's a tradition that's been carried down, obviously. Those of us with Scottish roots celebrate our heritage through these games," Glasgow said.

Competitions begin at 9 am on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information about the event, click the link posted below.

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