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SCOTFEST HEAVY ATHLETICS

About

…Just in case being Scottish and wearing a kilt isn’t enough, i’ll just throw this 20ft tree..!

Scotfest has plenty of incredible sights to keep you entertained all weekend long, but the Scottish Heavy Athletics portion of the Highland Games is one thing you don’t want to miss. The feats of strength displayed during the Scottish Heavy Athletics have to be seen to be believed, and Scotfest is the best place to see them. 

Scotfest | Oklahoma is host to the International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) Women’s Highland Games World Championship, the Men’s Lightweight Highland Games National Championship, and the final All-American Men’s A-Class Qualifier of the year. You’ll truly be witnessing the best of the best live in action!

The Scottish Heavy Athletics competition also features more than ten other Classes which showcase the best Highlands athletes around from ages 13 to over 70.

Highland games are held throughout the year all around the world as a way of celebrating Scottish culture and heritage, and the athletic portion of the events is often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of the games. In their original form many centuries ago, the Highland games revolved around athletic and sports competitions that were designed to help the king select the finest athletes to be his personal guard and entourage. Highland games also offered the opportunity for the clans of Scotland to compete against each other and showcase their strength without having to actually go to war. Over the years, the games have changed somewhat, as some of the implements used in the games were created as alternatives to traditional weapons when England forbade any Scotsman from bearing arms. Today, the caber toss is one of the most well known and popular Highland games events, and you can see it right here at Scotfest! Though other activities were always a part of the festivities, many today still consider Highland athletics to be what the games are all about.

Getting Involved
Wondering how you can get involved and participate in the Highland games? Sign up for one of our Novice Classes! While watching the competitions is awesome, there’s nothing quite like taking part in the excitement yourself.

Who knows? Maybe you could be the next World Champion Highland Games athlete!

THE WEEKEND EVENTS

CLASSES EXPLAINED

Scotfest A-Class is one who, in the past two (2) years, has personal records exceeding four (4) or more of the following marks:

  • Caber-turned 100 lb. x 17 ft
  • 17 lb. stone throw – 40 ft
  • 28 lb. weight for distance – 50 ft
  • 56 lb. weight for distance – 25 ft
  • 16 lb. Scottish hammer – 90 ft
  • 22 lb. Scottish hammer – 75 ft
  • 56 lb. weight for height – 12 ft

Scotfest B-Class is one who, in the past two (2) years, has personal records exceeding four (4) or more of the following marks:

  • Caber-turned 80 lb. x 16 ft
  • 17 lb. stone throw – 30 ft
  • 28 lb. weight for distance – 40 ft
  • 56 lb. weight for distance – 18 ft
  • 16 lb. Scottish hammer – 75 ft
  • 22 lb. Scottish hammer – 60 ft
  • 56 lb. weight for height – 11 ft

Scotfest C-Class is one who, has experienced previously as a Novice, and understands and has in the past 2 years tried each event:

  • Caber-turned 
  • 17 lb. stone throw 
  • 28 lb. weight for distance 
  • 56 lb. weight for distance 
  • 16 lb. Scottish hammer 
  • 22 lb. Scottish hammer 
  • 56 lb. weight for height

Scotfest Novice Class is an amateur who has never competed previously or whose personal records do not exceed at least four (4) of the above marks.

Scotfest Lightweight Class is an amateur class in which all throwers’ weight is 200 lb. or less.

Scotfest Masters 40+ Class is an amateur who is over forty (40) years old by the date of Scotfest.

Scotfest Masters 50+ Class is an amateur who is over fifty (50) years old by the date of Scotfest.

EVENTS EXPLAINED

The Caber is a tree that has been cut and trimmed down so one end is slightly wider than the other. It can vary length from 16 to 22 feet and between 100 and 180 pounds. The smaller end is rounded off so it will be easy to cup in the thrower’s hands. The caber is stood up for the thrower with the large end up. The thrower hoists the caber up and cups the small end in his hands. He then takes a short run with the caber and then stops and pulls the caber so that the large end hits the ground and the small end flips over and faces away from the thrower. The caber is scored for accuracy as though the thrower is facing the 12:00 position on a clock face. A judge behind the thrower calls how close to the 12:00 position the small end of the caber lands, 12:00 being a perfect toss. If the caber is not turned, a side judge calls the degrees of the angle the caber makes with the ground.

This event is similar to the hammer throw as seen in modern-day track and field competitions, though with some differences. In the Scottish event, a round metal ball (weighing 16 or 22 lb. for men or 12 or 16 lb. for women) is attached to the end of a shaft about 4 feet in length and made out of wood, bamboo, rattan, or plastic. With the feet in a fixed position, the hammer is whirled about one’s head and thrown for distance over the shoulder. Hammer throwers sometimes employ specially designed footwear with flat blades to dig into the turf to maintain their balance and resist the centrifugal forces of the implement as it is whirled about the head. This substantially increases the distance attainable in the throw.

This event is similar to the modern-day shot put as seen in the Olympic games. Instead of a steel shot, a large stone of variable weight is often used. There are also some differences from the Olympic shot put in allowable techniques. There are two versions of the stone toss events, differing in allowable technique. The “Braemar Stone” uses a 20–26 lb stone for men (13–18 lb. for women) and does not allow any run up to the toeboard or “trig” to deliver the stone, i.e., it is a standing put. In the “Open Stone” using a 16–22 lb. stone for men (or 8–12 lb. for women), the thrower is allowed to use any throwing style so long as the stone is put with one hand with the stone resting cradled in the neck until the moment of release. Most athletes in the open stone event use either the “glide” or the “spin” techniques.

Weight for distance, also known as the weight throw event. There are actually two separate events, one using a light (28 lb. for men and 14 lb. for women) and the other a heavy (56 lb for men, 42 lb. for masters men, and 28 lb for women) weight. The weights are made of metal and have a handle attached by means of a chain. The implement is thrown with one hand using any technique. Usually a spinning technique is employed. The longest throw wins.

The athletes attempt to toss a 56 pound (4 stone) weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.

The straw is wrapped in a bag made of burlap and competitors must use a pitch fork to throw it over a bar that gets progressively higher. Participants get three attempts to clear the bar, without the sheaf touching it, with those that manage to do so progressing to the next height.