The origin of human games and sports predates recorded history. Several theories exist about the beginnings of our competitions. It has been widely recorded that during his reign in the 11th century, King Malcolm III of Scotland summoned contestants to compete in a footrace in order to find the fastest runner in the land to serve as his royal messenger. From that humble beginning, competition arose. Rival clans or kings would meet with their fastest, strongest, and best warriors in order to impress one's rivals and lay claim to the most skilled contestants.
A long tapered pole or log is stood upright and hoisted by the competitor who balances it vertically holding the smaller end in his hands Then the competitor runs forward attempting to toss it in such a way that it turns end over end with the upper (larger) end striking the ground first. The smaller end that was originally held by the athlete then hits the ground in the 12 o'clock position measured relative to the direction of the run. If successful, the athlete is said to have turned the caber. Cabers vary greatly in length, weight, taper, and balance, all of which affect the degree of difficulty in making a successful toss. Competitors are judged on how closely their throws approximate the ideal 12 o'clock toss on an imaginary clock.
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.
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.
Also known as the weight for distance event, the weight throw is 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 either directly or by means of a chain. The implement is thrown using one hand only, but otherwise using any technique. Usually a spinning technique is employed. The longest throw wins. Weight over the bar, also known as weight for height. 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.
A bundle of straw (the sheaf) weighing 20 pounds (9 kg) for the men and 10 pounds (4.5 kg) for the women and wrapped in a burlap bag is tossed vertically with a pitchfork over a raised bar much like that used in pole vaulting. The progression and scoring of this event is similar to the Weight Over The Bar. There is significant debate among athletes as to whether the sheaf toss is in fact an authentic Highland event. Some argue it is actually a country fair event, but all agree that it is a great crowd pleaser.
We are pleased to include Highland Wrestling, also known as Backhold Wrestling, in this year’s line-up of athletic events. The competition will take place on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm on the softball field. Registration will begin at 12:30 with competition to start as soon as possible after registration and weigh-in is completed. An entry fee of $10 will be collected during registration and all athletes must sign a liability release form. A parent or guardian must sign for minor age children. Classes will be divided based on age and weight of wrestlers.
Age classes will be (1) up to 11 years old; (2) 12-17 years old; (3) 18 and over
Weight classes will be determined upon weigh-in, but plans are for three weight divisions in each age class, light, middle, and heavy weight. Medals and cash prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age and weight division. All participants in Highland Wrestling must wear a kilt, for the wearing of a Highlander's kilt is what separates HIGHLAND wrestling from the wrestling style popular in England's Lake District.
Every fall is decided by two judges and a referee, who makes the final decision if the judges disagree. On taking hold the wrestlers stand up chest to chest, each placing their chin on their opponent's right shoulder and grasping them around the body, each placing their left arm above the right arm of their opponent. When both wrestlers have got hold, the referee will signal for the match to begin. With the exception of kicking, they are allowed to use every legitimate means to throw the other competitor. If either party breaks their hold, they shall be declared the loser if the other retains their grip. If both fall to the ground, the first person down loses. A fall is defined as touching the ground with any part of the body other than the feet.