Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bike Shorts

...that's what Scotsmen where under their kilts.  Or at least, that is what the ones competing at the San Antonio Highland Games were wearing.  We got half-priced tickets through Groupon and headed up to Helotes this afternoon in time for lunch.

Scotch eggs (hardboiled eggs wrapped in sausage and fried) and Cornish pasties were a pretty drastic change from the last week of veganism.  There were, of course the requisite bagpipers and drummers.

But the real reason we were there was to see the events referred to as "Scottish Heavy Athletics."  After watching for a while, we mostly figured out the rules, but if you are curious, you can read them here.

The first event we watched was the hammer throw.  The hammer weighs 16 pounds and has to be thrown without moving the feet.  Some of the men wear shoes with long metal bars coming out of the toe to dig into the ground so they don't rotate.  Throwing the weight requires spinning the weight around the head and then releasing it over the shoulder.  There are no bonus points for looking like a ballerina on release.


The next one we watched was the self-explanatory "Weight Over the Bar."  (By the way, all of these guys are wearing shirts reading "plaid to the bone.")

Seems pretty straight-forward, but the weight is 56 pounds so occasionally, people completely ate it.

You can tell from the picture this isn't going to end well.
The last event of the day was the iconic caber toss.  Evidently, there is no official weight for the caber, but the one they used was 18 feet long and 125 pounds.  Hard enough to pick up, throwing it end over end - insane.

The run.
I had always assumed that the goal was to throw the caber as far as possible.  The goal is actually to turn it end over end and have it land perfectly perpendicular from your body.

The pull.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, only about 1 in 7 guys managed to even completely flip the caber end over end.

The turn.
It looked like so much fun that I was having flashbacks to my shot put days.  Maybe next year you will see me in the women's division!

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