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Most competitors ever test strength at Highland heavy sports

They make tossing around tall tree trunks and large rounded stones look easy.

CANMORE – They make tossing around tall tree trunks and large rounded stones look easy.

It was the biggest competitive field ever at the Canmore Highland Games' heavy sports as familiar faces and a world record holder tested skill and strength in kilts on Sunday (Sept. 4).

"We had more amateurs, probably 30 per cent more than we've had in the past," said Kevin Armstrong, one of the organizers of the heavy sports at the annual Scottish festival. "Our open class and our master class are top notch and we see about the same place for them. We see more of the amateurs, more of the women showing interest."

As temperatures hit the high 20s on Sunday, the heavy sports' over the bar and sheaf toss were cut due to heat concerns. Instead, the heavy sports ended with competitors seeing how far they could toss a beer keg.

Despite the sporting competition being cut short due to heat concerns, Armstrong said the event was an utter success.

"It just seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year," he said. "After the pandemic, I think people were just tired of not being around people and enjoying themselves, and this is a really good venue for people to be around and have some fun and smile and laugh. I think that's a big part of what we try to get people to do here."

Winning in each of their respective categories were Justin Wishart, Alex McCara, Donovan Lewis and Jamie Clark.

A staple in the women's competition, Clark has been crowned top competitor for the past three Highland games.

Her best event was the caber toss, where competitors balance an upright trimmed tree trunk and attempt to toss it so it lands on the opposite end. Clark turned the caber all three times and even got a 12 o'clock, a perfect turn.

Sometimes, in years past, there have been only s few women competing, but there there were seven in 2022  – second only to nine in 2019.

Clark said the competition is picking up.

"One of the newcomers beat me in light hammer, that's crazy. She threw it at an elite level throw so hopefully we'll get her back; I'm working on it," Clark said with a laugh.

Clark is off to Highland nationals this weekend in Quebec City.

The runner up in the men's open was world record holder and Ontario's Jason Baines, who spent the day entertaining the crowd. In 2021, Baines set a Guinness Record with 161 caber tosses in one hour at the 45th Montreal Highland Games.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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