One of the most exciting and colourful events at the Games is the Heavyweights and the Games provide a complete slate of competitions. All divisions (Master, Open Pro., Women, and Amateur) compete in heavyweight events that are judged by the same rules and regulations. However, the number of events competed in, as well as the size of some of the implements used in these various divisions will differ.
On Friday morning, August 4th, a group of 11 invited Amateur athletes will vie in the hammer toss, the sheaf toss and the always much anticipated caber toss. Local athletes Kevin McLeod, Steve Van den Oetelaar, Rory Cameron and Adam Hurtubise will try their luck against record holders like Jesse Trask of Alma, Ontario.
At 10 am the professional women start their competitions and quickly demonstrate that they can throw with the best of them. Games favourite and local Lisa MacDonald will join a dedicated and talented group including perennial champion Josee Morneau from Winnipeg. Back to defend their Canadian records set at last year’s Games are Heather Boundy (Sheaf ) and Susie Lajoie (Light Hammer). Susie also holds the Canadian records for Heavy Hammer and Weight for Height. Newcomer to the Game Katherine Duckworth from Verdun Quebec will have her work cut out to meet these high standards.
At 1 pm, twelve Masters will show that the skills that made them pros just a few years ago are still very much in evidence. Berle Conrad who holds the Canadian Records for Sheaf and Weight for Height will be back along with many other favourites and past champions, Kevin Fast from Coburg, Warren Trask from Alma and Dirk Bishop from New Brunswick. Locals Lee MacKinnon and Ron Graham will also be in the field.
To show that these athletes can still compete with the best, Games Director Rod McLeod recently finished 2nd at the 2017 World Masters Highland Games Championships in Iceland. Congratulations to Rod and good luck to all.
The main event starts on Saturday at 9 am as the professional heavyweights take to the field for the World’s Invitational and Canadian Scottish Professional Heavyweights Championship. Joe Hall from New Brunswick, Padraic Moore and Austin Sztajdocher from Ontario, all newcomers to the Games, will join a strong field of competitors including Canadian Record holder Matthew Doherty (Open Stone, Light Hammer and Heavy Hammer) set at Maxville in 2015. Local Jason Baines from Greenfield will also be competing.
Late Saturday afternoon when the heavyweight competitions lead up to the caber toss segment of their schedule, the grandstands fill as crowds gather to watch the Challenge Caber. To qualify for this final competition athletes must have successfully turned the Regulation Caber at least once in the earlier event. It’s a fitting end to full two days of competitions as the crowds cheer on their favourites in their toss of a mammoth telephone pole end over end trying for a perfect throw.
Neil Lowry, himself, a past heavyweight champion, will judge the heavyweight events joined by Warren Trask in the Professional Women’s competitions.
To make sure that there will always be a strong field of contenders coming along, the Games offers the Intermediate Heavyweights for those 13-17 years of age. Contestants are eligible to compete only if they have attended one of the local clinics or have practiced with a person who does highland games heavy events. For the younger set, they can join in the Junior Heavyweights events. Both events take place Saturday, August 5. Registration information can be found at glengarryhighlandgames.com.
Whether being a participant, a competitor or an observer, the heavyweights are one of the highlights of every Glengarry Highland Games.