As I start today’s blog there is laundry going and a trailer and smokers waiting to be cleaned from a busy weekend, but one of our favorite events of the year. It was the last weekend of September which means…….. McPherson Scottish Highland Games!
This is our fifth year feeding the athletes and each year it gets harder to uphold our reputation. The athletes and staff always say that lunch is one of the things they look forward to the most at Mac. We enjoy spending time with them and have become good friends with several. Besides, we get to set up on the field and have the best seat in the house once we get time to watch.
We have watched these folks perform the events many times and have developed the utmost respect for their athletic ability. There is nothing easy about these games! They require a combination of strength, technique and timing that rivals any other professional sport.
One that often makes me a little nervous is the Weight Over Bar competition. The athletes swing a weight over a bar positioned behind them and I always worry about one getting hit on top of their head. I guess that’s the nurse coming out. In this photo you see Terri just after the weight has left her hand:
As we all know; what goes up, must come down. So far we haven’t seen anyone get bonked on the head, thankfully!
Another event for height is the Sheath toss, where the athletes use a pitchfork to toss a straw filled burlap bag over a bar. Here one of the contestants has tossed the sheath and has already brought his fork back down while the sheath is on its way up:
Some of these guys were throwing over 30 feet high with a 22 pound sheath!
One of the hallmarks of the games is the caber toss. Here Terri is set to toss the caber:
Of note is the fact the she was photobombed by her husband in the background. He’s the one in the green shirt with the camera
The athletes compete in 9 events, many times there are at least 4 events going on simultaneously as the athletes are split into different groups based on sex, age, and experience. Here I caught a caber in midair while I was taking a picture of a sheath in the air:
For the second year the announcer was Francis Brebner, a true Scotsman who competed in Highland games for 18 years and still holds 2 World Records. Although Francis has lived in California for the last ten years he still has a thick Scottish accent which makes you listen carefully so that you can understand what he is saying. Although he has retired from competitive Highland gaming, Francis still puts on coaching clinics, judges, serves as an announcer at games all over the world, and is an author.
Francis is a true gentleman and we looked forward to getting to see him again. We were also a little nervous as we were attempting a traditional Scottish dish of Haggis, Tatties and Neeps to feed a Scot. After lunch he gave us a thumbs up so we knew we did OK. Many of the athletes had never eaten Haggis but did try it. We had lots of comments along the lines of “It wasn’t as bad as I expected”, or “It was actually pretty good”. We even had some come back for seconds. Now just in case you go Google Haggis, I did not prepare it in the traditional manner or even use traditional ingredients. But it’s my understanding that many in Scotland don’t prepare it that way anymore either.
We always try to feed the athletes a combination of proteins and carbohydrates, Sunday’s lunch was; from far to near: rib tips, smoked Mac&Cheese, tatties and neeps. Not in the pictures was the Haggis, barbecue beans, and ham.
And around the corner was the fruit salad, brownies and home made ice cream. There’s always room for dessert!
And a couple pictures of the serving line and the athletes enjoying the food:
The weekend was a success not only from our standpoint, but they could not have asked for better weather and the athletes set several records during the 2 day event. For more pictures, check out our friend Larry’s page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pioneer-Photography/146925568684529
Next weekend we will be spending a day at the American Royal helping to promote one of our passions, Operation Barbecue Relief. We’ll also be checking out the event as we will be competing there next year.
After that we’ll have a couple more competitions, then hopefully start teaching some classes over the winter.
Thanks for reading,