Heavy Events at the Games
Dating as far back as the year 1829 BC, to the ancient Tailteann Games, young men could be found testing their strength and skill. A tradition that has stood the test of time. Growing into a method of training for battle, the Heavy Events have evolved into the competitive sport as we know it today.
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The patriarch of the Heavy Events, Gaelic for "tree", the caber has become infamous all over the world. Its origins came from the tossing of poles over a river to make a bridge, and a form of placing roof trusses on ones' house. This is why, the caber is thrown for accuracy and not for distance. The caber is stood up to the athlete and then picked or "popped up" with the athlete holding the smaller end. It must then be flipped end over end and is judged on the face of a clock with 12:00 being the perfect throw. Although the standard length and weight of cabers has been established, a world class caber could reach upwards of 20ft in length, and weigh in excess of 140lbs.
A weapon of choice for William Wallace, the mace as it was called, was a 14lbs iron ball fixed to a chain and handle. The 28lbs and 56lbs weights thrown today, would have been for training allowing for better control in battle. With the throwing area extended to 9ft, the athletes have the opportunity to spin just like the discus, releasing at the right time for the optimum throw. The weights are all measured and weighed before each festival as well as to ensure they do not exceed 18" in length.
The 56lbs in particular, is also thrown for height over a bar. Originally, used to gauge a bag of 50 large potatoes, young men would throw the 56lbs, with the handle fixed directly to the weights, over the branch of the tree to help strengthen the back. Heights over 19' have been recorded.
The first recorded use of hammers in a battle, date back to the Pictish. Warriors used a flaming ball of cloth attached to a rope. They would throw them over wooden ramparts, burning the Romans out of Scotland forever. The hammers used today, are 50" in length, and weigh 16lbs and 22lbs. Unlike the Olympic hammer, the Scottish hammer is thrown with the feet in a fixed position. With spikes attached to the front soles of their boots and tacky on their hands to assist with grip, the athletes root themselves to the ground, rotate the hammer around the upper body, and release over their shoulder attempting to throw out behind them into the field. A cage is required around the thrower for the purpose of protection and safety for spectators.
At the battle of Bannuckburn, Scotland's King Robert the Bruce and his 8000 men, drove back King Edwards 18,000 English soldiers, simply by throwing stones. In the sport today, there are two stones. The open stone (16-22lbs), and the breamar stone (22-28lbs). Thrown from inside the 4'6" x 7'6" trig, the open stone can be thrown with any style approach, but the breamar stone must be thrown from a standing position. Like all throws, your best of three attempts is scored.
A crowd favourite, the sheaf toss is a representation of pitching hay up into a loft. The athletes are given 3 attempts at each height and with the use of a finely sanded pitch fork, they must pitch a burlap sack (16-20lbs), up over a bar. Heights of well over 30ft have been recorded.
|1st – Berle Conrad, Harrietsville, ON|
|2nd – Owen Willems, Guelph, ON|
|3rd – Markus Wand, Powassan, ON|
|1st – Celine Gibb, Windsor, ON|
|2nd – Heather Boundy, Lake St. Peter, ON|
|3rd – Katherine Duckworth, Montreal QC|
|1st – Jamie Trask, Alma, ON|
|2nd – Mathew Fast, Cobourg, ON|
|3rd – Jon Cavanagh, Shannonville, ON|
Men's Open / Professional Division
|Dale Andrew||Port Perry, ON|
|Paul Boundy||Grafton, ON|
|Berle Conrad||Harrietsville, ON|
|Matt Daciw||Guelph, ON|
|John Johnston||Milton, ON|
|Nick Kahanic||Falcorner, NY|
|Neil Lowry||Almonte, ON|
|Heather Boundy||Lake St Peter,ON|
|Kathy Miles||Georgetown, ON|
|Jennifer Paterson||Georgetown ,ON|
|Kimberlee Smith||Lake St Peter, ON|
Men's Am Division
|Joel Doswell||Bowmanville ,ON|
|Mathew Fast||Cobourg ,ON|
|Josh Lockrey||Etobicoke ,ON|
|Dale MacDonald||Maxville ,ON|
|Adam Melnick||Bowmanville ,ON|
|Wayne Smith||Lake St Peter,ON|