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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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World Records

Event Record Games Location Year
22# BS 50' Kyle Lillie USA Fefor Norway 2018
16# OS 63' Nick Kahanic USA Amherst NY 2013
HW 51'0.5" Spencer Tyler USA Columbus OH 2018
LW 96'6" Spencer Tyler USA Salt Lake City UT 2016
HH 132'2.75" Dan McKim USA Salt Lake City UT 2014
LH 157'7.25" Dan McKim USA Salt Lake City UT 2014
20# Sheaf 36'7" Spencer Tyler USA Bethlehem PA 2017
WFH 19'3" Spencer Tyler USA Columbus OH 2018

Canadian Records

Event Record Games Location Year
22# BS 43'10" Matt Doherty NS Dunfermline UK 2014
17# OS 57'10" Tim Hendry ON Uxbridge ON 2011
HW 46'9" Jason Johnston SK Calgary AB 2012
LW 91'3" Harry MacDonald ON Haliburton ON 1996
HH 122'1" Matt Doherty NS Fredericton NB 2015
LH 148'2.5" Matt Doherty NS Loon Mountain NH 2015
20# Sheaf 34'4" Jason Johnston SK Regina SK 2014
WFH 17'7" Jason Johnston SK Calgary AB 2014

Cobourg Highland Games Records

Event Record Games Location Year
24# BS 34'7" Jason McDonald MB Cobourg 2017
16# OS 44'9" Jason McDonald MB Cobourg 2017
22# OS 40'10" Owens Willems ON Cobourg 2016
HW 39'10" Markus Wand ON Cobourg 2013
LW 71'2" Christoph Wand ON Cobourg 2012
HH 95' Markus Wand ON Cobourg 2012
LH 117'6" Brandon Hartmann ON Cobourg 2012
20# Sheaf 28' Berle Conrad ON Cobourg 2016
WFH 16' Joe Pocock AB Cobourg 2017

The Caber

Caber Tossing event at the Cobourg Highland Games

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.

The Weights

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 Hammers

The Hammers

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.

The Stones

The Hammers

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 braemar 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 braemar stone must be thrown from a standing position. Like all throws, your best of three attempts is scored.

The Sheaf

The Hammers

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.

Caber Toss on the beach