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.

For information on becoming a Competitor please contact:

Paul Boundy : boundyroofing@hotmail.com

Austin Sztajdocher : austin_sztajdocher@hotmail.com

The Events

The Caber

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 one's 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 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

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

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.

World Records

Event                         Record                      Name                          Games Location                 Year

22# BS                           50'                     Kyle Lillie USA                             Fefor Norway                     2018

16# OS                          63'3.75"             Nick Kahanic USA                       Amherst NY                        2013

HW                               51'0.5"                Spencer Tyler USA                       Columbus OH                     2018

LW                                97'7.25"              Spencer Tyler USA                       Pleasanton, CA                    2019

HH                              132'2.75"              Dan McKim USA                         Salt Lake City UT                  2014

LH1                             157'7.25"              Dan McKim USA                         Salt Lake City UT                  2019

20# Sheaf                      37'2"                   Spencer Tyler USA                       Pleasanton, CA                    2019

WFH                             19'3"                   Spencer Tyler USA                       Columbus OH                      2018

Canadian Records

Event                         Record                      Name                          Games Location                 Year

22# BS                          43'10"                 Matt Doherty NS                         Dunfermline UK                   2014

20# OS                         50'11"                 Matt Doherty NS                         Fredericton NB                    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                      34'7"                   Jason Johnston SK                        Calgary AB                         2018

WFH                             17'7"                   Jason Johnston SK                        Calgary AB                         2014

Cobourg Highland Games Records

Event                         Record                      Name                          Games Location                 Year

24# BS                          34'7"                  Jason McDonald MB                   Cobourg                            2017

21.9# OS                    45'8.5"                 Lorne Colthart ON                      Cobourg                            2019   

16# OS                         44'9"                  Jason McDonald MB                   Cobourg                            2017

HW                               41'6"                  Lorne Colthart ON                      Cobourg                            2019

LW                                 82'1"                  Loren Colthart ON                      Cobourg                            2019

HH                            110' 6.5"                 Lorne Colthart ON                      Cobourg                           2019

LH                             133'10.5"                Lorne Colthart ON                       Cobourg                           2019

20# Sheaf                      28'                      Berle Conrad ON                       Cobourg                            2016

WFH                             16'                      Joe Pocock AB                            Cobourg                            2017

2020 Cobourg Highland Games Society