The Middle Tennessee Highland Games provides the chance for amateur athletes to compete in all the traditional Heavy Scottish Athletic events, to the thrill of a large crowd of fans. Men over 40 compete in the Masters Class and men under 40 compete in the Men’s class. We also have a Women’s amateur class. Any athlete can sign up to compete by completing a form and sending it in with the $20 fee to the address on the form. Competitors are accepted on a first come first accepted basis. All Classes are limited to 10, with 2 alternates. Awards are presented in all classes for the top 3 scores. Festival attendees can watch the competitions throughout the entire day on the Main Field, except for the hammer throw which is done on the Tournament Field past the mansion.
Our Champion Athletic Director is Kerry Overfelt. He will be leading the competitions on Sept 9th and the Clinic on Sept 8th. Kerry is a 14 year veteran of professional highland games. He was 2009 National Champion of North America and 2013 Masters World Champion. He has broken over 100 field records, including the amateur world record for 56# weight for distance and sheaf throw, and the masters world record for 42# weight over bar. In addition, Kerry gives the audience a witty and educational narration of the competitions and the athletes which are special to the Middle Tennessee Highland Games. Come experience these unique sports while also experiencing a celtic festival.
The caber toss is a traditional Scottish athletic event in which competitors toss a large tapered pole called a "caber". It is normally practised at the Scottish Highland Games. In Scotland the caber is usually made from a Larch tree and is typically 19 feet 6 inches (5.94 m) tall and weighs 175 pounds (79 kg). The term "caber" derives from the Gaelic word "cabar" or "kaber" which refers to a wooden beam.
The sheaf toss is a traditional Scottish agricultural sport event originally contested at country fairs. A pitchfork is used to hurl a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar above the competitor's head. Typical weight for the bag is 16 pounds (about 7 kg). Three chances are given to each competitor to cleanly go over the bar, without touching it. After all challengers have made their attempts, the bar is raised and all successful competitors move on to the new height. This continues until all but one athlete is eliminated.
The men's hammer weighs 16 pounds (7.257 kg) and measures 3 feet 11 3⁄4 inches (121.5 cm) in length and the women's hammer weighs 8.82 lb (4 kg) and 3 feet 11 inches (119.5 cm) in length. Like the other throwing events, the competition is decided by who can throw the implement the farthest.
Although commonly thought of as a strength event, technical advancements in the last 30 years have evolved hammer throw competition to a point where more focus is on speed in order to gain maximum distance.
The throwing motion involves two swings from stationary position, then three or four rotations of the body in circular motion using a complicated heel-toe movement of the foot. The ball moves in a circular path, gradually increasing in velocity with each turn with the high point of the ball toward the sector and the low point at the back of the circle. The thrower releases the ball from the front of the circle.
Weight for Distance: In the Highland Games, the weight throw consists of two separate events, the light weight and the heavy weight. In both cases, the implement consists of a steel or lead weight (usually spherical or cylindrical) attached by a short chain to a metal handle. The size of the weight depends on the class of the competition. For advanced male athletes, the light weight is 28 lb. The heavy weight is 56 lb. For all female athletes, the weights are 14 and 28 lb. The weight is thrown one-handed from a rectangular (4.5 feet by 9 feet) area behind a toe board or trig. The athlete must stay behind the trig at all times during the throw. The techniques vary, but usually involve a turning or spinning motion to increase momentum before the release. Each athlete gets three attempts, with places determined by the best throw.
Weight for Height: In the weight over the bar, or weight throw for height, the weight is thrown one-handed over a bar set at increasing heights above the thrower. Places are determined by maximum height reached with the fewest misses. The size of the weight varies with the competition class. Advanced male athletes throw a 56 lb. weight, female athletes throw a 28 lb. weight. The classic technique swings the weight between the legs before pulling the weight up and directly overhead.
Kerry Overfelt will be managing the athletics. We will have Scottish Heavy Amateur Athletics with 3 place awards.
Friday Clinic: Kerry Overfelt conducts a Heavy athletic clinic on the MTHG field on the Friday afternoon before the festival from noon to 4:00 PM. The clinic is open to experienced athletes and beginners, men and women, and concentrates on both technique and safety. The first clinic held in 2017 received great reviews by participants. Cost for clinic is $30 each and sign up is available from this website’s store.
Are you interested in being an athlete at Middle Tennessee Highland Games? Please download this form to register.