Highland Games competitor James Gerrick about to toss the caber at a Highland Games gathering. (Black Press File)

156th Highland Games in Victoria welcomes back World Champion

Up to 15,000 spectators expected to soak up Scottish culture and watch athletes compete

Andy Vincent, one of only two athletes ever to turn the Jim Maxwell Challenge caber, is set to return to this year’s 2019 Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival.

The Topaz Park festival runs May 18 – 20 and one of the highlights is the Jim Maxwell Challenge caber toss, where athletes competing in the pro division have the chance to turn the festival’s special caber. So far, only two men have managed to fling the 19 foot 150 pound piece of wood in the air, turning a full rotation before watching it crash to earth.

ALSO READ: What leisure facilities and programs would you like to see in Central Saanich?

“We’ve got some of the top throwers from Canada and the USA coming to town,” says Carl Jensen, director-at-large of the Victoria Highland Games Association.

“On Saturday and Sunday mornings you’ve got your amateur level athletes and in the afternoons there’s a pro men’s class and an elite women’s class. There’s going to be a fantastic group of athletes, like on the men’s side, we’ve got Chuck Kasson coming, who actually won the World Championship in Victoria, last year.”

Jensen adds that on Monday the focus shifts to traditional “strong-man type events” such as athletes lifting atlas stones or performing a farmer’s walk carrying 400 pounds in each hand. It is also a chance for novices to compete, often one of the best supported classes as friends and families flock to see them strut their stuff.

ALSO READ: Drug-driver vehicle hit and run in Brentwood Bay

Jensen, who is an avid competitor, is excited by the talent in the women’s pro and amateur divisions, with an especially strong group competing this year, hoping to build on last year’s performances, where a Victorian competitor broke a world record.

The festival has been running 156 years and will host a variety of traditional strength and athletic competitions, including a traditional tug of war.

But the festival isn’t all muscle-bound warriors throwing telegraph poles about, visitors can watch cutting challenges, broadsword demonstrations and see Celtic fashion.

Those looking for a relaxed day in the sun can sup Lighthouse Brewing Company’s special Highlands Challenge ale from one of the two beer gardens, or mill around the stalls and clan tents. The festival attracts duelling pipe bands from all over B.C. and the Pacific North West, and many attendees will be wearing kilts in their families’ tartan. Kids activities will also feature such as face painting.

ALSO READ: Coast Guard shows off Canadian can-do attitude

The festival organizers encourage people to come support the 20 local amateurs, who often train multiple times a week, as well as to see the mountainous pros in action. Jensen says he expects up to 15,000 people will attend and watch the 40 amateurs and 18 elite athletes. He looks forward to people having the opportunity to explore pictish culture.

“As our President Jim Maxwell says, ‘When you’re at the Highland Games, everybody can be Scottish for the weekend.’”

For more information on the Topaz Park event visit victoriahighlandgames.com. Tickets are between $12 and $30. Dogs are not permitted on site.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Supreme Court Judge rules medicinal marijuana company must vacate farm in Central Saanich

Evergreen Medicinal Supply Inc must vacate no later than Aug. 31, 2019

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read