Kicking off the Scottish series of competitions on nine consecutive days, the Burntisland Highland Games drew an impressive field international competitors, with Rusty Price taking the victory.
2011 Burntisland Highland Games
By Francis Brebner
The Burntisland Highland Games signaled the beginning of the official Games week on the Scottish circuit, which is actually a week plus a weekend, a staggering nine straight Games in total. It will be interesting to see which athletes have the endurance and stamina to go the distance and which might fall by the wayside during this demanding stint. I found out for myself that in my twenties I could throw farther at the end of the week of Games than at the beginning, but as I reached my thirties and the body had taken a bit of a beating from the sport, I could not sustain my form throughout the entire nine days. But I can say that the week of Games was a most enjoyable time traveling throughout some of Scotland’s most rugged and beautiful countryside, villages, hills, and glens.
Burntisland attracted about 8,000 spectators on Sunday, despite a drizzle of rain during the first two events, and the weather later turned out to be quite pleasant for the rest of the day.
A strong field of international athletes gathered, with Hans Lolkema of the Netherlands added to the lineup that included Poland’s Sebastian Wenta and Lucas Wenta; Scotland’s Harry Hancock; and USA’s Rusty Price, Sam Grammer, and Mike Pockoski. It was most surprising to see that only one Scot turned up to compete; perhaps they were saving themselves for the British Championships coming up.
In the 16-lb. shot, L. Wenta ripped out a world-class put of 57’10”; in second place was brother S. Wenta at 53’ 2”, and in third, Price at 53’.
In the 22-lb. shot, L. Wenta produced another magical throw, 46’ 2”, for the win, with Price rising to the challenge with 44’ 9” for second place; in third place with 42’ 6” was S. Wenta.
The 28-lb. weight-for-distance was a close competition, with the U.S. dominating the event and placing in the top three. Price nailed a throw of 81’ 6” for the win; in second place was Grammer at 78’ 10”, and in third place Pockoski with 77’ 6”.
With all eyes on Pockoski as the man to beat in the 22-lb. hammer, Price surprisingly stole the show with a winning throw of 109’ 7”. In second place was Pockoski at 106’ 10”, and in third place, Lolkema at 106’ 5”.
In the caber toss, with a 19’ 6”, 125-lb. stick, there was a tie for first equal between Grammer, Price and Pockoski, all having tosses of 12:05.
The final event of the competition, the 56-lb. weight-over-bar, ended with Grammer taking the win at a height of 16’. In second equal were S. Wenta and Pockoski at 14’.
The next Games on the roster will be the Inveraray Games on the west coast of Scotland where Price is looking to break the ground record in the heavy stone throw, 38’ 8”, which is currently held by his mentor Ryan Vierra. Making his debut at Games week is Scotland’s Gregor Edmunds.
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