About Texas Women's Highland Games

Our Purpose:

To increase awareness and involvement of women in the sport of the Highland Games. Promoting a fun, active, family friendly and competitive sport by providing information and resources to all those interested in joining us in our continuing adventures!

Please see our FAQ page for all those burning questions you have about how you participate, what to do, who to talk to and where to go!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lucas Highland Games Weekend Recap!

Heading up your own games is always a tricky undertaking for the athletic directors and event coordinators; full of responsibility, risk, and emotional investment in the success of the event. From arranging location, to promotion, to athlete entries, to award planning, it is enough to make your head spin just trying to make a to-do list to even get started. Those that pull it off with aplomb are a rare breed; Doug and Jera Kressly are just such a pair. The first year of Highland Games at the Lucas Apple Festival was a rousing success.

Now, sure, Lucas is not the biggest burg in Kansas, but it is a simply charming town that can only be found by a beautiful drive. The Midland Railway Hotel was our host hotel, in Wilson, just 15 miles down the main road. The hotel is just what it sounds like, a quaint converted three story railway station with a restaurant and bar downstairs. Both eateries had attentive staff and tasty treats to offer up. http://www.midlandrailroadhotel.com/

Game day brought some unpredictable weather, with a splash of rain in the morning and some killer wind in the later afternoon just rife with Wizard of Oz jokes. These minor ticks neither slowed down the flow of the day nor ruffled the feathers of our hosts. Breakfast was served and the events started promptly. The weather smoothed out to a warm breezy day well suited to a full nine event day.
Field conditions were ideal, low cut grass, wide open spaces, flat terrain. The area was large enough to support two trigs, two height standards, a caber run and a separate field for a hammer cage. Plenty of room for world record level throws. Ample shade offered at each throwing area.  Clan Kressly had the lay out set up just right for maximum crowd exposure to the events with a keen eye to safety for both throwers and audience. While seating was at a premium, plans are already in place to add some for next year’s event.
The level of interest from the crowd and local volunteers was energizing. The palpable desire to support something new in the community was a refreshing surprise.  The women’s class had the glowing assistance of Darcy Libal, eager to learn more about the sport she volunteered to score keep and pull tape for us. Gunnar Glasgow did double duty wrangling Dave, believe you me that is a full time gig, and judging for us.

Now, on to the day’s events! The open women’s class got a rare day in traditional order and started out with stones. Both braemar and open stone were a race of inches for the top slot between Felecia Simms and Jamie Channel. Heavy weight for distance was up next and saw the only injury of the day – Felecia damaged her finger into a spectacularly swollen state. This did not stop her from continuing for three more events and finishing third overall for the day. Talk about a tough chica! Sheaf was hectic as the winds were picking up, and was the only event of the day in which I managed to eke out a first place, leaving me with a second place finish for the day. Names you may not know in women’s highland games yet, but you will – Anna Parsch and Cassie Bennett, two ladies that will certainly leave their mark on the games if they continue to improve at the rate I have seen from them this year. Jamie Channel was our women’s class winner for the day, and received a unique trophy for her efforts – a Lucas limestone with an emblazoned lion rampant.

Let’s dish about the dishes, folks. Make no mistake the Kressly family knows how to host the masses, and do it well. A breakfast of homemade pastries and farm fresh fruits greeted throwers as they came to the field. The midday meal had offerings aplenty for every appetite with more than enough to go around. A dinner full of hot off the grill treats and chilled beer certainly hit the spot. Hospitality at its finest! Nothing says highland games party quiet like – “Hold my beer while I show him what a sheaf throw is supposed to look like.” And that was from one of the women!
No event is complete without a signature event. For those not educated on the topic by the friendly locals, Lucas has a massive limestone quarry and you can see samples of it everywhere. The final “extra” event of the day was no exception. Giant blocks of limestone were cut and a chain run through them for a handle; making them functional as either a famer’s walk, or a standing hold implement. The women’s pair weighed in at 100lbs a piece, while the men’s doubled that at 200lbs for each hand! Three of the women’s class throwers took part in the event – Jamie Channel, Amber “Mighty Sprite” Glasgow and I. Again, Jamie was our winner and got a box of smoked meats and cheese and a big bottle of scotch as her winnings. Just for grins our hostess, Jera, gave it a shot, and doubled even the longest hold time holding steady for a full minute.

The Lucas Festival is a prime example that it never pays to under estimate the new kid in the games. Excellent first year games, with strong showings in all classes (masters, men’s open, 190s, juniors and women’s open). For those looking to start their own games these are the folks to ask for advice on how to get it done!

No comments:

Post a Comment