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!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

McPherson! MAC! Home away from home...

As I was loading up the car for the final September highland games run, a bit of nostalgia came along and lodged itself in my mind. McPherson two years ago was when and where highland games took a turn for me in a myriad of ways.  This games, this place, these people were what nudged me from being a thrower on games days to becoming a member of the community.  Accepting a new competitor as soon as they set foot on the field is a rare thing; this was the first “away game” for me, and they showed me exactly what the HG community is all about. For this alone I would gladly return to MAC every year, but let’s delve into all the other reasons why YOU should go!
McPherson Scottish Festival is held Lakeside Park in McPherson (pronounced, Mac FUR-son, because there is no Fear in McPherson) Kansas. For your Texas traveler that is a solid 7 hour drive straight up I-35, straight as in no turns, no changes of highway, just straight on through.  Nice scenic route with very few major cities, meaning very little chance of slowdowns.  While a bit butt-numbing, but a pretty drive through the American heartland to a quaint town.
If you get the chance to explore the down town main street area you will find plenty of kitschy shops and fun eateries that are one of a kind. There are lots of cute gifts on this easy stroll, heck of a way to pass a late Friday afternoon if you arrive early for the games. All the hotels seem to be clustered next to the highway, and a small pile of chain restaurants are nested in amongst them. Montana Mikes is the usual dinner stop, with Perkins as the breakfast spot.
Lakeside Park is a beautiful, heavily treed grassy park with easy walking trails and complete with a babbling brook running through the middle of the grounds. The festival hosts contests for all the usual suspects; pipers, drum lines, dancers and throwers. Each of the show areas are separated by the natural landscape with a flow of clan tents to link them together. The throwing area is beautifully flat, well shaded and more than big enough to run four trigs, two height standards and a caber pitch at the same time; plenty of room to throw PRs and records on this field, for sure. In addition to, there is a separate tented area for throwers to relax during lunch breaks.
As ever the team of Ventress and Glasgow put on a great games, as you have read in my previous posts, this is no exception. Out of the shows they handle, I would imagine this is the home game for that particular team, and the love they put into the home game shows in a number of ways.  Speaking of numbers... Nine divisions contested all nine events this year at Mac; Women’s A and B, Men’s A, B, C, 190s, Masters 40-49, Masters 50-59 and Masters 60-69. No division had fewer than three competitors, and each had some field records and PRs broken with the staff, throwers and crowd cheering them on.
Not every game can brag that they have their own photographer, but MAC can. This is a benefit that I find particularly rewarding. The photos are from Larry Ventress, who as a thrower knows just when to get the best shots. These are all posted to his website (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/store.aspx?p=219074 ) where you can purchase your favorites for a song! These are a gift to a scrap booker, a great brag wall addition and a heck of a training tool. Still pictures never lie about what you need to correct!
You have heard me gush about the greatness of the Naughty Nurses Bar-be-que folks before, so settle info another round of mouthwatering raving. These folks just never stop with tasty hardy treats! I mean, honestly, shepard’s pie for the masses? This stuff was amazingly scrumptious and more than enough to fill the tank of even the biggest kid. Follow this up with mini M&M covered brownies and you are certainly fueled for the second half of the day. Ever attentive to detail and dietary needs the Nurses had several special side dishes to accommodate allergies and other restrictions. (read as: I got my very own special fruit salad sans the death of pineapple, color me spoiled!)
The women’s divisions had a total of nine throwers, I am sensing a theme here with the number nine, six in the A class and three in the B class. Once again I was busting my hump to keep up with the pack. When the pack includes folks like Emily Burchett, Felecia Simms (now Davis) and Melanie Mellinger keeping up is a good day! Your Texas girl worked hard for her 5th place finish, and while there were no PRs I threw a consistent game.  Emily showed us all how things were done, garnering a first place finish with an open stone PR of 36’10 and a heavy weight for distance that is kissing right under 40’. Felecia, our second place finisher, topped out the height standards with a throw of 14’6 standing; matching the highest throw in the Men’s A class. Melanie Mellinger apparently decided to get her groove back this year, and spent her day clipping at Felecia’s heels to earn her third place finish.  Clan Kressly had four throwers on the field at MAC, and Jera (Mama to the rest of y’all) dropped a bomb with a light weight over 60 feet, and finished in a decisive 4th place. Cassie Bennett rounded out our women’s a class with a lot of that, class and style, and a PR in heavy weight and sheaf.  
Our women’s B class first place finisher is a name I told you to watch for, Anna Parsch. Welcome to the A class, Anna.  Teresa Merrick and Amber Glasgow duked it out for a tie, I believe, and someone correct me if I am wrong here.  Amber had a PR in the heavy weight for distance, and matched her sheaf PR.  Teresa had a perfect 12’o’clock on the caber. Gatta love a show where there are enough women to have to class them out for the day!
Now, for prizes! Every girl loves a good prize, and this year the folks at Mac decided to try something new.  Every thrower received a certificate with their top marks in each event. For both women’s classes the top three finishers got a unique Celtic necklace.  The men’s classes received flasks with Celtic designs and an engraving of the year. Beautiful gifts to round out a beautiful experience.


  1. That sounds like an awesome games. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great writeup - thanks for sharing for those of us who couldn't be there in person. Keep rockin' on!