SALADO – After a virtual program last year, the Scots were back in town on Saturday for the 60th Scottish Gathering and Highland Games.
The rally opened Friday night with a clan calling ceremony at Salado Creek. Saturday’s attractions – including a village of 51 clans, track and field games, bagpipe and drum competitions, and live Celtic music – drew large crowds at this year’s new location in Johnny’s Outback.
Today’s program opens with a church service at 9 am and ends with a marching band parade at 2:30 pm There will also be live Celtic music, a Celtic market and local food vendors. and Scottish.
This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are no Highland dance competitions
One of the muscular young men waiting to compete in the track and field games on Saturday was Michael Wilson, 43, who grew up in Belton but lives in Georgetown. A correctional officer at Bell County Jail, he lifts weights regularly, he said, but this would be his first try at the Scottish Track and Field Games.
“I’m here almost every year to watch it,” he said. “I worked on the footwork. I am completely new to this area.
Among the events he faced was Tossing the Caber. He would try to throw the 150-pound, 18-foot caber end to end so that it landed with the small end pointing away from it.
Her daughter, Caity Wilson, a freshman at Georgetown High School, said she was not an athlete and wanted to study law.
“I think it will be good,” she said. “I really hope for the best. “
Ryan Kidder of Dallas said this was his seventh year competing in the Scottish Games.
“Caber is one of my best,” he says. “He still has his bad days, but it’s one of my best times.”
Throwing the caber is a slow event, he said.
“You just have to do each step,” he said. “You have your choice, your race, then your throw. You can’t rush them, because if you rush them, he collapses.
Throwing the wreath is his worst event, he said, and it’s like a baseball swing.
“You have to do it right,” he said.
Heath Snow, 45, of Cedar Park, who has played in other Scottish games, said it was his second appearance at the Salado rally.
“The guys are really ready to teach you how to improve yourself,” he said. “We have a huge mix of skill levels. We have guys who are still learning and guys who are global.
He hopes to get better and one day “compete in the area where my family comes from,” he said.
Tim Carrington, 64, of Austin said this was his 12th year at the games. In 2014, he said, he participated in the Braemar Gathering in Scotland, which is still attended by the Queen of England and the Royal Family.
He said one of the stone throwing events is similar to the athletics shot put. The Olympic hammer throw also came from the Scottish games, he said. With the exception of the wreath-throwing, he said, all sporting events were part of the old Scottish military training.