Dan McKim Wins in Estes Park and Eyes Loon Mountain

Dan McKim took on a field of top competitors in fine form at Estes Park, in a run-up to the IHGF Highland Games World Championships at Loon Mountain this coming weekend.

2012 Longs Peak Highland Games
By Francis Brebner
The Longs Peak Highland Games, in Estes Park, Colorado this weekend was nothing short of spectacular as America’s top heavy athletes produced some of their best distances of the season.  The lineup included Sean Betz, Harrison Bailey, Mike Pockoski, Ryan Vierra, Rusty Price, Ryan Stewart, Will Barron, Dave Barron, Mike Zolkiewicz, Dan Williams, and Dan McKim.  Thousands of spectators turned out to participate in the many festivities on hand, but the heavy athletics was one of the favorites.
In the first event with the 24-lb. Braemar stone Price, fresh from his win in Braemar, Scotland at the Royal Scottish Highland Games, took the first victory with a distance of 43’ 2-1/2”; second place was McKim at 41’ 10” and third, Pockoski at 41’ 2”.
All eyes were on Price to take the win in the 16-lb. open stone, but the mighty McKim dominated with a class put of 56’ 2”, followed by Price at 53’ and Betz right behind at 52’ 11”.
The 56-lb. weight-for-distance was a highlight as the top three athletes went all out, with the win finally going to Williams with a remarkable throw of 45’ 2-1/2”.  McKim was second at 44’ 5” and Bailey third at 43’ 7-1/2”.
The 28-lb. weight-for-distance was riveting, a close match between Betz and McKim, the win finally going to Betz with a monster throw of 87’ 10”.  McKim’s effort was a very worthy throw of 86’ 4”; Bailey landed in third at 83’.
The 22-lb. hammer was over the top as McKim let rip with a gigantic throw 124’ 8-1/4” for a personal best and a new American ground record.  Pockoski followed at 120’ 10” with D. Barron in third at 116’.
The sparks continued to fly in the 16-hammer between McKim and Pockoski, producing some phenomenal distances.  McKim notched up another win at 140’ 7” with Pockoski in second at 137’.  D. Barron again took third at 136’.
The caber was won by Williams with an 11:00 toss.  McKim was second with 10:45 and D. Barron third with 9:30.
The 24-lb. sheaf toss was an intense competition between the top athletes, with Bailey clearing 34’ for the win and a four-way tie occurring for second place between Stewart, Williams, Pockoski, and McKim at a height of 32’.
Williams won the 56-lb. weight-over-bar at 19’ 6” using the spin technique.  Betz and Bailey spun to second and third respectively at 18’; and special mention must be given to both McKim and Price, who cleared 17’ using the traditional standing style.

Overall, the top three were:

Dan McKim
Mike Pockoski
Harrison Bailey III

Asking Dan McKim about his performance and his preparation before he competes in this year’s World Championships, he said he was happy to win against such a great field of athletes at Estes Park:  “At the moment my throwing is going as planned with just a week out before the World Championships in Loon Mountain.  I am very excited and looking forward to competing in my first pro World Championships and going up against a very tough field of the world’s best athletes.  Like any other athlete competing, I will give it my all on the day and hope that it’s enough in my quest to be this year’s world champion, but I know it is not going to be easy.”

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