Daniel McKim Wins the 2010 Longs Peak Highland Games

Riding his wave of big wins, Dan McKim won the Longs Peak Highland Games last weekend.

2010 Longs Peak Highland Games
by Francis Brebner
After his triumphant performance Labor Day weekend in Pleasanton, California where he won the overall heavy events competition and the IHGF Caber World Championships, Dan McKim pulled out another victory at the renowned Longs Peak Highland Games in Estes Park, Colorado this past weekend.
Several thousand spectators flocked to Estes Park to see some of America’s best athletes contest the eight traditional Highland Games events—and it all came down to the final event between McKim, Sean Betz, and Mike Pockoski, with McKim winning the overall by only a half point over Pockoski and one point over Betz.  The Longs Peak Highland Games are known for its striking scenic views, and it had ideal weather conditions in the mid 70s, just perfect for the mammoth distances that were thrown.
The opening event with the 30-lb. Braemar stone was a very close competition, with five athletes clustered in a narrow range after the second round.  In the final round, McKim pulled into the lead, only to be overtaken by Betz, who pushed McKim into second place, with Mike Zolkiewicz taking third place.
The 16-lb. open stone was won by McKim with an outstanding put.  In a very close second place was Betz, with Pockoski in third.  In addition, Dan McKim had two outstanding extra throws, with one being a personal best.
In the 56-lb. weight for distance, newcomer Chad Gustin won with a great throw, followed by Pockoski in second, and McKim and Betz in third and fourth places respectively.
In the 28-lb. weight for distance Betz found his winning form again, with Zolkiewicz coming in second place and Pockoski third. With extra throws, Betz improved his distance, but unfortunately fouled an attempt that was even farther.
In the caber event, only three athletes turned the mighty 19-ft., 150-lb. stick, with the current IHGF Caber world champion McKim slamming home a 12:00 toss for the win; in second place was Dave Barron, with Pockoski in third.
The next two events were the hammers and they were flying from Pockoski, McKim, Betz, and Barron.  The heavy hammer was won by the current IHGF Hammer world champion Pockoski, with McKim in a very close second place.  In third place was Barron and in fourth, Betz.
In the 16-lb. hammer, the results were nearly the same order, with Pockoski once again nailing the win with a superb distance.  In second place was McKim; this time Betz was in third place, nudging Barron into fourth position.
In the 56-lb. weight over the bar, Zolkiewicz took down Matt Sandford’s longstanding field record with a new ground record throw.   Betz was second, with Barron in third place on countback.  Pockoski and McKim showed their consistency in this event as well.
There is no doubt that McKim, Pockoski, and Zolkiewicz are three of the new rising stars in the sport:  all have won similar IHGF World Championship events such as the caber, hammers and weight over the bar in fewer than four years since turning pro and all have a great future ahead of them in the sport of Highland Games, alongside other current and successful American champions like Ryan Vierra, Sean Betz and Larry Brock.
Next weekend we will see the climax of the IHGF World Heavy Events Team Championship at one of America’s premier Highland Games locations at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire, which will also be the final event of the 2010 IHGF World Highland Games Series.  Highland Games fans from Europe are planning the trip to watch the final Highland Games highlight of the year.

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