Maintaining his momentum on the Scottish Highland Games circuit, Rusty Price won both the Dornoch and the Aboyne Highland Games over the weekend, and Francis Brebner called the action for IronMind.
2011 Dornoch Highland Games
by Francis Brebner
The Dornoch Highland Games in the far northeast of Scotland hosted a lineup of seven international heavy athletes, including Scotland’s Craig Sinclair, Sinclair Patience and Jason Young, England’s Scott Rider, America’s Rusty Price and Dave Barron, and Germany’s Markus Vortriede. A day of sunshine attracted over two thousand locals who had come to glimpse the athletes in the much published hammer events. These two events had an extra prize of a $1,000 for any athlete who could break the hammer records held by Scotland’s legendary Bill Anderson: the 16-lb. hammer at 141’ 9” set in 1968 and the 22-lb. hammer at 116’ 8” set in 1968. These very same hammers in fact are still used each year at the Games and are described by Anderson as dour brutes. Anderson was on hand to make the presentation, but there were no takers.
In the 16-lb. shot, which is Rider’s forte, he blasted out the winning throw with a very impressive 57’ 3”, establishing a new ground record. The 22-lb. shot highlighted the competition between Rider and Price, with Rider thrilling the crowds with another sensational put of 46’ 10-1/2” to Price’s close second at 45’ 4”.
Everyone’s attention was glued to the 16-lb. hammer to see if any athlete could surpass Anderson’s records. Price was the winner with a distance of 126’ 1”, quite short of the ground record. In the 22-lb. hammer, Scotland’s number one hammer thrower, Sinclair, had the best attempt at Anderson’s mark with 111’ 4”, just 5’ short of the 43-year-old record.
Rider pulled out his second win in the 28-lb. weight-for-distance with a superb throw of 84’ 6”, after which Price notched up his fourth win in the 56-lb. weight-for-distance at 41’ 4”.
The caber, a colossal 24’ in length and 110 lb. in weight, was tossed for a perfect 12:00 and first place by Rider. Barron won the 56-lb. weight-over-bar with 15’.
1. Rusty Price
2. Scott Rider
3. Dave Barron
Price was thrilled to have the chance to compete against Olympian shot putter Rider, saying “It was great seeing Scott pull out some [big] numbers in the shot. My next Games is at Aboyne, where legends of the sport like Donald Dinnie, George Clark, and Bill Anderson have all held records. I am looking forward to going head to head against Scott Rider once again, but in the stones this time.
2011 Aboyne Highland Games
by Francis Brebner
The Aboyne Highland Games, the tenth Highland Games in the Glenfiddich–Grampian Championships League series, was set in the majestic Royal Deeside, Scotland and attracted more than fifteen thousand spectators despite the overcast weather. Seven athletes included four top billers Craig Sinclair, Rusty Price, Bruce Robb, and Scott Rider; and the new blood of the sport were James Blackhall, Dale Walker, Greg Walker, and Grant Sinclair, who was the morning’s winner of the Glenfiddich Junior League.
A new format for these Games was introduced with throwing the heavy implement first, then going to the light implement in each throwing discipline. Thus began the first event, the 22-lb. open stone, by no means an easy stone to put as the shape is a complete sphere and looks the size of a basketball. Price and Rider were at it head-to-head, with Price dominating with a winning put of 45’ 10”. Unfortunately Rider picked up a groin injury in the very first round, which set him back dearly and he had to settle for a well under par throw of 41’ 5”.
Price stepped it up again in the 17-lb. stone for his second win with a thrilling put of 54’ 10”. Rider trailed at 50’ 5”.
Price, now brimming with confidence and two wins under his belt, pulled off his third win in the 56-lb. weight-for-distance with a throw of 42’ 6”, less than 3’ off the ground record held by Francis Brebner since 1997. Price looked unstoppable as he lashed out a victorious throw of 79’ 6” in the 28-lb. weight-for-distance.
In the 22-lb. hammer, Scotland’s number one ranked hammer thrower, Sinclair, pulled out a superb throw of a 108’ 3” with a very dour thick-handled shaft. It was no surprise in the 16-lb. hammer to see Sinclair take his second win with a distance of 128’ 6”.
The caber toss, with a caber 19’ long and 135 lb. in weight, ended in a tie between Sinclair and Price, both nailing a perfect 12:00. The 56-lb. weight-over-bar ended in a tie for first place between Sinclair and Price as well, at 15’.
Talking with Price about the high standard of throwing that he has been able to maintain for the last month since arriving in Scotland for the Games circuit and incredibly placing no lower than the top two in every Games he has competed in thus far, and his plans for the rest of the Games, Price said, “I have trained solely for this tour of the Scottish Games for nearly a year in advance, knowing I would be competing in more Games than I would normally. I put myself through a vigorous training regimen that prepared me for so many Games back to back. My throwing is going according to plan and I hope to peak for the Scottish Championships at Crieff and the Royal Braemar Gathering. If I can sustain my routine of placing in the top two, I will be happy enough, but my sights are set on winning the Scottish Championships and Braemar as these are two major events that every athlete in Scotland dreams about winning.”
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