Matt Vincent made a lot of people on the Highland Games circuit believers last year and now you can add a victory at the 2012 Las Vegas Highland Games to his resume—Francis Brebner reported on the action for IronMind.
2012 Las Vegas Highland Games
by Francis Brebner
The Las Vegas Highland Games this past weekend had almost a hundred athletes competing. In the Pro division, a total of nine athletes made up the group, including Dan Williams, Rusty Price, Matt Vincent, Chad Gustin, Ryan Stewart, Greg Bell, Doug Steiger, Darius Slowik, and John Odden.
On Friday night a special event kicked off the Las Vegas Highland Games festival, the grandly billed SAAA World Record Caber Toss of 32 cabers in the air on world-famous Fremont Street—quite simply the result of having 32 athletes toss at the same time 32 cabers.
This spectacular event attracted several thousand spectators, many of whom stood for nearly two hours to get a glimpse of the action. Athletes walked the quarter-mile length of Fremont Street in a parade that was headed by the Las Vegas Pipe Band, with fans lining both sides of the streets cheering these tartan-clad warriors. After the opening ceremonies, the athletes took their places and successfully made history in tossing the 32 cabers, and included in the lineup of athletes was World Strongest Man competitor and Las Vegas’ very own Nick Best.
On the first day of competition in the Pro ranks, Vincent dominated the 22-lb. Braemar stone with a class put of 43’ 7-3/4”; in second place was Price with 41’ 9-1/4” and in third place, Williams with 40’ 3/4”.
In the 16-lb. open stone, gasps could be heard all around as Vincent blasted the stone 60’ 5” into a realm all of its own for the win. Price was second with 53’ 1-1/2” and Bell third at 48’ 4-3/4”. On extra attempts Vincent produced an outstanding series of puts, fouling one at 62’ 7”.
In the 56-lb. weight-for-distance, Vincent kept up the high standard of throwing, adding his third win with 45’ 6”. Dan Williams was just inches behind at 45’ 1-1/2” and Gustin landed in third place with a respectable 43’ 1-1/2”.
A dour-looking 28-lb. weight did not deter Vincent in the slightest as he ripped out a series world-class throws, all over 80’ with his best being 85’ 9”. In second place was Gustin with 79’ 2”, and in third, Price with 77’.
Vincent controlled the 16-lb. hammer with a throw of 130’ 3” for the win. Odden took second place, throwing 121’ 9”; Price threw the same distance but placed third on countback.
In the 22-lb. hammer Vincent pulled out his sixth straight win with a throw of 106’ 11”, followed by Price at 100’ 10” for second and Bell at 98’ 8” for third.
The seventh event of the competition, the 56-lb. weight-over-bar, was the end of Vincent’s run of consecutive wins, as Williams claimed his first victory with a height of 17’. Stewart came in second place at 16’; and Matt Vincent also had 16’ but placed third on countback.
The 20-lb. sheaf toss was also won by Williams with a height of 29’ and again Stewart came in second place with his 27’ toss; Price was third on countback, also at 27’.
The caber toss was the final event, and the caber at 18’ and a 130-lb. proved a very hard stick to maneuver, with only three athletes successfully getting a turn. Gustin nailed the winning toss of 11:10; in second place was Williams with 11:00 and in third place was Bell with 10:30.
Asking Vincent about his high standard of performance, he said he was happy with the way his training had been going during the off-season and he was looking forward to the season ahead. His riveting performance of 60’ 5” in the 16-lb. open stone was not that far off Brian Oldfield’s world record of 63’ 7”, and Vincent said it was a personal best, but having fouled 62’ 7”, he feels he has plenty of room to improve: “I have my sights set on hopefully establishing a world record in the very near future.”
Special mention must also be given to Jacob Nicol in the lightweight class, who set two world records, one in the 22-lb. Braemar stone at 36’ 5” and one in the 16-lb. open stone at 48’ 3/4”.
The athletic director for the Games, Clint Barker, and SAAA president Dave Garman were delighted with the way the Games turned out and look forward to making next year’s event even more spectacular: