McPherson Highland Games: Becker Headed to Norway

Kevin Becker was second on both hammers, as well as being the overall winner of the HSAS/IHGF All American Championships, so this means he’s qualified to go to Fefor, Norway for the 2016 IHGF World Amateur Highland Games Championships. IronMind® | Larry Ventress photo

The ever-popular McPherson, Kansas Highland Games hosted the HSAS/IHGF All American Highland Games Championships and Francis Brebner, who was on the field, called the action for IronMind.

2015 McPherson Highland Games Teams Up With All American Highland Games Championships
by Francis Brebner

International Highland Games Federation (IHGF)

One of the highlights this past weekend at the 2015 McPherson Highland Games in McPherson, Kansas was undoubtingly the HSAS/IHGF All American Highland Games Championships, with a total of 10 athletes taking part in eight events over two days of heated competition. On Saturday, 28 athletes took to the field for the men’s amateur A B & C groups, the women’s masters, and the women’s amateur class. Competing in the HSAS/IHGF All American Highland Games Championships were: Bryan Staggs, Ryan Huddleston, Eddie Johnson, Keith Painter, Andrew Heaton, Gary Randolf, Skyler Arneston, Matt Hand, Scott Hutchinson, and Kevin Becker.
Becker, of Texas, comes from a track and field background, and he gave a top-notch all-round performance at only 235-lb. in bodyweight. He has a great future in the sport of Highland Games, no doubt. But Becker had to work as he was pushed by Hutchinson, who was hungry for the title and a chance to represent his country in a second World Amateur Highland Games Championships. After the dust had settled, though, Becker had secured top honors and will go forward in the 2016 IHGF World Amateur Highland Games Championships in Fefor, Norway.
In the 22-lb. Braemar stone, the all-out action had Skylar Arneston clinching the victory with a putt of 37’ 8”, followed by Becker at 36’ 8” and in close third, Hand at 36’ 4”.
In the 16-lb. open stone Randolf astonished everyone with a world-class series of putts, his best being 54’ 7” for the win. Arneston was second with a respectable 50’ 7”, with Hutchinson in third at 46’ 5” and Becker trailing at 44’ 7.5”.
Becker outpaced the field by a foot in the 28-lb. weight-for-distance with throws over 80’ and his best at 84’ 9” for the win. Second was Hutchinson at 72’ even and third, Hand at 70’ 4”.
In the 56-lb. weight for distance, Becker kept up his form with another terrific display of throws, besting the field by almost 8” with 42’ 2”. Hutchinson did 34’ 6” for second and Hand 33’ 11” for third.
The hammers were very close between the two leaders, Becker and Hutchinson, with Hutchinson taking both wins: 122’ 6” in the 16-lb. hammer to Becker’s 121’ 5”, with third-place Hand at 120’ 3”; and 98’ 7” in the 22-lb. hammer to Becker’s 96’ 10”, with Hand at 92’ 11” for third.
The 56-lb. weight over bar was big event for Becker, who made a big impression on 5-time world champion Ryan Vierra, as well as myself, when he topped 17’ and then attempted 18’ 1”. Arneston was second at 16’, with Hutchinson and Hand both at 14’.
The caber, measuring 16’ long and weighing 114-lb., proved a real challenge and was scored on degrees, the win finally going to Becker with 75 degrees, followed by Hutchinson at 65 and Heaton at 55.
The IHGF would like to thank the McPherson Highland Games for hosting the All American Championships and specifically, the games athletic directors, Dave and Gunner Glasgow and Larry and Terri Ventress, who made it all possible. Dave Glasgow noted that it was a great weekend and good to see all the new blood coming into the sport, ensuring that its traditions will continue, and to have McPherson as a progression for the athletes to the IHGF World Amateur Highland Games Championships. Brebner said that the IHGF is working on an All American series which will involve 5 to 6 qualifying games for next year’s All American Highland Games Championships.


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