Highland games on display at Celtic Festival
SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) -This weekend Sherman celebrated the 5th annual Celtic Festival... and it wouldn’t have been complete without the traditional highland games.
”The festival is really centered around the highland games as well as our pipe and drum competition and our highland dancing,” said Rob Ballew, the founder and director of the Sherman Celtic Festival. “Everything else is extra added bonus.”
From throwing the caber to taking part in the sheaf toss, athletes came out to show off their strength and skills in some of the more uncommon sporting events.
”It’s difficult if you know what you’re doing,” said Ballew. “And it’s really, really difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
”Basically I just started coming to the competitions and learning as much as I could from my fellow competitors,” Elissa Van Vleck, highland games competitor. “So, it’s been a ride ever since then. You learn really quickly that you need a lot of endurance and strength.”
The different type of competition is what what drew several athletes to start taking part in the games.
”Some of the people I know also found highland games as the sport they moved to after they got tired of weightlifting,” said Kimberly Lim. “The sheaf toss is my favorite still. Probably having the Olympic weightlifting background helps a lot and being very tall. Since I’m 6′ 1′' I’m close to the bar than they are.”
”There’s nine events to to choose a favorite is difficult,” said Van Vleck. “But I’ve had a lot of success with the height events, sheaf.”
The highland games community is always looking to grow.
-”Different from other sports, that even though we’re competing against each other, everyone wants to to see you do your best job and will support you and coach you,” said Lim. “That’s what keeps me coming back.”
Those interested in getting involved in competing in the highland games, can reach out to the Sherman Celtic Festival on Facebook and they can put you in contact with a local athlete in Texoma.
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