Game pulls in new event
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 08:18 am
A variety of skills and abilities are put to the test as dozens prove their worth as Scottsmen and Scottswomen in the Foothills Highland Games each summer.
This month, organizers are adding a new competition to the line-up – a game of tug o’ war.
Event organizer Andrew Gustafson is hoping it will pique the interest of those with a competitive edge who want to put their strength and skill to the test at the Foothills Highland Games on Aug. 24.
The Highland Games is an annual celebration bringing the Scottish culture to Okotoks each summer and features Celtic music, traditional Scottish games, dancing, piping, drumming and ethnic food.
Teams, which must be made up of three women and three men, pay a registration fee of $100, which will be used as prize money. Money left over will go towards High River residents impacted by the flood.
“A group of people working hard towards a goal is something that builds community and builds friendship,” he said. “That’s all it’s about, hanging out and having fun for the day.”
In the spirit of strength and strategy in the heavy games, which includes the ever-popular caber toss and hammer throw, Gustafson said the tug o’ war is a little more lighthearted.
“Somebody is always going to fall over and that’s always comical,” he said. “There’s seven minutes between each competition so they can watch the games, enjoy a haggis burger and enjoy the dance competitions as well. The Highland Games are a blast.”
The idea of the tug o’ war came from one of the Foothills Highland Games organizers and Gustafson said he couldn’t help but hop on board.
“Being the fitness geek I am I said that will be pretty awesome,” he said. “It’s simple. Anybody can participate.”
Gustafson said he expects to have no problem coming up with 16 teams. He envisions teams made up of firefighters, RCMP officers, high school football and rugby players and staff from local businesses, among others.
Each team must be made up of three women and three men.
“I’ve been talking to people at the gym and have people interested,” he said. “We haven’t spread the word beyond that yet.”
The winner is declared as the team that pulls their opposition four metres from the starting mark. Gustafson said each competition will be timed in the event of a tie.
Winning a game of tug o’ war isn’t just about strength. There are techniques and skills teams can use so the match doesn’t end with their faces dragging in the mud, said Gustafson.
“Being big and strong helps you win, but you don’t have to be big and strong to enter,” he said.
Gustafson said there are little things teams can do to compensate for a lack of strength if their opposing team appears to be all muscle.
“It’s about pulling hard and moving back one step at a time,” he said. “The trick is to get as low as possible and keep your feet on the ground.”
Teams can’t get too low. Gustafson said elbows must stay above the knee.
Competitors must abide by a number of other rules, including no spiked footwear, no hand-over-hand pulling, competitors must move with the rope when pulling and each team’s anchorman or woman can loop the rope around his or her shoulder or waist, but knotting is not permitted.
Teams will compete in a pool format with a match taking place every seven minutes starting at 1 p.m. The final match will be shortly after 5 p.m., Gustafson said.
The first place team will receive $600, the second place team $300 and the third place team $100.
To register for the tug o’ war event or for more information contact Andrew Gustafson at Andrew@naturalhigh.ca