Friday 4th November – Getting to Hororata International Highland Games Competition
To Travel to my first International Highland Games competition at Hororata New Zealand, it was an early 5am start.
Driving down the mountain (Blue Mountains) I picked up Big Luke Reynolds before travelling to Sydney International airport.
Once at the airport we met up with Craig Reid (Australian Highland Games champion). The three of us were the Australian competitors who would be competing in New Zealand.
I was not very nervous about the competition but as I hate flying I was packing it (Australian for Nervous as Hell!).
After arriving in Christchurch it was about 1 degree and light snow was on the ground.
We were picked up in a 1st class Rolls Royce and we cruised to the event grounds at Horoata to inspect the venue.
The town of Hororata was ravaged by the 1st earth quake that hit NZ and the Highland Games was a good-will fund raising event.
Saturday 5th November – Competition Day – Hororata International Highland Games Competition
As they had predicted the day before, the weather was fine and sunny.
We started the day by making the cabers which we would later toss, with the help of one of the wood chop competitors, who felled them for us.
Then into the coaching clinics for the novice competitors of which there were 16 entered including the international rugby
union prop Ben Franks who was part of the All Blacks world cup winning team. As you’d expect in New Zealand this really drew the crowds once the novice comp started.
The novices were brilliant with a couple of really good throwers in amongst them and a few who were out for a good time with hip flask in hand. The big crowds were very supportive of these guys and they really put on a show for them.
The main competition started after lunch and it was a close fought battle over five events.
These events were:
1) Open stone putt 18lb
2) Standing stone putt 22lbs
These are not my best events, but fortunately I was still in the mix.
3) Sheaf toss
This is my best event and coming out on top 🙂 was a huge achievement over the NZ champ and the Australian champ.
4) Hammer throw
In this event I was respectably in the middle of the pack.
5) Caber Toss
I have struggled in the past at this event but excitingly I finally turned the large NZ caber with a score of 3 past 12, the best turn to date for me.
Overall Results for the Hororata International Highland Games 2011
Pat Hellier the New Zealand champion again won the competition, with Craig Reid the Australian champ runner-up whilst I was quite content with my mid-table finish.
Overall the games drew about 12,000 people and it is expected the games will have raised close to $100 000 for the earthquake appeal, which is brilliant.
Not over Yet!!!
After the comp my thoughts turned to the next day in Sydney the Australian Highland Games championships.
Crazily we would have to get up at 2am Australian time to catch our flight to Sydney to be at the Sydney competition grounds at 10am, which would definitely not be classed as a great way to prepare for a big competition.
Also on our flight back to Australia was the top two New Zealand competitors.
After arriving at airport in Sydney the sight of 5 very large blokes in a small sedan car with all our luggage and competition equipment, would have been a laughable sight. It was hell to be sitting in that car to say the least but it will be a memory I’ll have for ever, (remembering that I was the smallest at 125kgs)
Competing at the Hororata International Highland Games was a fantastic experience and to get an event win over some of the best in Australasia was a huge personal success and I had a great time.
Thank you to Craig Reid for getting me over to New Zealand for my first international Highland Games ( first of many to come). and thanks for all the support from my sponsor Viking Supplements.