Some sports make it in the main stream.
Basketball and baseball are huge across the globe. Football is huge in America, and futbol (soccer) is a phenomenon just about everywhere else.
Tennis and golf has a large following, and hockey has carved out its place in sports enthusiasts’ hearts.
Then there is a the Highland Games.
For those lightly aware of this competition, the name evokes images of large men in kilts flinging massive, wooden poles around.
For those who compete, just like Great Bend’s David Tudor, it is just as thrilling as any other sport.
For Tudor, the whole thing started when he was looking for something to compete in during the power lifting offseason.
“I do power lifting, and you can only compete in two competitions in a year or else you can get hurt,” Tudor said, “so I was looking for something I could compete in during the offseason.”
Tudor has competed in two Highland Games this year, once in Lucas, where he finished first in the ‘C’ class.
Last weekend, he competed in Topeka, placing fourth out of 13 competitors.
Tudor discovered the Highland Games in McPherson.
“McPherson has had a Scottish festival for years, and I’ve always wanted to go,” Tudor said. “They have the games there, but I never got to do it.”
So Tudor reached out to the man who organized the games, Dave Glasgow.
“(Glasgow) set up practices for me, and I practiced in McPherson once a week,” Tudor said.
The games are broken down into eight events — weight over the bar, light hammer throw, heavy hammer throw, light Braemar stone, heavy Braemar stone, sheaf toss, caber toss and weight for distance.
Some are self-explanatory.
Weight over bar is putting a weight over a bar, highest wins. Weight for distance is launching a certain weight as far as you can, furthest wins.
The hammer throw is similar to the hammer throw in track and field.
Others are a little more mysterious.
The caber toss is the event most viewers recognize. That’s the massive log that competitors flip end-over-end.
Braemer stone is similar to a shot put with stones of 22 and 16 pounds.
The sheaf toss is a 20-pound bundle of straw getting tossed over a raised bar by a pitchfork.
Tudor competes in all eight, though when he’s talking to most people about the games, he usually starts with the caber toss.
“A lot of people, when I tell them that I compete in the Highland Games, they ask if it’s that competition where the guys throw a telephone pole,” Tudor said. “There is a large following, really. There are about eight games in Kansas and there is usually a lot of people who come out to watch.”
With the win in the ‘C’ class, Tudor will get the chance to compete in the ‘B’ class soon, something he intends to do.
“Absolutely,” Tudor said. “I’ve been practicing three times a week. I love competing in the games.”