The Daily Evergreen

Rain and hail won’t keep them down

BY CATHERINE KRUSE | Evergreen reporter

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Stand aside, Men in Tights. Here come Men in Pink Kilts.

Saturday was the 13th annual Pullman Highland Games, put on by the Resonate Church every October. More than 100 men came out, all of them wearing kilts to represent their own clans, and participated in nine different events.

“We’re trying to have an event that’s good for the guys and (helps) connect to the community,” said Karl Olsen, director for the event and member of the clan Fear the Beard.

Clans are made up of six people, who are able to choose their own clan name and wear a certain colored kilt for the entirety of the games.

Cameron Wofford, a WSU sophomore majoring in athletic training, described the different games as a burst of energy. He heard about the event through some friends who participated last year. This year, he joined the clan Kalafitoni and got to wear a kilt for the first time.

“I love the caber toss,” he said. “It’s challenging, but fun. You could be super strong but if you don’t throw (the caber) right it won’t work.”

The games started on the Glenn Terrell Mall in front of the CUB, where the different clans gathered together. Olsen lit a torch and gave the “Braveheart” speech before they all ran two miles to a farm outside of town where the games took place.

“Everyone was shouting ‘Freedom!’ all the way there,” said Jacob Siebe, a senior studying physics who was a member of the Swolley Mammoths clan.

Once the clans reached the games area, they split off to the different events in a round robin session. Each clan member showed off their strength and skill through obstacle courses and throwing heavy objects such as logs, kegs and large rocks.

The different games included ones based on traditional Scottish games and some nontraditional. Traditional games included the keg toss and the caber toss, where the participants were required to balance a log perpendicular to the ground and throw it as far as they could.

“There were four different difficulties,” Siebe said. “They change the height and length of each log. It’s an iconic highland games event.”

Some of the nontraditional games included the axe toss, rock toss, and the wall siege. The wall siege required clan members to work together in climbing up a wall, filling a bucket on the other side with water, and then having all the members climb back over the wall and return to the starting point.

Some of the other events included an obstacle course and a foot race, different from the Highland Run earlier in the day.

The mud resulting from falling water made things very slippery, and the clan members needed to work together to get everyone over the wall while also making sure nobody broke something. Many of the members, when climbing over the wall the second time, decided to jump down and splatter mud over the spectators.

“I would describe (the games) as ridiculous fun,” said Jason Becker, a WSU senior studying mechanical engineering. “It’s not about doing the best, it’s about doing your best.”

Becker’s clan was known as Tuf Enough 2 Wear Pink, and to prove it the clan members all wore pink kilts throughout the games.

There was a slight downside to the event: the downpour of rain and hail coupled with thunder. But despite the freak bout of bad weather, the games continued on and the guys kept playing through it.

“The hail and rain made it difficult, (but) it makes a good memory,” Wofford said. “I’ll definitely come back next year.

Siebe said the rain and hail made the games feel more Scottish. While doing the games on a nice day would’ve been fun, the stormy weather added an extra challenge with everything so slippery and the hail pounding down on everybody, he said. Luckily for participants and spectators, there was hot chocolate and a roaring bonfire.

“We had hail, thunder, and fire all in one moment,” he said.

The Highland Games aren’t just for those with Scottish heritage. Wofford has a little Scottish in him while Becker isn’t Scottish at all. Olsen said the event is for whoever wants to come out, have fun, and wear a kilt.

The top three clans, ranked in order from first to third, were David and Goliaths, The Kilt Kickers, and Tim Howard’s Beard.

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Rain and hail won’t keep them down