At the Jackson Highland Games, the day starts early in the morning, heavy things are thrown, and participants do not wear pants, but traditional Scottish kilts.
Amateur highland games competitors come from all over Michigan and around the country. They all have different professional such as doctors, police officers, autoworkers, teachers, nurses, firefighters, newspaper editors, active and retired military, professors, paramedics and everything in between.
Why would someone want to grab a 56 lb weight and try to throw it as far as they can horizontally and also vertically? That’s like going to the grocery store and grabbing six and a half gallons of milk with one hand. Why would someone want to lift up a giant tree trunk and try to not only run with it, but throw it and try to turn it over…all while not dropping it and severely hurting ourselves? Well, there are people that participate professionally. However, most people do it for the fun and the bragging rights. Sure, it’s a competition and it can be pretty competitive, but at the end of the day, it’s fun and one big social club that has participants lift weights more than they might usually do.
Competitors travel around the state most of the summer to participate in multiple highland games and it’s basically one big party. Some participants throw harder when they hear cheers and some throw harder when we hear boos. They feed off the crowd and look forward their response. There's no doubt that the Jackson Highland Games is an incredible show of strength and provides great entertainment for spectators.
--Written by Ian Shaw
Ian Shaw has been in Jackson for 14 years. He works in the EMS community. His favorite part of the year is when he can compete and catch up with his highland games brothers and sisters and they all poke fun at each other mercilessly.