Next up on the IHGF circuit will be the 2015 IHGF World Highland Games Championships held in beautiful Bressuire, France June 13 & 14.




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IHGF Amateur World Championships

by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Click HERE for Promo Video

“The 2014 IHGF World Amateur Highland Games Championships have been scheduled for June 28-29th in Andoy, Norway —hosted by the NHGA, an affiliate of the IHGF,” according to a press release sent to IronMind.??

Norway is hosting the 2014 IHGF Amateur Highland Games World Championships. IronMind® | Courtesy of IHGF

“The IHGF are very happy to be working with such very good sports promoters as Sveinung Tangstad, president of the NHGA, and his wife, Lisbeth Seppola, the executive producer of the games.  They have a real passion for the sport of Highland Games.

“We are very pleased that Andoy, Norway is selected as this year’s hosting country for the IHGF World Amateur Highland Games Championships and for us to be able to bring the best amateur athletes from around the world to compete in our Highland Games here in Norway.  This championships will be filmed for Norwegian TV as well as for other parts of Europe and USA TV networks is just magnificent.

“This is a very good launch to our plans within the NHGA in stepping it up with the hosting of World Championship events.  Our aim is to build the sport much bigger for our athletes and also essentially to encourage more young blood into the sport here in Norway. ??“Furthermore, we have an outlook of building these games into an annual fixture on the international circuit, with our new hotel business, situated in one of the most picturesque settings overlooking the fjords and the ocean view in Northern Norway. We have built a training camp for Highland games throwing as well as a state of the art gym where young Norwegian athletes can get firsthand training in the sport and get all the help and encouragement to progress.”

“We are also very delighted to be working with the IHGF as the world governing body for Highland Games in bringing the sport of Highland games to the next level here in Norway. We have arranged to have the IHGF hold seminars teaching about each of the throwing disciplines, the sport and its history, for the young athletes while here in Norway prior to the World Amateur Highland Games Championships.


Jonathan Kelly (Ireland)

Daniel Dorow (Germany)

Martin Schiller (Austria)

Pieter Karst Bouma (Holland)  

Attila Szabo (Hungary)          

Jimmy Van De Walle (Belgium)

Stuart Anderson (Scotland)

Scott Hutchison (USA)

Duncan McCallum (USA)

Paul Boundy (Canada)

Yrjö Hämäläinen (Finland)

Daniel Viklund (Sweden)

Robert Stakston (Norway)

Dan McKim Wins IHGF World Championships

by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2013 IronMind

Dan McKim added another feather to his cap this weekend as he won the International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) World Championships in Dana Point, California.

Dan McKim on the Scottish hammer at the 2013 IHGF World Championships, which McKim won. IronMind® | Courtesy of IHGF

Dan McKim on the Scottish hammer at the 2013 IHGF World Championships, which McKim won.  IronMind® | Courtesy of IHG

Highland Games and Southern California have a history of mixing well and the IHGF World Championships held in Dana Point this past weekend were no exception.

IHGF spokesman Francis Brebner called the competition, “a massive success, “ and told IronMind, “This is the very first time that a games of any kind had been held in Dana Point.  Organized and promoted by the City of Dana Point and EventWerks, they did an outstanding job of putting everything together and left no stone upturned when it came creating a truly Scottish Highland Games atmosphere which included pipe bands, dancing, fiddle and harp music, the clans, battle reenactments, traditional Scottish music, Scottish food, children’s glen, etc. 

“Thousands turned out each day to watch twelve of the world’s top Highland Games athletes battle it out over two days of the most  heated competition I have ever witnessed at any world championships.

“Highlights included:

Dan McKim (USA) winning the Hammer with 143' 9-1/2” in the 16-lb. hammer and 123' 9" with the 22-lb. hammer?

Scott Rider (England) winning the 16-lb. Open Stone 57 '8-1/2”,

Sebastian Wenta (Poland) winning the 22-lb Braemar Stone with 44' 7"

Matt Vincent (USA) winning the 28-lb. weight-for-distance with 87' 10"

Sebastian Wenta winning the 56-lb. weight-for-distance with 43' 11"

Mike Zolkiewicz (USA) winning the 56-lb. weight for height with 17' 6"

Dan McKim winning the caber (19' 10" in length and 130 lb.) with a perfect 12 o'clock toss,” said Brebner.

Overall results

1. Dan McKim

2. Matt Vincent

3. Sebastian Wenta

4. Scott Rider

5. Matt Docherty

6. Craig Sinclair

7. Sean Betz

8. Jon O’Neil

9. Mike Zolkiewicz

10. Ryan Stewart

11. Greg Hadley

12. Hans Lolkema

"What an honor it was to be a part of such an amazing event," Dan McKim told IronMind.  "The IHGF put on a spectacular show with huge crowds, great implements and the top athletes in the world.  When I started this sport nine years ago, I had no idea I'd be fortunate enough to compete at this level, travel across the globe or meet this many amazing people.  God has been incredibly gracious to me and my family with this blessing."

an McKim Doubles at Pleasanton

by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2013 IronMind

2011 Highland Games world champion Dan McKim (USA) notched two big victories in Pleasanton, California this weekend as he overwhelmed the field in the professional class heavy events competition at the 147th Highland Games & Gathering presented by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco, and then added another victory for good measure.

Tell it goodbye: Dan McKim won both hammers, but it was his consistency across events that nailed his overall individual victory in Pleasanton, California at one of the world’s largest and most prestigious Highland Games competitions. IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.

Not content to win the individual title after beating his nearest rival (Sebastian Wenta) by 16 points, McKim (with Jon O’Neil) also bagged the 2012 IHGF World Highland Games Team Championships—nudging Sebastian and Lucas Wenta by two points. No need for him to feel like a bridesmaid, though, because Sebastian Wenta won the 2012 IHGF World Caber Championships.

Sebastian Wenta (Poland) was second in the individual competition, second (along with his brother, Lucas) in the team competition, but he reigned supreme in the caber. Even the mighty former World’s Strongest Man competitor could not turn the big IronMind caber, so a smaller stick was brought in for rounds two and three. If it was beyond the 2012 IHGF World Caber Champion, who will be the first man to turn the big IronMind caber? IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.

Other highlights from the weekend included Mike Zolkiewicz setting a new field record in the 56-lb. weight for height with a (standing) throw of 18’ 2”. Zolkiewicz also won the 2012 IHGF World Weight Over the Bar Championships the next day, with a throw of 17’ 6”.

Think you're way up there on the explosive chart, but things like the snatch or even the clean are too technical to allow you to prove your point? Grab a 56-lb. weight see how high you can throw it and if you're the real deal you'll break 18 ft. like Mike Zolkiewicz. Pink power. IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.

Another terrrifc weekend in Pleasanton: Watch for the full contest report in MILO.

IHGF World Highland Games Strength Challenge Championships

by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2013 IronMind

Set in Hungary’s LikeFest, the 2012 IHGF World Highland Games Strength Challenge Championships came down to the last event—Ireland’s Jonathan Kelly prevailed and took the title.

Ireland’s Jonathan Kelly won the IHGF World Highland Games Strength Challenge Championships, along with the IHGF World Amateur Caber Tossing Championships. IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.

Mike Miller (Canada) won the Braemar Stone with a put of 37’ 1/2”, with Janne Hartinkainen (Finland) coming in second and Csaba Meszaros (Hungary) getting third place.

Next was the 105-kg Mill Stone Press: Jonathan Kelly won by doing 5 reps within the 90-second time limit; Alexander Cortean was second and Csaba Meszaros was third.

Tossing the 16’ 6”, 105-lb. caber was the next challenge and Kelly repeated as the winner (also earning the 2012 IHGF World Amateur Caber Tossing Championships title in the process). Michael Wohlrab (Australia) was second and Casaba Meszaros was third.

An Atlas Stone Carry wrapped up the first day’s competition and Janne Hartikainen “dominated this event with an incredible performance,” Francis Brebner reported to IronMind. Tibor Kiss (Hungary) was second and Csaba Meszaros was third.

Day two opened with the 56-lb. weight for height, which was won by Csaba Meszaros (15’ 1-1/4”), with Kelly getting second place and Wohlrab third.

In the 13-kg Hungarian Hammer it was very close between the top thHungary's Csaba Meszroas won the 13-kg Hungarian Hammer with a distance of 74' 8". Kelly was second and Hartikainen was third.

Kelly won the Loading Medley (with Hartikainen second and Meszaros third) and then Miller won the 28-lb. for distance (Hartikainen second, Kelly third)—setting up a battle coming into the final event, lifting an Atlas Stones over a four-foot bar for reps, as Meszaros led Kelly by 1/2 point (with Hartikainen 5 points back).

Kelly won the final event, and thus the contest.

Here are the official scores.


Jonathan Kelly (Ireland)



Csaba Meszaros (Hungary)



Janne Hartikainen (Finland)



Tibor Kiss (Hungary)



Mike Miller (Canada)



Michael Wohlrab (Austria)



Javier Melfor (Holland)



Adam Daruzs (Hungary)



Alexander Cortean (Romania)



Marco Trax (Estonia)



Roni Kecskes (Siberia)


The IHGF’s Francis Brebner told IronMind that organizer Adam Darazs did an outstanding job and the support of Hungarian politicians George Shemonka and Gyula Budai was instrumental to the competition’s success:

“In all, the IHGF World Highland Games Strength Championships was a huge success—the athletes put up a great show which was filmed by Heni Oxygen Media Ltd and will aired in Europe within the next month.”

Matt Vincent Wins World Heavy Events Championships

by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2013 IronMind

Fergus hosted this year’s World Heavy Events Championships and with a battle that came down to the final event, it was second-year professional Matt Vincent who took the crown.

Matt Vincent (center) won the 2012 World Heavy Events Championships in Fergus, Ontario.  Mike Pockoski (right) was second and Dan McKim (left) was third.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Lynn Boland Richardson.

2012 World Heavy Events Championships

by Francis Brebner

The Fergus Highland Games, which is one of Canada’s premier Games and host of this year’s World Heavy Events Championships, celebrated thirty two years since first being established by David Webster, OBE.   

A total of twelve of the world’s top ranked heavy events athletes were invited to battle it out in a total of eight of the traditional throwing events where only one would be crowned World Champion and add his name to the pages of history and the long list of past champions.

Opening event with the 24-lb. Braemar Stone was a thrilling event from the first round, with the Poles Lucas and Sebastian Wenta dominating: Sebastian won with a fantastic series of World Class putts, all of which were all over 40’ with his best being 42’ 4½ ”.  In second place was Lucas Wenta with 40” 4½” , and in third place was USA’s Matt Vincent with 38’ 9” .

The hammer events both followed with the 22-lb. hammer being the second event of the competition.  Dan McKim currently ranked number one with the hammers, with the biggest throws of the 2012 season, was tipped to win this event, but the three times World Hammer Champion Mike Pockoski came alive and pulled out the winning throw of 114’ 8” securing his first win of the World Championships.  In second place was Dan McKim with 111’ 5” and in third place was Scotland’s Craig Sinclair with 109’ 10”.

In the 16lb hammer it was a tight tussle once again between Pockoski and McKim with Pockwski snatching his second straight victory over McKim with a throw of 142’ 4’; in second place was McKim with 142’ 2”, and in third place it was Matt Vincent with 137’.

The 56-lb. Weight for Distance was an amazing event to watch as big numbers were being pulled out left, right and center with the surprise win going to Mike Pockoski in his last attempt with a throw of 45’ 1”; in second place was Matt Vincent with 44 ’6½”  and in third place McKim with 42’ 4½”.

Now at the half way stage, Mike Pockoski took hold of the reins with a three-point lead over both Dan McKim and Matt Vincent, who were now tied in points for second place overall.

After a break in the action, competition resumed with the 17-lb. Open Stone.  This event was won by Matt Vincent who on his last attempt pulled out the winning putt of 57’ 2”; in second place was Sebastian Wenta with 54 ’5” and in third place Lucas Wenta with 54’ 1½”.

The 28-lb. Weight for Distance was to be Vincent’s third straight win with a distance of 87’ 6½”; in second place was Mike Pockoski with 82’ 11”, and in third place was Dan McKim with 82’ 5½”.

Next event was the caber which was 19’ 4” in length and 105 lb. in weight and proved to be the card shuffler for the athletes with Lucas Wenta securing the win with two perfect 12 o’clock tosses.  In second place was Mike Pockoski with one 12 o’clock, 11.30 and 12.30, in third place Sebastian Wenta with one 12 o’clock toss, 11.0 and 11.45.

With only one more event left in the competition, the points could not have been tighter with Mike Pockoski leading with 71 points, with both Sebastian Wenta and Matt Vincent tying with 69 points, and Dan McKim in third place with 66 points.

It all now came down to our final event with the 56-lb. Weight Over the Bar to decide the 2012 World Heavy Events Champion: it was any of the top four athletes’ for the taking; it was just a case of who wanted it the most and could keep himself together and make no mistakes.  The event was finally won by Lucas Wenta, clearing a height of 17’.  In second place was Matt Vincent with 16’ 6” and in third place Dan McKim at 16’. 

Overall points as follows:

1. Matt Vincent 80.0

2. Mike Pockoski 79.0

3. Dan McKim 76.0

4. Sebastian Wenta 75.5

5. Lucas Wenta 65.0

6. Sean Betz 58.0

7. Craig Sinclair 47.5

8. Rusty Price 34.5

9. Hans Lolkema 34.0

10. Greg Hadley 33.0

11. Ryan Vierra 30.0

12. Chrisoph Wand 12.5

Asking Matt Vincent about his overall win and performance and being the newly crowned 2012 World Heavy Events World Champion, Vincent replied, “I stayed strong throughout all the events and I just am so happy it all came together on the day and am on cloud nine at the moment."


This was undoubtedly the most competitive world championships I have ever witnessed which had the possibility of any four leading athletes winning the championships going into the last event which was a really climatic finish.

Special mention has to be given to Head Athletic Director and head Judge Warren Trask and his field crew who did an outstanding work in making these championships definitely one for all involved to remember.  

August 5th 2012

IHGF Women’s World Highland Games Team Championships


The Dublin, Ohio Irish Festival is hosting the 2012 IHGF Women’s World Highland Games Team Championships, with “a total of ten of the world’s top-ranked women Highland Games athletes competing in five two-woman teams:

Alison Rodgers from Scotland throwing the Shot Put for will be representing team Europe. 

USA West: Kate Burton (WA) & Beth Burton (CA)

USA East: Adriane Wilson (SC) & Lacy Johnson (CT)

USA Central: Emily Burchett (MS) & Ingrid Marcum (Il)

Europe: Alison Rodgers (Scotland) & Sandra Pétursdóttir (Iceland)

Canada: Alexandra Norman-Ross (AB) & Laura Reusser (ON)

“Kate Burton only this past weekend at Portland Highland Games set a new World Record in the 14-lb. weight for distance with a throw of 91' 3/4” which indicates that with only a short few weeks out from the IHGF Woman's World Team Championships is on fine form for this hampionship title.

“Athletic Director and organizer Brian Huntley of the Dublin Irish Festival has done a great work in making this event a world class event with the best prize money ever assembled for the women's events to date,” Brebner said.


Dan McKim Wins IHGF Highland Games World Championships

by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2011 IronMind

He came in as the favorite and left as the champion: Dan McKim won the 2011 IHGF Highland Games World Championships yesterday at Loon Mountain.


The caber, a local oak selected and cut by Bill “Doc Rock” Crawford, was tough—long, heavy and with a twist—but Dan McKim turned it for a 12 o’clock on his way to winning the 2011 IHGF Highland Games World Championships at Loon Mountain over the weekend. IronMind | Randall J. Strossen photo.

2011 IHGF Highland Games World Championships

by Francis Brebner

It was a fabulous weekend in the beautiful setting of Loon Mountain, New Hampshire which was the host of this year’s IHGF World Highland Games—where twelve of the world’s top Highland Games athletes battled it out for the most coveted title in Highland games.

Record numbers of spectators in the tens of thousands traveled from all over the U.S. to be part of these premier Games, enjoying the many festivities and attractions and to observe firsthand the world’s best heavy athletes thrash it out over the three days which also included the IHGF World Hammer Championships and also the IHGF World Super Series for 2011, all of which could not have been more fitting with such a majestic setting as Loon Mountain.

The heavy events got under way with the IHGF World Hammer Championships on Friday evening with the 22-lb. hammer. USA’s Dan McKim took the win after a hard tussle between Scotland’s Craig Sinclair and USA’s Mike Pockoski with a throw of 116’ 6-¼ “. In second place was USA’s Mike Pockoski with 115’ 5” and in third place was Scotland’s Craig bg Sinclair with 113’ 4-¾ “.

In the 16-lb.hammer, Pockoski stormed the win this time over McKim with riveting throw of 144’ 6” , in second place was McKim just a few feet behind with a noble distance of 142’ 4-½” and the new kid on the block, Matt Vincent, was third with 135’ 8-¼” .

After the total distances of the hammers were combined, Pockoski was declared the worthy winner of the 2011 IHGF World Hammer Championships, with McKim in second and Sinclair in third. ??Saturday’s events began with the 16-lb. Open stone which was just magnificent to watch as Matt Vincent blasted out the winning putt to 60’ 4-¼” to claim the win and a new World Championships record. In second place was Sebastian Wenta with a distance of 56’ 5-¾” and in third was England’s Scott Rider with 56’ ¾”.

The 56-lb. weight for distance was surprisingly won by Matt Vincent with a throw of 45’ 8-¾” for his second win in succession and a personal best for the young war horse. In second place was USA’s Dan McKim with 44’ 1-¾” and in third place was Mike Pockoski with 41’ 4”.

The caber, which was 19’ 6” long and 135 lb. was a won by McKim on his last attempt as he nailed the win with a perfect 12 o’clock toss. In second place was Rider with a toss of 11:50, and in third place was Matt Vincent with 11:50 on count back.

?The final event of the second day of competition with the 56-lb. weight over the bar and this was one of the most riveting competitions of the season I have witnessed with McKim taking the win with a height of 17’ ; in second equal was Betz and Wenta at a height of 16’ 6”.?? The third and final day of competition in the IHGF World Championships opened with the 22-lb Braemar stone and this was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the championships with Poland’s Sebastian Wenta pulling off a hat trick by winning with a colossal putt of 48’ 8-½”, establishing a new world record and also a new championship record and also a new ground record. In second place was Matt Vincent with 46’ 8” and in third place was Dan McKim with 45’ 2”.??The final event, the 28-lb. weight for distance, turned out to be a sensational finish for the young Matt Vincent with a winning throw of 85’ 10-¼”. In second place was Sean Beyz with 85’ 9” and in third place was Scott Rider with 84’ 1”.

Overall placing in the IHGF World Highland games Championships:


Dan McKim (USA)



Matt Vincent (USA)



Mike Pockoski (USA)



Sean Betz (USA)



Sebastian Wenta (Poland)



Scott Rider (England)



Rusty Price (USA)



Craig Sinclair (Scotland)



Harrison Bailey III (USA)



Hans Lolkema (Holland)



Jason Johnston (Canada)



Greg Hadley (Canada)


Overall placing in the 2011 IHGF World Highland Games Super Series:


Dan McKim



Mike Pockoski



Sean Betz (tie)



Sebastian Wenta



Craig Sinclair



Hans Lolkema


Reflecting on the weekend, all athletes commented on how these world championships were undoubtedly amongst the best ever that they had competed in.

A lot of recognition has to be given to Bill and Holly Crawford along with Ray and Cinda D’Mante, who without a doubt are the backbone of the heavy athletics, and their efforts and energy have made these Highland Games world renown: They put together a first class event which made a very big impression on all the IHGF officials and its athletes.