If you want to join in on the famous Scottish Highland Games but can’t afford the flight across the pond, you can head to Bardstown, Kentucky, this Saturday for their annual take on the event. While many people know of haggis, a Scottish dish containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs that are stuffed into a sheep’s stomach, as food, Bardstown is using the delicacy for something else: hurling.
All over the world, Highland Games showcase contests requiring brute strength, such as the caber toss, which requires participants to essentially throw a small telephone poll, and tossing blocks weighing 28 to 56 pounds.
“In Scotland, they used to use throwing events to determine their best warriors,” Kerry Overfelt, a three-time North American Highland Games champion and Bardstown resident who helped organize the inaugural Games three years ago, told NCB News’ Overhead Bin. “Most of the events are based on ways to kill people.”
The haggis toss, however, is based more on skill. This goes along with the theme of Bardstown’s events being a bit more lighthearted than the usual Highland Games fare. Children can compete in a mini caber toss using carpet roll cores, while men can enter the Bonniest Knees competition, where blindfolded women decide which male has the sexiest legs under their kilt.
And of course, there’s the haggis toss. It is said the event idea originated from a time when Scottish wives could bring their husbands lunch in the fields and peat bogs. Because they couldn’t easily cross the rivers, the women would toss the haggis to the men, who would catch it in their kilts. For those who think they may vomit from the thought of being covered in sheep guts, don’t worry. Bardstown uses mock haggis, either a beanbag or cornhole. Participants toss the object while standing atop a whiskey barrel.
“We miss out on some of the authenticity by not having an actual haggis,” said Overfelt, “but at the same time, we don’t have to worry about the haggis bursting open.”
[Image via Asta]