The 2019 Dundee Scottish Festival drew an enthusiastic and large crowd that was rewarded with a variety of entertainment, Scottish clan booths, talented musicians, and some records in the Highland Games competitions.
Chuck Livingston of Franklinville set two records in the sheaf toss, a traditional Scottish agricultural sporting event originally contested at country fairs. A pitchfork is used to hurl a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar above the competitor’s head. The typical weight for the bag is 16 lbs.
Livingston tossed the sheaf multiple times, stopping after his final record was set at 33 feet, which the announcer said was a world record, but that claim has not been verified.
Livingston says the secret to mastering the event is developing the right technique. “I started when I was 48 and I’m 64 now and better now than I’ve ever been at it. So it’s just learning the technique, being patient, and staying in shape,” he says.
Livingston’s first attempt was aimed at the record he set three weeks ago at 32 ft. 3 in. He followed that with an easy toss at 32 ft. 6 in. and then the final throw at 33 feet even, drawing cheers from around the athletic field.
“It was just one of those days,” he said, before moving on to another event.
Livingston has been competing in heavy games for 14 years. The sport has him traveling to events around the world, beginning in May and continuing through the summer and fall seasons. He has competed in world championship competition nine times, placing as high as fifth overall and second in the caber toss.
Those world championship events have taken him all over the globe, including to Germany, Iceland, Scotland, St. Louis, and even Buffalo. This year’s competition will be held in Tucson, Ariz. in early November. He is ranked second in the men’s 65 group for that event.
In its 10th year, the Sept. 7 Dundee Scottish Festival drew the largest group of heavy games competitors, with 46 men, women, and youth athletes, says organizer Paul Rose. Other records were set in some of the women’s and youth events, according to Rose.