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Ft. Edmonton Highland Gathering Results for July 11, 2009

2009 Gallery

2009 Video

The Scoop!

Coming up on the Ft. Ed weekend, much like last year, I was somewhat apprehensive. I mean it's a given that this is one of everyone's favorites due to the location, the scenery and the crowd. Also, the boys tend to light it up a little here because everyone's getting into that mid-season groove and the rust is off. Interest was high this year, so the field had to be split up, which led to the usual griping but hey, I know *I'm* going to be there all day anyway so get over it!

Be that as it may, we started with the Ams and two, count'em TWO, women competitors. Would you believe in my zeal to ensure the women had a reasonable stone to play with, I wholly forgot a stone for the guys early on? Ft. Ed, our usual stone-blitz, would be rock-less for the Ams. Sorry guys! What this meant is that the ladies got a chance to start ahead and get the Braemar out of the way. Colleen was back and newly married to Terry (our condolences!) and healed up. Her first push went an even 20' and that would stand as her best for the day. Young Megan, tired of watching from the sidelines and in a borrowed kilt and all, actually did very well considering she had maybe 1 practice before the games. Opening at 19'1", she extended her best to 19'7" by #3. The best part about being a fully newbie is the steady stream of PRs you get.

We moved into the heavy weight because 9am heavy throwing is good for the spine and I think it's funny. When it's not happening to me. Paul managed to try on the pink mesh half-shirt in this one, hopping past the big wooden block 3 times. Seriously, Paul, we're going to have Robbie make a shirt up for that. Noone's going to enjoy it. A pity, too. Usually one of Paul's fairly stable events. Aaron started off a bit slow but ground out a 20'2.5" toss on his third for 5th. Young Chris was suffering the fate of all the young folk who spend a week at Stampede but he still got up enough bile to edge Aaron out by an inch and a half for the first time clearing 20' and a PR to boot. 3rd went to a constantly improving Mikey Kelbert who gutted out a 23'10" on his third. About 2 and a half feet further than his previous 2. Nice. Wes was a little beer-headachy but solid, finally keeping his feet on the ground long enough to slap out 24'4" for second spot. Normally that would have won him the day but with the shocking return of Jimmy Garrick (who had early plans to compete in both the morning and afternoon) popped out a HUGE 29'7". Considering his last practice was the Calgary games in '08, that's some solid stuff.

The ladies of course got to toss the 28 because I believe in equal opportunity pain-sharing. Colleen opened with a very smooth 23'3" which she improved to 23'9" on #2 and that would stand as both her best and top spot. I think the majority of Colleen's inspiration comes from giving Terry marks to hit later. However, Megan didn't get blown out of the water in the slightest, opening with 21'2" and then hauling it out to 21'11" on her final pull. Over 20' in the heavy one in her first games. Nothing wrong with that.

Sticking with a standard pattern, the LW was up. This mixed up the throwing a little. Aaron was back to his stutter-stepping ways and there's just no acceleration with that mess, so 37'9" would stand as his best. Chris went up next with a single spin whip that got him a 40'2", 5th spot and ANOTHER PR. Ah, to be young again. Paul remembered that stepping over the trig was bad in this one but his opener of 42'4" would stick as his best. Again, Mike Kelbert put on a solid top 3 show here with a 47'2" second effort that just fell short of Wes' 47'9" #2 slot. I know Wes was looking at more because I've watched him lob over 50' in practice with shocking regularity. Jimmy had the honour of top guy again in this one with 55'9" on his opener. More than enough. Again, considering his level of specific training, some solid stuff there.

Meg had at least seen a 14# WFD once before competition, so I don't think she was terribly worried for this one. Again, every time she picked it up, she threw it a little farther, culminating in a 39'8" with her last one. Ending it up on the toes of one foot and with the other one off the ground was pretty girly, though. I think Robbie Young did the same thing in the afternoon. Colleen had Terry egging her on to put out a mark for him to beat in this one too for the afternon show and she didn't disappoint, really snagging her second one and going 50'6". I honestly think Terry should start standing further out and we can get her over 60'.

Back to back hammers isn't the smartest thing to do ever but the crowd hadn't shown it's face and we were wondering if it was going to rain or bake us anyway, so that's what we did. Paul and Chris traded places from heavy to light with Paul going 55'1"/65'3" and Chris with 54'4"/71'2". The light hammer mark was a big PR for Chris. Hungover works for him. Mike was rock-solid in 4th for both hammers with 59'5"&71'4". Aaron was top three in both with solid, open technique. When he remembers that he has to accelerate too, he'll definitely add some feet onto his 60'10"/81'10". It's his first comp this year, though. I'll forgive him for it. Jimmy Garrick has long had a deep love affair with the hammers and it showed today with his monster 63'9"/82'2" combo for double 2nds. Solid Am marks, James! ;) But it was Wes taking top spot twice here that tightened up the competition with 63'10"/82'7". I KNOW Wes was looking for more because I've seen much more but we've all got a bit of a hammer curse going on right now.

The ladies kept up their usual placings but Meg showed some real promise with the 16 as she managed to go 43'4" and 46'7" with the 16 and 12 respectively. I figure it's because the 16 makes her actually fight a bit, so she puts more effort into it. It wouldn't surprise me if we get her to 50/70 by High River. Colleen decided to follow a very similar pattern by pulling out a very respectable 51'5" in the 16 and then only beating it by 6 feet with the 12 for 57'3". 12 feet of difference ladies. That's where it should be! We'll work on some speed.

The caber was up next and Colleen made very short work of the 14' stick Terry had brought down, managing 2 12:00 throws with it. Megan had never even seen one before and this might have been the only time in the entire comp where she actually looked nervous. On her last pop, she actually managed a pretty good pick with it, but pulled it in too quick and it fell away from her. More time with the stick will build that confidence.

That thrice-damned stick we beat up last games and Terry kept repairing for us only survived half a round before we heard that sickening familiar 'crack' and it was back to our standby "old twisty". Seriously, this stick SHOULDN'T be as hard as it is but it managed to hold off all but two of our amateur athletes. Jim Garrick managed second with 11:30 on his first toss. Did I mention that Aaron won the caber? Because he sure did for the rest of the day. 12:15 for our boy and the title of "Winner of the Caber". As he said, many, many, MANY times that day: "If you're going to win 1 event..."

He's right, though.

This led us to the WOB. As everyone knows, in Alberta we cruelly start at 10' for everyone and your only solution for not making it is to get stronger or better. This has, in general, led us to having a field that can clear 10'. I may raise it to 11' next year to see if it follows suit. 10' only foiled Megan and Chris and both of them were hideously close. Meg was very impressive as she actually used her legs instead of doing the typical first-timer trick of a low-back jerk followed by a forward shoulder raise. A little timing work and 10 feet is candy. We'll need to teach Chris that he has legs. We can do that. Aaron took 2 shots at 10' but only because he did his zany hand-switch pull and left it out front. I keep telling him that only looks cool when you get it over the bar. 11' stumped everyone but big Mike Kelbert and he made it look easy. Because he'd managed 11'6" in Red Deer, he kept chasing the dragon and went straight to 12'. Not today but it'll be sooner than later.

So when the smoke cleared and the bodies were sorted through, Colleen had managed a sweep of the women's events but Megan showed some great first-time promise. With a little bothering and encouragement from the rest of the gang, she looks to be easily convinced to keep doing this. Due to a strong base and overall steady performance, Calgary's Mike Kelbert managed to beat Aaron out of 3rd spot by 2 whole points (but Aaron DID win the caber) and then Wes Radstaak was only narrowly beat in the overall by Secret Agent Man Jim Garrick, 12 to 11.5 respectively. Tight competition.

Some time before the end of the Am/Ladeez show, Bobby had shown up newly coiffed for Worlds and sporting some stones. The requisite trash talking had already commensed and we had Masters and open class galore, so it was time to be underway.

Braemar always seems to be a reasonable way to start this off and our "hair over 22#" braemar stone fits the bill nicely and young Robbie Young got to be the guy to get the show on the road. The sun was sneaking out and the caber from the ams had brought us in some crowd by this point as well. Rob started big and kept big with 35'5" as an opener, extended on both following throws to culminate in a whopping 36'8" and top spot. Everyone else, even after the first throw, was hunting for 2nd place here. Davey Laidlaw would stake his claim for that with a 32'10" and even after a forearm massage and some hate, I could only manage 3rd with 32'6". And really, I only got 2 attempts because I was too busy being Hollywood.

Our master's class has only got freakier in the last little while and today really put that out there. Toddy Hennel managed 4th with a 25'5" shoulder shove. 3rd spot came to man-monster Jeff Thomas on his first one only 2" ahead of Toddy. If we ever teach that guy that he owns legs, it's going to be nothing but trouble for all concerned. 2nd was the immortal B^2 with a big 29'3" shove but it was perennial favorite Mike Staal who took the whole enchelada on that one being the only guy over 30' with 30'4" on his second attempt.

The sun was coming out and so the HWFD seemed like a good idea at the time. Davey Laidlaw dragged that thing across the trig for a gross, shoulder dislocating 30'1" and 5th but at least his ankle didn't explode this time. Joe Taylor was lookin large and in charge and he and Robby ended up tied for 3rd with lobs of 31'6". Rob's WFD technique is really coming along. He's going to be a serious threat to end big this year. Dave Roe was bound and determined to beat me on this one but he'll have to wait until at least HR as his 31'9" didn't quite get the job done after my opener went 33'6".

The 42 is like a magical gift to throw and the old boys made it look pretty. In another freakish occurrance, Jeff and Todd both tied for 5th with tosses of 31' even. Mikey Gilpin stuck to his standard Ft. Edmonton ritual of working the night before and not sleeping but he really turned it up from his first to his third, gaining 2' to end at 33'6". Some more practice with that and he's over 35 all day long. Also, with just 2 more inches, he would have managed to tie up Mike Staal's 33'8" effort. And another inch out of that might have had him tie Terry Hunt, who finally added something akin to speed on his second turn and that snagged him second and 33'9", which might be a season's best for Terry.

Did I mention Bob Brown was in attendance? And wired for sound. Having just recently discovered the magic of Motorhead, Bobby was cranking out "The Game" all day, which might help explain his performance here today. He opened, OPENED with 40'8". Just 4" off his own world record. So on his next attempt, he absolutely crushed out a massive 41'3" to win the event and break the world record. Again. His last throw would end up his worst. At 40' even. Oy.

More heavy stuff, so the 22 hammer was up next. Most of us didn't exactly light the world on fire, with me taking 3rd with a measley 83'9". Davey Laidlaw caught a bit of his last one and that gunned out to 88'6", but the big story was Joey Taylor. Despite some pretty serious ligament damage last year to the knee, Joey's hammers have been spectacular this year and Ft. Ed was no exception. A conservative 88'1" was his opener and then he bombed on a monster 94'10" throw for a new PR and beating the old field record by nearly 3 feet. Awesome. 100' can't be far away now.

No real surprises in the masters end of the field. Terry's 64' would have won him the Ams but in the master's class, that's only 5th. You listening, Ams? Todd was looking solid on this as well, knocking off 66'8" for 4th spot. I can't remember but that might have been a PR. Big Jeff managed to extend his arms for at least one throw as he went 71'2" and claimed 3rd spot all by his lonesome. Bob's still working his 2 spin overcrank but it's working for him as his 71'9" proved nicely. If we can finally get him to 3 turns, he's golden. Top spot was Mike Staal who had some footing issues but was otherwise looking good, overtaking Bobby by 8 feet to win the event. At this point, Mike and Bob were at a dead tie.

Open stone wasn't exactly going to be up in the air with Robbie around and the way the rest of us have been throwing that thing lately. And we had a less than charming 18.8# stone to pitch around, so nothing made it easy one way or another. Dave Roe was enjoying it as well as he ever does and the look on his face after his first throw was evidence enough of that. 32'6" and 5th spot. JT Money got a decent push out of his 2nd attempt and the 34'1" shot secured him 4th spot. Stone has NOT been treating me kindly and with the usual ache it gives my elbow giving me all kinds of issues, I decided to just stand. 36'4" and I was happy to have it. As it stands, it looks good on paper because big Dave only beat my by an inch here for second spot. Robbie killed us. Not a little bit. I mean like some serious murder. 40'9" from a stand and it looked like it was in the air forever. Big push with a messy rock.

The masters had about the same amount of fun we did with this thing. Jeff's shoulder-press 27'10" got him 5th while Todd got just enough lift on his 3rd shot to capture 4th with 28'2". Mikey G got a lot more charge out of this one and his 28'4" snagged him 3rd in a tight class. Once again, Mike Staal and Bob brown changed positions with Mike getting second with 30'9" and Bobby going big with 33'9" to take top spot.

At least now we were into some of the fast stuff and everyone enjoys throwing the 28. By now the sun was out, the crowd was starting to really gather and most of us were well beyond hyper and badmouthing each other constantly. Good throwing here doesn't make that better. Joey snagged 5th with 60'8", only narrowly getting knocked out of 4th by the rapidly improving Robbie who got a huge PR with his final throw of 61'1". Mr. Roe is always a threat in the weights and he was gunning for top spot but despite my "encouragement" on the microphone all he could manage was 62'7" and that's not going to beat me, is it, Dave? Speaking of Daves, Mr. Laidlaw screamed his way to an ugly 63'5" on his opener but could never really get the momentum that he needed to bust my parting shot of 66'2" to clinch the pole position.

Jeff threw the LW as only he can: behind him. And still managed a solid 46'8" for 5th. Hot Toddy was looking for that 50' mark again but fell a little short with his 47'7" opener. Third was all Terry as he was chasing his wife but again fell short of her 51' mark by "only" managing a 49'8". Mr. Staal was still skyhooking his weights a little more than necessary but his second through went out a respectable enough 54'1". Bob proved his consistency and dominance in the weights yet again with 3 throws over 58' and his best on #2 at 58'8".

Light hammer mixed things up again. Sorta. The results were almost identical to the heavy with Dave Roe and Robbie ending up as #5 and #4 with 95'3" and 95'7" respectively, which was a big PR for Robbie. Now it ended up that Joey T (after trying to kill Megan with one of his releases) and Davey L were tied at 108'9" and I was in 3rd at 107'8" but I had one last throw to go. Sadly, as with much of this day, I had a chance to save myself and failed utterly, having to settle for 3rd.

The hammer treated some of the masters a little better than others, granting that the ground is, shall we say, suboptimal for spikes. The light one treated Todd a little less kindly than the heavy one did but as he had his own cheering section, it was hard to feel bad for him. 80' and 5th. Big Jeff edged him out (sorta. He had him beat on attempt #2) by 5 whole inches for 4th spot. Mikey G found a bit of his old legs for the hammer and cocked out an 82'4" for 3rd position. In a not so surprising ending, Bobby took second here with a very solid 2-turn 92' opener while Mike had some serious grip and footing issues and could only grab first with 95' even.

The cabers filtered a lot of us down, so let's just talk about the folks that KNOW what they're doing. We'd brought out that 20'6" 103# thing again and with the heat, length of the day, etc, it was getting apparent that many of us did NOT have the horses required to get the job done. The masters, especially Mike S, Terry and Bobby made good attempts at it but finally, they cut down a fresh one to 18'6" and 100# and did a single round to figure out a winner. Bobby managed to grab it from Mike here with 11:45 to 1:15. The only two guys in the masters class to get the job done. On the open side, it was down to the last round, the crowd was getting restless, so all I managed to do was give Robbie the same last minute advice he was giving everyone else and lo and behold, the man from Calgary got the job done. The only one of us to turn it and he nailed it for 12:00 in front of a very appreciative crowd.

The WOB awaited. The crowd had been pulled in now by the caber and the sun was shining. Good time to have the WOB. 12 was up and over for everyone (except Mike Staal who passed but more on that later). 13' ended up being pivotal for the Open class as the miss Robbie and I had paid off dividends for Davey Laidlaw. 13'9" proved to be too much for everyone on Saturday. Well, everyone who wasn't a master anyway. Bobby, Jeff, Mike G and Terry were all in and over at 13'9" with Mike Staal yet to join the crowd. We went up to 14'6" for some PR attempts, which Bobby took some honest shots at and Jeff one-shotted but the real moral of this story is DON'T WAIT TOO LONG to come in! Right, Mike? Up and down 3 times. Ouch. That stuff hurts.

The crying was over and the gloating began as it was revealed that Davey Laidlaw walked away the big weiner this day, with my own inability to save myself crushing me and Robbie coming very close to taking me out as well. Joe Taylor was in the mix as well and new(again) father Davey Roe ended up in 5th. Big congrats to Dave and Jackie, by the way.

The WOB sealed the deal for the Masters, putting Bob in overall first followed by Mike Staal and Jeff Thomas in 2nd and 3rd. Todd Hennel would be our #4 competitor and Mike Gilpin rounded out the top 5. Once again, a successful Ft. Edmonton and then into the long break until HR.

- Sean


Women's Class
15'6" 55#
28# WOBPoints
Colleen Hunt20'23'9"50'6"51'5"57'3"1:3010'7
Megan Melham19'7"21'11"39'8"43'4"46'7"NTNH14
Masters Class
AthleteBraemar Stone(22#)42# WFD22#
Open Stone(18.8#)28# WFD16#
18'6" 102#
42# WOBPoints
Bob Brown29'3"41'3"71'9"33'9"58'8"92'11:4513'9"13.5
Mike Staal30'4"33'8"78'9"30'9"54'1"95'1:15NH18
Jeff Thomas25'7"31'71'2"27'10"46'8"80'5"NT13'9"31
Todd Hennel25'5"31'66'8"28'2"47'7"80'NT13'34.5
Mike Gilpin23'5"31'3"61'11"28'4"45'11"82'4"NT13'9"36
Terry Hunt24'2"33'9"64'27'8"49'8"77'5"NT13'9"37
Amateur Class
16'4" 85#
56# WOBPoints
Jim Garrick29'7"55'9"63'9"82'2"11:3010'11.5
Wes Radstaak24'4"48'3"63'10"82'7"NT*10'12
Mike Kelbert23'10"47'2"59'5"71'4"NT11'19.5
Aaron Andronyk20'2.5"37'9"60'10"81'10"12:1510'21.5
Paul KueflerF42'4"55'1"65'7"NT10'27
Chris Parulski20'4"40'2"54'4"71'2"NTNH30.5
Open Class
AthleteBraemar Stone(22#)56# WFD22#
Open Stone(18.8#)28# WFD16#
20'6" 103#
56# WOBPoints
Dave Laidlaw32'10"30'1"88'6"36'5"63'5"108'9"NT13'19.5
Sean Langford32'6"33'6"83'9"36'4"66'2"107'8"NT13'21
Rob Young36'8"31'6"78'8"40'9"61'1"95'7"12:0013'22
Joe Taylor28'2"31'6"94'10"34'1"60'8"108'9"NT13'24
Dave Roe28'31'9"77'10"32'6"62'5"95'3"NT13'33.5

Past Results: