Four world records were set in the McPherson Scottish Festival Highland Games Saturday and Sunday at Lakeside Park.
Four world records were set in the McPherson Scottish Festival Highland Games Saturday and Sunday at Lakeside Park. This year the festival celebrated Highland athletics. Terri Ventress, McPherson games co-athletic director, set a world record in the weight over bar competition, which is a 21- pound weight thrown over an overhead bar. Ventress’ height was 15-3, beating the old record of 15-0. Ventress currently holds four records in her age group for the master’s class. “I am trying to get all eight of them. I turned 50 in March,” she said. “It isn’t going to get any easier.” Bill Leffler, 60, set three world records in the 60-and-older master’s class. Leffler of Kirksville, Mo., has been a seven-time world champion. He threw a 32-5 in the Braemar Stone, breaking the existing records by more than two feet. Braemar is a city in Scotland. In this event, a competitor throws a 22-pound irregularly shaped stone like a shot put. A men’s track and field regulation shot put is about 16 pounds. Leffler also earned records on Sunday in the light weight over distance, which is the throw of a hammer and chain, and the open stone, which is also like a shot put throw. Tabulation was still under way Monday, but it was believed 11 field records were broken during the McPherson games on Saturday and 17 field records were broken on Sunday during the men’s master’s competition. Winners About 50 men and women competed in the games during the weekend. The McPherson games winners are as follows: Matt Thomas of Tulsa, Okla. won the A men’s class. Chris Mason of Fort Hays won the B men’s class. Chad Ullom won the 40-and-older men’s master class. Leffler won the 50-and- older men’s master class. Jamie Chaneel won the A women’s class. Heather Boos won the women’s B class. Ventress won the women’s master class. Famed announcer Famed Highland athlete Francis Brebner was the on-field announcer for the games. Brebner hails from Peterhead, Scotland, and traces his lineage as the 22nd great-grandson of Edward the Bruce, King of Ireland. Edward’s brother was better known as Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. Brebner, who founded the International Highland Games Federation in 2001, has achieved world records and championships, and had Highland athletics awards presented to him by Queen Elizabeth. Brebner started as a long-distance runner and competed in power lifting and body building before moving on to Highland athletics. He said he loved the challenge of the games. “You are competing against yourself,” he said. “You are always trying to get a few more inches and trying to improve your technique.” Although Brebner does not compete anymore because of health reasons, he said he still enjoys the camaraderie and atmosphere of the games. “A good games has all the traditional aspect of Highlands, such as pipe bands and dance. You get that all together and you have a winning recipe for success,” he said.