Highland Heptathlon
Taken from the 40th annual commemorative program.

Established in 1964, the Highland Heptathlon includes seven events for heavy-weights. The Sports Steward in 1964 was Capt. Jack L. Dewell, U.S.M.C. The Program from that year acknowledges Mr. Donald Campbell, an official judge with the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association, for his help in setting up the events. Campbell, himself, was a former World Champion in Cumberland Wrestling and the 16-lb. hammer throw. In 1964, Mr. Campbell held the world’s record for the 56-lb. throw for distance. First-class competitions attract first-class competitors. And that’s the way things are done at the Highland Gathering.

The events have varied somewhat over the years — e.g., Cumberland wrestling was dropped, the sheaf toss was added — but the contest has lasted, and the athletes have gotten better and better. While the records set in 1964 were shattered by later competitors, it was an impressive effort that brought about an impressive contest....

The athletes that year were pretty impressive, too. Thomas Helms of the 16th Rifle Company Marine Corps Reserve was a former Mr. Wilmington and Mr. Delaware, and 2nd runner-up in the 1964 Jr. Mr. America contest at the New York World Fair.
Albert Hall from Greenfield, Massachusetts was a three time member of the U.S. Olympic team, and twice champion of the Pan American Games hammer throw.
On the day of the Games, he was the current U.S. champion in that event.
George Frenn from Los Angeles was also a competitor that day. George was runner-up to Hall in the national hammer throw competition.
Then there was Richard Schwartz, holder of many weight lifting championships, with a high total lift of 875 lbs. And, Stewart Thompson from Hightown, New Jersey, a five-time winner of the All Around Weight Throwing Championship of the United States.

Among the remaining competitors was Felix Poppiti, Jr., Mr. Delaware of 1964 and the defending champion as 1963 winner of the Caber Toss at the Delaware Scottish Games. At the end of the day, Mr. Poppiti took the Caber Toss and triumphed in Cumberland Wrestling, Stewart Thompson won the 16-lb Shot Put, but Albert Hall was the master in the 22-lb stone, the 16-lb hammer throw and the 56-lb weight for height. Mr Hall was named Highland Heptathlon champion.

Since that day, the Highland Heptathlon has been an annual attraction at the Gathering. The athletes seem to improve every year and the field records are always in jeopardy. Today’s competition presents some of the finest athletes yet.

Competition Rules

1. Seventeen Pound Stone Putt. AAUrules apply.

2. Twenty-eight Pound Weight for Distance. Each competitor is given three tries in throwing for the greatest distance a solid ball with a ring attached. The competitor will throw from the hammer throw ring, using any style he chooses.

3. Fifty-six Pound Weight for Distance. The same rules as for the twenty-eight pound weight throw for distance.

4. Twenty Pound Sheaf Toss for Height. The object is to toss a bundle of hay (approximately 20 pounds) over a horizontal bar with a pitchfork. The bar is raised by one-foot increments, gradually eliminating contestants. The contestant making the highest toss wins.

5. Hammer Throw. AAU rules apply.

6. The Caber. A log about 16-18 feet long weighing about 90-120 pounds is picked up by its “thin end” and tossed end-over-end. The object is accuracy — not distance. The caber should land on its “heavy” end and fall straight forward on the line.
From the starting point, the competitor is allowed a run of up to 20 yards before his toss.

The chief judge marks with a flag the point on the ground from which the throw was made, and a taut line is stretched on the ground from the starting point through the judge’s flag, extending beyond where the caber landed. This line designates the line of a “perfect” toss, which would be one in which the caber is lying on the line and parallel to it.

In order to be a valid toss, the caber must come to rest with its heavy end not more than two feet from the “perfect” line and angling not more than 45o from the line.

If there is no perfect toss, other valid tosses take rank according to the nearness of the ends of the caber to the “perfect”line, the distances at the two ends being measured and added together.

Each competitor has three chances to toss the caber — best toss counts.
If no one is successful in tossing the caber, a piece from the thick end of the stick, length to be determined by the chief judge, shall be sawn off and each competitor shall have three more tries.

7. Fifty-six Pound Weight for Height. The weight used will be a solid ball with a ring attached, big enough to grip with one or both hands. It is to be thrown over a bar on pole vault standards placed about eight feet apart. The competitor may have any reasonable distance for a running or walking approach, and may use any style or method of throwing that he may choose.

As in the pole vault, competitors may begin at any height they choose, taking three tries in each round to toss the weight cleanly over the bar without dislodging it. The bar is raised after each round. In case of a tie, the fewest misses at each height determines the winner.

 

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