Any other Saturday, Keenan Bruce would probably be floating the river fly fishing or hanging out with his family. Saturday, however, he was one of a big crowd of competitors dressed in a kilt and testing their strength and endurance at the Third Annual Highland Games at the Cody Stampede Park.
Three days afterward, his body continued to remind him the games weren’t just for show.
“I’m still sore,” Bruce said. “My biceps and hammies are screaming at me.”
What started as a small family and employee affair for Nelson Log Restoration quickly evolved to the massive event held Saturday with hundreds of fans in attendance.
“My mom and dad, Mark and Mary Nelson put on the event. We wanted to try and make it a fun family event that was free for people to come watch,” event volunteer Maggie Heron said. “It’s neat for people come and enjoy something a little different.”
Competitors in three classes took to the arena to test their skills in a wide variety of Scottish challenges. The most popular probably being the caber toss, where a large, tapered pole is thrown.
“That was probably the hardest event,” Bruce said. “You’d think flipping a stick would be easy, but it’s a big stick.”
He would go onto win the dinnie stone event, lifting a 378 pound rock and carrying it as far as possible. Bruce lugged the stone 70 feet, nearly 20 feet further than any other competitor.
Heron said the fairgrounds was a perfect venue and hopes next year will be just as successful. Everyone is welcome to try it out.
“As long as they are wearing a kilt,” Heron said.
Bruce said he is definitely in again for next year, which would be his third year competing.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Bruce said. “You get to feel like a little kid again picking up rocks and lifting logs. You pay for it for about week after, but then you just feel great.”