Highland games set for saturday

Pros to highlight annual Scottish celebration


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A participant tries to turn the caber during the 2012 games.

MIKE NESPER

Eight professional athletes are coming to Eagle River Saturday to test their strength.

This year’s pro category of field events is sure to wow the crowd at the 32nd Annual Alaska Scottish Highland Games, event chair Chris Anderson said.

“It should be a really good show,” she said.

Rusty Price, of Snelling, Calif., will look to defend his 2012 overall title. Last year, Price set a new record in the 22-pound Braemar stone event with a heave of 41 feet and one half inch.

Seattle’s Greg Bell is returning for his fifth Games. Other pros include Lucais MacKay, of Hughson, Calif., Larry Brock, of Sanford, N.C., Ryan Stewart, of Draper, Utah, John Odden, of Kelso, Wash., and Andrew Hobson, of Chinle, Ariz.

Hobson’s sister, Andrea Hobson, is the lone female professional attending this year, Anderson said, and will compete in the amateur division.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. when gates open and field events start at 9 a.m.

A record-setting 8,000 people attended last year’s Games — 3,000 more than the previous high.

To see video highlights from last year’s event, visit the Star’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/TheAlaskaStar).

As long as the weather cooperates this time around, Anderson expects as many as 10,000 people could enjoy the festivities at Lions Park.

“If we get 2,000 more it will be a pretty crowded field,” she said. “Having too many is a good problem.”

The vendors, too, are increasing. Fifty-four will be on hand, Anderson said, the most in the Games’ history.

“It’s definitely a growing event,” she said.

The always-popular Scotch tasting tent — which opens at 1 p.m. — is returning for a third year.

“That’s definitely a big event,” Anderson said.

And the day wouldn’t be complete without pipers, drummers and plenty of Scottish fare to sample. Piping and drumming competitions being at 9 a.m. and opening ceremonies are slated for 11:45 a.m.

Closing ceremonies are scheduled for 5:30 p.m., but the night’s not over yet. Celtica Pipes Rock is headlining the evening concert, which starts at 7 p.m.

Overall, it’s a great day of Scottish fun, Anderson said.

“It’s a good way to show your culture,” she said. “Whether people are Scottish or not, they have a great time.”

Such a large event wouldn’t be possible without support from volunteers, Anderson said, and help is still needed. Those who volunteer for two hours will be admitted for free.

To volunteer, contact Anderson prior to Saturday at 243-7255.

Tickets for the Alaska Scottish Highland Games can be purchased in advance at The Book Shelf in Eagle River and Celtic Treasures in Anchorage for $12.50 for adults and $4 for children ages 5 to 16. At the gate, tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Seniors are military are $13 for singles and $25 per couple at the gate.

Shuttles will run from overflow parking lots at Eagle River High and Walmart all day. Those attending the Games can also park and walk from nearby Gruening Middle School on Lee St. and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Chandalar St.

For more information about the Games, visit www.alaskascottish.org/games.html.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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