These tough man contests are recognized among the oldest contests in all of sport history and are comprised of nine different feats of might to be performed over either one or two days. There’s not much time to rest and that is a part of the challenge. The background on these competitions harkens back to Scottish warfare and it said that the Olympics are in fact derived from the Scottish Games as opposed to the Greek traditions. That is a whole other discussion, however.
The events fall under three different categories – height, distance and caber. In the height events, competitors are allowed three chances to clear the height of a bar by throwing a heavy object (hammer, shot put) and for distance the same objects are thrown and distance is measured and with the caber, the goal is accuracy. The beam must be pitched end over end and then is scored on the face of a clock. The toss must cross the vertical line from 9 to 3 o’clock and then is judge upon where it strikes the ground. Twelve o’clock is a perfect throw.
The weights used in the distance and height events fall into a standard weight at 14 lbs, 16 lbs and 22 lbs depending on the object. The shot put can be played in a couple of different ways – one, the Olympic style, in which the thrower must thrust from the shoulder without allowing the elbow to lead and the second one, Braemar style, where the toss is made from a standstill.
The distance throws can include both a light or heavy weight with the men’s low range at 28 lbs and the women’s at 14. The other weights vary and go as heavy as 56 lbs for the men. The heaviest weight from women is 28 lbs. These are swung via a handle and chain with one foot to remain within the circumference of the throwing area. Of course, distance is measured to determine the winner.
The hammer toss is another event where a weight is attached to a length of PVC and is tossed to see who can achieve the greatest distance. Two weight levels exist – men at 16 and 22 lbs and women at 12 and 16 lbs. The toss must be done with the feet stationary.
The Weight for Height and Weight Over Bar events consist of contestants tossing the weight over a bar with a single arm and must clear the bar to be counted. The sheaf toss is another height event where a bale of hay is thrown over a bar with a pitchfork.
The caber toss is one of the most renowned events but all of these heavy events encompass that grouping for this area of competition. Contestants do not have to participate in all of them but in many cases, there is a correlation between all of the skills required to compete and thus many people choose to take part in all of the different weight events.