When I made the decision to compete in a Highland Games earlier this year, I made a mental checklist of the things I knew I was going to need.
New shoes for traction in grass
More Icy Hot
I ordered shoes online and gathered the remaining bits from two of my gym bags (but had to buy MORE Icy Hot) and pulled my kilt from its hanger. I hadn’t worn it since a friends wedding circa 2006... so I wasn’t sure if it would fit. Believe it or not, even at a bodyweight of 328lbs, it was too big! What the hell am I going to do? $500 isn’t in the budget right now for a new kilt and altering this one isn’t an option. I remembered that a large number of athletes I had competed against in Seattle, Vancouver, BC, Long Beach, etc had worn a lighter weight kilt called a Sport Kilt. I looked them up and there they were; lightweight, durable, machine washable. I emailed Seamus at Sport Kilt and explained I was covering the event in Arlington for our site and I was coming out of retirement to compete. He replied back immediately and said, I gotcha covered, let me send you something out.
A few days later my 8 year old daughter brought me a package from Seamus. Inside was a primary blue tartaned kilt called Loch Ness with belt fasteners, elastic in the back and an inside pocket. Hildebrand used to be Von Hildebrand and I am certain that name isn’t Scotch, Welsh, Irish or Cornish so I know I don’t have a family tartan. The advantage to that waist band became apparent midday of our competition when I had to squat down hard to ‘Pick” the caber from the ground. I tried it on and found it had some room for adjustability. Perfect for that post beer (or 12) celebration with the boys! He also sent me some super high end advertising and a XXXL t-shirt that actually fit!
When I packed my things to go to Arlington, I was concerned I was going to wrinkle my kilt in my luggage, and let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than a 300+lb guy in wrinkled clothing, right? I decided lets put it to the test and just drop it in my athletic bag and see what happens. When we arrived to the hotel near the University of Arlington where the festival was, I forgot to pull my kilt out and let it lay out to de-wrinkle. With my solid wool kilt, if I didn't it meant certain doom appearance wise. We went to dinner, had a glass of wine and went to bed. When I wokethe next morning, I thought, oh shite... I pulled the kilt out and it looked perfect. Not a wrinkle in sight, pleats were perfect and did I mention it made my bum look pretty damn cute too?
We spent an entire evening in the wind and rain with thunder and lightning buzzing around watching and filming the Pro’s throw. We did a few interviews and enjoyed a pint. Got back to the hotel, I took my kilt off, laid it on the chair and went to bed. When I woke early the next morning, the kilt looked perfect still. I said to myself, fine, I am going to beat the hell out of this thing all day today. Pine tar, chalk, beer, haggis.... this thing doesn't stand a chance. Well, after a day of 8 events, 3’ish beers, 2 gallons of Gatorade, Haggis with Neep’s and Tatties, the aforementioned grip aides, I returned to the hotel. It was still nearly perfect, minus the drips of Haggis juice and a bit of pitch from one of the cabers.
What I did learn was that nearly every competitor at the games was wearing a Sport Kilt. If you are ever considering competing in the Highland Games as an adjunct to your powerlifting or strongman competition like Andy Vincent (who also wears a Sport kilt) or you just want to own one of the most important pieces of clothing development ever created by man, look no further than my man Seamus at Sport Kilt. When I bought my original kilt in the late 90’s it was a bit over $400.00. Seamus has kilts starting at under $50.00. He has some pretty cool items too like the team kilt that has a solid color on the outside, but plaid inside the pleats giving it a pretty unique look.
You can find Seamus and his clothing construction mastery at www.sportkilt.com. Thanks again my man. I look forward to competing a few more times this year. I promise I won’t spill too much beer on it!