A three-way international strongman throwing series is the latest innovation at the 110th Browns Athletic Society's sporting carnival on Saturday.
Generous sponsorship by local transport firm McDowalls has enabled organisers to bring three two-man teams for an unprecedented series of caber tossing, sheaf tossing and hammer throwing.
In recent years, organisers have invited celebrities such as Colin Meads and the world champion caber tosser, Scot Malcolm Cleghorn as guests.
This year they have added teams from Waipu, Northland, (Mick Cottrell, Reuben de Jong), Australia (Craig Reid, Aaron Monks) and Scotland (Alastair Gunn and Cleghorn) for the trail-blazing event.
These are big strong men with top credentials. For example, Gunn has won four world throwing championships, and like Cleghorn, has competed in many countries at similar events.
Rated the most comprehensive programme of any similar sports carnival in the south, this 110th meeting should add lustre to a long record at the local domain.
Competitiions, including athletics, baby show, bushcraft, cycling, dancing, digger skills, golf hole in one, sheaf tossing, shearing, shooting ends with live entertainment in the evening.
Inner ring sports -- athletics, bushcraft and cycling -- are conducted on a handicap basis to give all competitors chances to gain places and prizes.
The bushcraft section includes cutters with skills honed on the intensive holiday series. They will have the added incentive of vying for places in the two-day South Island championships in Invercargill next month. This section also has Southland championship cuts.
Athletics is a popular section and many of the form athletes returning from holidays can look forward to crossing over disciplines allowed for by the handicap system.
Runners may compete in field events and vice versa. There is even a traditional roller pin throw in this programme.
Riders from as far north as Auckland will compete in the cycling.
They start with a 43km handicap road race from Waikiwi, then take part in a full grass track racing programme.
For riders used to tarseal and Baltic pine surfaces, the grass surface is a reality check.
Male and female South Island sheaf tossing championships are scheduled for later in the day and revive memories of an ancient harvesting skill which used muscle power.
Appropriately for a location that was once the centre of Celtic activities, Highland, Irish, sailors and clog dancing is joined by sword disciplines _ and these will be contested all afternoon.
The popular baby show is contested in several age groups Another popular attraction is the parade by the Southern City Highland band.
This full and tightly scheduled programme starts at noon.
- The Southland Times