Joel Thiessen competed in the Hammer Throw competition during the 69th Annual Red Deer Highland Games last year. The annual festival of Scottish heritage featured competitions in piping and drumming, dancing and heavy events. Black Press file photo

Call it Buzz Saws and Bagpipes, or the Art of the Birl and the Skirl

Proposal: Add a Highland games to Campbell River’s Logger Sports weekend

Buzz saws and bagpipes – that’s what local businessman, former pipe major and area innovator Brian Shaw is starting to call a new form of entertainment he’s planning to bring to Campbell River next August.

New for Campbell River at this time, that is, because Shaw wants to launch a Campbell River Highland Gathering as an annual version of the ancient and historical set of Scottish competitions and programs. The plan is to make it part of the community’s yearly Logger Sports at Nunn’s Creek Park on the second weekend of August in 2018.

“You could also think of it as combining the Art of the Birl and the Skirl (of the bagpipes),” Shaw says in a press release.

Shaw also intends to have the so-called “Heavy” Highland Games – such as tossing the hammer, the caber-toss and the strongman tug o’ war as part of the event. All competitions will offer prizes sponsored by local and regional businesses.

He acknowledged that may take a while to organize, but said he has approached pipe bands throughout western Canada, into Alberta, and Washington and other states and has been given quite an enthusiastic reception.

“Well over a dozen bands have indicated they’d be prepared to travel here on their own bat if we offered some reasonable prizes for the events; and of course, we’d have to pay the qualified judges,” Shaw said.

There’s also a very active regional heavy games group that are quite eager to come.

The adjunct program has also been given the go-ahead by the CR Salmonfest organizers, he said, adding that local hotels, motels, restaurants and others would also benefit from the additional trade from participants.

Shaw, who has previously been Pipe-Major for the area’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch #137 Pipe Band, and is the chair of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, said he’s now looking for additional volunteers to join him and a group of supporters in bringing the CR Highland Gathering to fruition.

He and the organizing team are convinced that with support from the community, a good numbers of bands will be more than willing to travel to Campbell River, to take part in a day of contest on the Saturday of the Logger Sports.

Shaw can be contacted at Mackie Research Capital Corp in Campbellton, telephone 250-287-8807 or bshaw@mackieresearch.com by email. You can also like and follow the Campbell River Highland Gathering on Facebook.

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