Celtic festival in Las Vegas is showcase of athletics, culture

Sun, Apr 19, 2015 (7:25 p.m.)

Among the tens of thousands of attendees at the outdoor Celtic festival at Floyd Lamb Park this weekend were about 85 athletes in kilts competing in a series of throwing games.

Winners were determined by particpants' combined scores in nine events, including the hammer throw, caber toss, stone put, sheaf toss, and weight over bar.

“There’s some serious power in that group,” said announcer Brent Abbott, nodding toward female finalists hurling 28-pound weights toward a 13-foot tall bar.

Abbott would know. Last year, he was the German national champion last year in the masters category, ages 40 and older.

The valley is home to both the Las Vegas Celtic Society and a throwing group known as the Las Vegas Heavy Athletics. For this year’s 11th Las Vegas Highland Games, they combined forces to run the operation, said head judge Jason Corder. Previously the nonprofit Celtic Society contracted out to an agency for equipment and judges. Now they have the volunteer support and talent to do it locally.

“For athletes, by athletes,” he said.

The throwing group regularly practices on Sunday mornings at Silver Bowl Park in Henderson, and may be moving to a future home at the city’s Equestrian Park, said Corder.

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