Iron Thistle Highlanders – Sun 8.20.17
Coach Buck and his wife Mikayla have been kicking butt in Highland Games competitions since April. They have a local competition in Dixon on September 30th, so make sure you get out there and cheer them on. Here is an article about Highland Games from a few months back in the Reporter:
When Micah Studer founded the Iron Thistle Highlanders, he was looking for a challenge.
But starting the club also had a deeper meaning for the 2000 Will C. Wood High School graduate.
“I didn’t want to look back and say those were my best days,” Studer said. “As an adult, I was looking for a healthy, fun and social outlet. Since I began competing in Highland Games events, I’ve met some of the best people I’ve ever met and I’ve had some of the best moments of my life.”
Back in 2012, Studer started the Iron Thistle Highlanders, a non-profit Scottish heavy athletics throwing club based in Vacaville that aims at furthering Scottish culture through heavy athletics. It is the only Highland Games club located in Solano County and welcomes anybody interested in competing –Scottish or not, advanced thrower or not– to join the club for free.
The Highland Games, which are events held in the spring and summer in Scottland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture, involve men and women in kilts competing in strenuous heavy athletic games such as the caber toss, stone put, hammer throw, weight throw and sheaf toss.
Studer’s Iron Thistle Highlanders have placed well in local Highland Games events in the last few years and will again don the kilt this weekend at the Woodland Highland Games at the Yolo County Fairgrounds.
For anyone who is familiar with the extreme lifting that takes place at Highland Game throwing events, bulking up in the weight room would seem like a good way to prepare the body. But Studer say’s the key to success at the Games is actually quite the opposite.
“You would think lifting heavy weights would be the best way to train, but it actually comes down to perfecting the vault,” Studer explained. “Practicing the technical aspects of throwing and the footwork are far more important than lifting weights. I’ve known big, muscular guys that have fallen flat on their face out there and it’s because they haven’t worked on their technique.”
Studer says he hasn’t been able to perfect his craft as much as he would like over the past year because he’s pursuing his doctorate at UC Davis, but likes where some of the other members of his club are at right now.
Along with Studer, Paul Carr, Buck Sullivan and Mikaela Sullivan will be competing in Woodland for the Iron Thistle Highlanders.
“I think Buck, Paul and Mikaela are going to do well this weekend,” Studer said. “I’ve had a couple of setbacks. I’ve lost 25 pounds, which you would think is a good thing, but it actually isn’t for what we are doing. We’re going to give it our best.”
Studer says anybody that is interested in the club can join simply by liking the Iron Thistle Highlanders Facebook page and emailing him directly at [email protected]
As for his advice to interested members, Studer says this.
“Never let the best day of your life be yesterday,” he said. “With this sport, you’re always competing against yourself, always trying to set the bar higher. I’ve had some great times doing this.”