Nearing The End


Nearly two years ago, I decided to compete in a Highlander (1/2 Strongman, 1/2 Highland Games) down in Wichita Falls, Tx. A very nice crew came up from the DFW area which included Elite thrower Brittany Boswell. She was quick to give us a view of what this Highland crowd was about. Fun, hard working, self deprecating, stylish, helpful (so helpful), and overall pretty bad ass. I had a great time, did ok, and thought maybe I’d like to do some more of these things.

And here we are today, nearing the end of my first Highland Games season.  I can honestly say in all of my years in competition, I’ve never had this much fun or met so many amazing people. Highland Games friendships are made fast and hold strong, it’s a pretty rare occurrence in adult life. Chalk it up to like minded folks; those who wish to compete hard, play hard, have fun, leave the silly game playing behind, and show respect to the field and it’s participants? I dunno. All I know is that this sport breeds some good people and I’m incredibly thankful for all of them and lessons learned on the field in one swift season.

I’ve had great games and some where I’ve struggled. I’ve had games where I’ve had absolutely nothing left in the tank at the end of the day and those where I”ve felt good enough to leave our dent in the beer tent afterwards.


I’ve thrown far…and not so far; I’ve fallen out of the trig; I’ve acquired some phenomenal tan lines; and have had so much dust fly up my nose I’m sure I’ll still find some this winter. I’ve gotten to mosey about with my Bigg man who has so much fun at some of these that I barely see him throughout the day. Heh. The Oz man has also acquired some much revered swords and has already picked up on good sword Games and not so good sword Games and will choose accordingly whether or not he wants to come.

I have been fortunate enough to throw at Games with top athletes in this game and am hoping to do even more next year.  I’ve been even MORE fortunate to get some great coaching from the likes of Jason Clevenger, Sara Hilgers, Katie Steingraeber, Brian Hare, Beth Burton, Mona Malec, and others that are no less important but my head is spinning a bit. I’ve had the opportunity to watch Matt and Andy Vincent go head to head; Kristi Scott throw the WOB over 20′; Adrian Wilson attack the trig with every throw; Jake Sullivan, Mark Valenti, Kerry Overfelt, and more greats do what they do best. And that’s just year one (I’ve included my first Games here in Waukesha last Labor Day weekend in this first year.)

I’ve had a chance to visit family and friends and even had my own Viking horn blowing crew at one of them. That. Was. Awesome.

My Crew

In short, it’s been a great season. To say it’s only the beginning is a bit mind blowing for me. Can it get better? I’ll believe yes but it has some large shoes to fill. I have the Wisconsin Scottish Games this weekend here in town that will officially mark my one year anniversary. Some great Pro’s come in for that one and I’m excited to watch them compete. I’ll remember to shut things down and just F’n throw! SRSLY.

September has been slated as no Games month since Oz has football games on Saturday’s and it’s time he has some “all about Oz” days. My last Games of the year will be in October in Indianapolis the weekend before we head to Lithuania for the World Loglift Championships for the Bigg guy. If you have a better way to end a sports season, bring it on. Heehee.

Thankfullness. I haz it.

When my time on Earth is gone, and my activities here are past, I want them to bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass.

Bobby Knight

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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1 Response to Nearing The End

  1. Brittney says:

    So glad you decided to stick around in the games! Really hope to get to throw with you again soon!

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