I had a very brief, but insightful, little e-chat with my pal Mona the other day about my placing in the Wisconsin Scottish games. Well, I placed 8th…cuz it was an open class, I was the only girl, and I tell  ya what, I was ok with that $25 check. It was spent immediately in the beer tent but such is life. Heh. While we were chatting, it occurred to me that I’ve only thrown in one Highland Games with an actual ladies Masters class. Against HER, at Enumclaw. And as I’ve mentioned before, I stepped up my game as much as possible there.

It got me thinking, when I throw in an open field be it a women’s open or just plain ‘ole open like my local Games are done, do I psych myself up as much as I should (or could) compared to when I know I have a chance to place well in the group? And if the answer is no, am I just being realistic or am I a weak competitor? Huh.

I don’t like to think of myself as a weak competitor. I try to always improve my numbers at let the chips fall where they may as to the final results. After all, I have no control over how someone else throws, just me. However, when I show up and three of my competitors are in the top 10 on NASGA and up to 20 years younger than me? Uff Da! I’ve knocked myself off the podium just by showing up. Heh. Now in no way am I complaining about the value of competing with these amazing ladies. I’m better because of it.  But is there a way to both learn from the best AND compete against others in my *cough*cough* age bracket where having a chance to place well spurs the competition spirit inside of me for maybe a few more inches on each throw?

I don’t know. But maybe next season is where I find out. One hurdle is that so many of our Midwest games run one women’s class due to the lack of throwers. Huh. Well, maybe we need to get more women involved. That needs some thought on how to do that.  After all, I don’t want my own class all by myself, I want a great class full of great throwers that I compete against or what’s the point?  So that aspect needs some brainstorming and teamwork from some of the other Midwest women. Not insurmountable but a nice little off-season challenge.

Another option is to find a few Games with big enough numbers in the women’s groups that they split out a Master’s group.  I have my eye on a few out west next year, all I need to do is keep my Bigg man on the road to get those frequent flier miles and hotel points and it’s a go. Heeeheee.   In all seriousness, we’ve discussed it and having Matt’s support in all this is just so huge. I’m also hoping/expecting to continue to meet great folks along the way that may have some ideas for other games within driving distance that our doable for me.

At the end of the day, I own my own numbers and know the placings fall where they may. I’m thankful for every single Games I’ve thrown in this year no matter who I shared the field with. But there may be ways to improve my overall experience next year and hopefully contribute in my small way to a tough American women’s masters class. Word.

Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding on how you will go about achieving it and staying with the plan.

Tom Landry

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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2 Responses to Classy

  1. Teresa Merrick says:

    Hi Juli,

    There are many more games in the Midwest/Heartland either offering a specific women’s Master’s class, or allowing Master’s women to throw a 21# weight in a “handicap” open division. By making my own 21# weight (convertible for WFD/WOB), I’ve been able to use it at nearly every event I’ve done this season (and they would have done so in the first one I did, but I forgot to bring the weight).

    So far this year for me, Masters World Championships (naturally), Kansas City, Wichita, Quad Cities (Davenport), and McPherson had (will have) separate master’s Women’s classes. Kirksville depends on how many master’s women come (else it will be a “handicap” open). Sioux Falls and Waterloo, IA have been handicap open.

    I’m with you about recruiting more women to throw. But as to your comment ” I don’t want my own class all by myself, I want a great class full of great throwers that I compete against or what’s the point?”, I don’t have a problem with being a class of one: the fact that no one else entered is not my fault. If the only one there, my goals at that point are to have fun, do the best I can anyway, perhaps inspire some women of all ages to come out to try, entertain the spectators, and partake in the rest of the HG camaraderie.

    I’d be happy to respond to any further thoughts you have (send to my e-mail as listed below).

    I hope you’re still coming to Kirksville; as I said, I’m looking forward to meeting you in person and (probably) having my butt kicked !

    Teresa Merrick

    • tosabarbell says:

      Thank you SO much Teresa, that is exactly the information I was looking for! The more people I meet involved with the games the more valuable information (and more importantly friends;) I acquire!

      As for ‘class of one’, putting it in that reference was only made to assure any potential AD that I don’t expect them to open up a Women’s masters class just for me (extra prizes, etc.) That’s all. I agree, I’m responsible for getting me to the games, no one else.

      I will definitely be more assertive in throwing the 21# in comps next year to get better prepared for Scotland.

      I’ll be in Kirksville. Really excited to throw with you and have a great final comp of the year. Cheeers!!

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