Julie Stechmann competes in the stone putt

Sun shines on Hororata Games

by Mike Isle

Dancers flinging, drum majors twirling, strongmen and women competing, bands playing — there was plenty to attract 9,000 visitors to the eighth annual Hororata Highland Games held last Saturday at the Hororata Domain.

Event manager, Cindy Driscoll, said the weather remained a concern right up to the event after heavy rain earlier in the week threatened to turn the domain into a sodden mess.

“The team rose to this challenge and were well prepared. We are very lucky with the Hororata Domain as a venue; as it coped with the amount of rain, we received on the Friday with surface water draining away by the time the gates opened on Saturday.”

More than 500 competitors competed in 12 events, including the Tug O’ War, Sack Carry and Small-Bore Rifle Shooting.

The Gough CAT Oceania Heavyweight Championship was won by New Zealander Jono McFarlane, Julie Stechmann won the Amateur Heavy Women’s Championship and Brian Reeves won the men’s. The Champion Highland Dancer was Danielle Joy, and Champion Pipe Band was Canterbury Caledonian Society’s Highland Pipe Band. The Darfield High School team won the Harraways Junior Warriors interschool competition, and the Average Joes from Christchurch took out the trophy pull in the Southfuels Tug O’ War. Hororata local, 15-year-old Harry Cookson took out the Selwyn Times Kilted Mile, this running race is not the normal mile; competitors have to jump over obstacles, eat, drink and run. Harry won the race with his ability to eat a Hororata Pie in record time.

Chieftain Patrick Hellier, New Zealand’s highest achieving Highland Games Heavy athlete, commented “It was great for me to experience the full festival surrounding the arena where I normally spend most of my time. I enjoyed meeting the clans and seeing the other competitions.”

Cindy Driscoll said The Hororata Highland Games was a community event staged by the Hororata Community Trust and would not be possible without community passion, dedication and commitment.

“The games put Hororata on the map, and it is the launch pad for other projects such as the planned new Hororata Community Centre and the Hororata Night Glow.

“Twelve community groups fundraise at the event which is a huge opportunity for them as the games bring a wider audience to the district. The games take a collective approach and because of this has strengthened the community.”

Pipe bands to the fore

Julie Stechmann competes in the stone putt