By Lauren Breece, Marshall University Student
You need to throw a tomahawk.
Not your speed? How about shoveling some coal or walking a steel beam?
That – and more – is what the Mountain Games are all about. Join fellow Appalachians on Saturday, Sept. 3, during this first-ever celebration of the strength, skill and backwoods knowledge that made our part of the country what it is today!
Mountain Games are a little bit Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, a dash of the Highlands Games and American Ninja Warrior … and a whole lot of fun. Sponsored by the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation, Mountain Games will be held at Heritage Farm, located just off I-64, exit 8.
“My dream for this is to make the Tri-State area a destination for people on Labor Day weekend,” said Bradley Burck, vice president of Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation. “I want to see the farm full of people having fun, experiencing history, and bonding over competition with their friends, family members and co-workers.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital, Burck noted.
Mountain Games are comprised of 10 unique events, designed to test a particular skill that early mountaineers possessed. You don’t have to be a super athlete – or even a modest athlete – to participate.
The one thing everyone should know is you don’t have to be a super athlete to participate”, Burck explained. “Come and have fun. And if you are competitive, strive to win the title!
“The games are all designed so they can be as hard or easy as you want. Anyone can do them. Some people are going to come to win. Some are going to come to laugh. Either way – we are ready,” Burck said.
Mountain Games events are:
• Obstacle Course – Navigate the Appalachian Mountains and her many treacherous obstacles. Do you have what it takes to make it out before you become part of the legend? This is a classic military obstacle course with a little Appalachian flare.
• Feat of Strength – Only the strong survive in the wilds. Would you be able to fight off a bear or a mountain lion with nothing but rocks? In this challenge, you’ll show off your muscles.
• Bigfoot Hunting – Folklore has it that Bigfoot has been seen in these parts. The only way to survive is to kick your way through. Aim and skills count in this unique game of foot play.
• The Coal Miner – Coal mining is treacherous, hard work. Try your hand at moving coal to the delivery point before the train arrives.
• Seneca Rocks – Sometimes to see the real beauty of this state you have to ascend to its highest peak. In this challenge, you will experience the thrill of the climb after summiting our own Seneca Rocks wall.
• Shelter Builder – Your Appalachian ancestors survived by building shelters from whatever was available. Can you survive? Build a suitable shelter in the time allotted or be left out in the cold!
• The Hunter – Back in the day, hunting wasn’t a sport. It meant the difference between food on the table and an empty belly. How would you fare? Try your hand at the bow and arrow and see if you would eat … or starve.
• Steel Walker – Where there’s coal, there is steel. How would you do walking a steel bar? Do you have both the balance and the fearlessness to carry supplies on a high-rise steel beam? Don’t look down because you might not be able to finish the job.
• Tomahawk Throwing – The Tomahawk was one of the most feared weapons in the mountains. In this event, you will use one to protect your livelihood in this contest of accuracy, skill, and throwing ability.
• Dead-Eye Shooting – Loading and firing a muzzle loader or flintlock was neither easy nor quick. Aim was everything. In this contest, your ability to shoot accurately at multiple targets in a specified period of time will be tested.
Steeped in history and mountain folklore, Heritage Farms is the perfect setting for the competition. “Mountain Games is right in line with what my dad was thinking when he started Heritage Farm,” said Audy Perry, Heritage Farm Foundation executive director. “This is giving people a chance to reach back and do what their great grandparents had to do on a daily basis.”
Cost to participate is $40 per person, $240 for a team of six. Sign your team up now by visiting the website at ClaimYourHeritage.com.
Want to help?
Sponsorships are available but are going fast. If you’d like to know more about sponsoring Mountain Games, please call Velma Workman, Cabell Huntington Hospital Community Development at (304) 526-6314.
If you’d like to be involved but just don’t think tossing a tomahawk is your style, consider volunteering. “We have volunteer opportunities for people,” Workman said. “We need help with registration, game management, food sales, and parking.”
The Mountain Games promise to be fun and entertaining for all … and planners are working especially hard to ensure there is something for everyone. Aly McGinnis, co-chair of the Mountain Games and local realtor, is heading up a special children’s play area and games for the smallest ones in attendance.
$40 per individual
$240 per team (6 people)
If you’re a business, consider sponsoring the event.
Call Velma Workman at 304.526.6314