By Lauren Francis
When asked how you spent your warm September Saturday could you say you were slinging coal, chasing down Big Foot and flying tomahawks through the air? The 170 competitors of this year’s Mountain Games could and that is just a few of the events they participated in while also supporting Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.
Competitors from all over the region arrived ready to go Saturday, September 23, 2017 for the second annual Mountain Games and to have their chance of claiming the title of Mountain Man, Mountain Woman, Mountain Youth or Mountain Team. The day started with a 5 Mile Trail Run through the rough terrain of the Mountains and included around 85 participants in that portion of the event alone.
At 9:30am the Fife and Drum Corp marched into the field of play and the cannon rang out signifying the official beginning of the games. In addition to the 10 games, all relating to events that pay homage to our Appalachian Heritage by having competitor’s compete in events reminiscent to the tasks our ancestors used to have to do just to survive, there was live cloggers, storytelling and a Lumberjack Duel between top STIHL Timber sports Champions Arden and Matt Cogar.
“Mountain Games are for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how good an athlete you are, these are all games you can do! Everyone should come out next year and try their hands at Mountain Games and see if they can do the things their ancestors had to do just to stay alive,” said Bradley Burck, Vice President of the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation.
The competitors said that the competition was fierce and the games truly tested your skills. “My husband and I had a BLAST! We knew it would be fun, but we didn’t expect to have this much fun! Obviously we knew that the events required physical activity but we did not expect it to be as challenging as it was,” said Emily Gaskins, first time competitor in Mountain Games who competed with her husband in this year’s event.
“I’m just so impressed by the design of the event. Jay and I have done Warrior Dashes and 5Ks. But this is truly unlike any competition I’ve ever been in. It challenges you on every level – physical, mentally, and creatively. You get to do things you would probably never do elsewhere, like throw an axe at a target, build a fort in 8 minutes or rock climb,” said Gaskins.
Heritage Farm and Village offer a picturesque and perfect location for an event of this nature and guests in attendance also had the opportunity to enjoy and walk through the different museums and exhibits the farm has to offer during Mountain Games as part of their Way Back Weekends. Children were able to enjoy and participate in their own version of the games in the Kids Zone, organized by River Cities Community Church.
“Until I saw what actually goes on at the Mountain Games, I had no idea of the magnitude of work involved with coordinating this event,” said Joseph Holley, sponsor with JABO Supply Corporation.
This event could not be possible without the wonderful support of our community and sponsors. The Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation sends a sincere thank you to all of those that supported, volunteered and contributed in any way to this wonderful event supporting Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.
“I’m so excited that the community comes to support these great events. Every event we do helps to create more excitement in the community and a better understanding of what we do for Hoops Family Children’s Hospital,” said Velma Workman, Development Outreach Coordinator with the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation.
“I want to thank all the volunteers that helped make Mountain Games possible, this event could not be done without the hundreds that came out to help,” said Workman.
This year’s Mountain Games was wonderful and next year’s will even be bigger so start training and planning now on being at this one of a kind event. The date for 2018 will be announced soon so be sure to keep following www.ClaimYourHeritage.com for more details and follow Mountain Games on Facebook. For more information about other ways you can get involved and help the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation please follow at www.CHHFoundation.org.