JAMESTOWN – The national champion of the North American Scottish Games Association is a Jamestown resident, and he will be showing off his skills with rocks and other competition tools Saturday at the Scottish Highlands Festival in Amherst.
Nick Kahanic, 27, of Jamestown, is looking forward to the event. He recently earned the North American title and said he enjoys sharing the history of the games at festivals.
Kahanic is not of Scottish heritage. He explained that his interest in the competition came while he was a sophomore at Roberts Wesleyan College. Kahanic said that a couple of pints of Guinness and encouragement from his friends got him to challenge someone on the field of a Highland games competition.
His skills as a track and field competitor made the transition from shotput to rock an easy one.
“It was fun and I wanted to continue,” said Kahanic.
Kahanic says his job working for a soft drink company helps him with daily training. “Lifting cases of Pepsi every day is my cardio exercise,” he said. He spends another two hours in the gym every day.
He expects more than 30 competitors in his class in nine different categories this weekend. Kahanic’s goal is to be on a team representing the U.S. in international competition. Since he does not have a Scottish family background, he wears a kilt with a U.S.A. pattern for his competition.
There will be nine different areas of skill for the Highland games competition. Each test endurance and ability. Rocks are used in tosses along with hammers and a “sheaf,” which resembles a bale of hay.
Kahanic said a highlight of the competition is getting children involved. “We might even have them participate in a tug of war,” he said.
The Scottish Highlands Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst. Tickets are $10.