Keep­ing cul­ture

Scot­fest show­cases kilts, bag­pipes, feats of strength

Tulsa World - - Metro&region - By reece ris­tau the at­ten­dees had strong fa­mil­ial to Scot­land's his­tory. Daniel

BRO­KEN AR­ROW — Vi­brant kilts, bag­pipe tunes and Scot­tish feats of strength were on dis­play this week­end at Scot­fest 2018.

About 25,000 peo­ple were ex­pected to at­tend the three-day fes­ti­val that be­gan Fri­day at Bro­ken Ar­row Events Park and ends Sun­day. The fes­ti­val in­cluded 20 bands, 150 ath­letes com­pet­ing in tra­di­tional Scot­tish sports and about 100 dancers.

Many of ties

My­ers, 56, has closely traced the her­itage of his fam­ily, who trav­eled from Scot­land to Ire­land in 1605 and then from Ire­land to the United States in 1856, a time when many Protes­tants were mi­grat­ing.

My­ers, of Bro­ken Ar­row, who was decked out in a bright green T-shirt that said “Ire­land,” a dark green plaid kilt and dark green tights, said he has at­tended Scot­fest for nearly 30 years.

“I just come to lis­ten mu­sic,” he said.

That mu­sic — mainly the bleat­ing of bag­pipes — could be heard through­out the fes­ti­val. Dal­las-based Metro­plex United Pipe Band trav­eled up for the event, play­ing “Scot­land the Brave” and “Auld Lang Syne,” among other tra­di­tional Scot­tish melodies.

Matt Willis, pipe ma­jor for Metro­plex, said the group, which was formed in 2013, trav­els to states sur­round­ing Texas to pro­mote Scot­tish her­itage and cul­ture.

“It's im­por­tant to pre­serve cul­ture, and that's re­ally the driv­ing force be­hind why we do this,” Willis said.

Other bag­pipe groups, in­clud­ing Tulsa Po­lice Pipes & Drums, were also there.

Scot­fest held a com­pe­ti­tion for High­land danc­ing, in which par­tic­i­pants dance on the balls of their feet, kick their legs out and per­form other tech­ni­cal leg­work. The style was de­vel­oped in the Scot­tish High­lands in the 1800s.

Emma Kar­ren, 14, trav­eled from Is­saquah, Wash­ing­ton, to show off her moves. She said she has been learn­ing High­land danc­ing since she was 5 and prac­tices an hour a day in ad­di­tion to two les­sons a week.

Emma said she en­joys High­land danc­ing's unique style as com­pared to most mod­ern dance styles. “I like how dif­fer­ent it is,” she said.

While some fes­ti­val­go­ers were there sim­ply to en­joy the beer, food and mu­sic, about 150 mus­cled ath­letes came to com­pete in var­i­ous Scot­tish sports. As the sun beat down Satur­day af­ter­noon, a group of women com­peted in the sheaf toss, in which par­tic­i­pants use a pitch­fork to hurl a stuffed burlap bag over a hor­i­zon­tal bar.

Other games in­cluded Scot­tish ham­mer throw weight over the bar.

Many Scot­tish clan as­so­ci­a­tions set up tents at the event to pro­mote Scot­tish her­itage and teach peo­ple about their pos­si­ble fam­ily ties to Scot­land. Lee Shack­elford was there to rep­re­sent Clan Scott, which pro­vides schol­ar­ships for young peo­ple in Scot­tish danc­ing, sports and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

Shack­elford, com­mis­sioner of the clan in Ok­la­homa, said his grand­mother's last name was Scott. The fam­ily has strong Scot­tish ties, though they aren't sure whether they're re­lated to Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buc­cleuch and the cur­rent largest landowner in Scot­land.

Ei­ther way, Shack­elford he knows his Scot­tish roots run deep.

“I'm ornery and pig­headed,” he joked. “That fits right into the Scots.”

MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Sgt. Clay As­bill (right) and other mem­bers of the Tulsa Po­lice Pipes and Drums group per­form dur­ing Scot­fest at the Bro­ken Ar­row Events Park on Satur­day.

MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Ch­eryl Wolfin­ger, an Ok­taha na­tive who lives in At­lanta, com­petes in the open stone event of the High­land games dur­ing Scot­fest at the Bro­ken Ar­row Events Park on Satur­day. She took first place in the event and sec­ond place over­all

MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Black­smith Chuck Waite shapes a dec­o­ra­tive cross dur­ing Scot­fest in Bro­ken Ar­row on Satur­day. In ad­di­tion to tra­di­tional skills and mu­sic, fes­ti­val­go­ers can find ances­try in­for­ma­tion there.

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