Arnold Sports Festival 2020: Elissa Hapner Scottish Highland Games

Elissa Hapner, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020
Elissa Hapner, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020

How did you get involved in the Scottish Highland Games?

My college track coach suggested it. I tried it and got better.

How do you train for this?

I run about 3 miles a day. I do Olympic style weightlifting, then I go outside and throw some stuff around. I train about 3 hours a day.

Do you eat clean?

I do. I meal prep on Sunday. I make all my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. Sunday gets a little “cheatish”, a little ice cream…

How long have you been doing this?

This is my sixth year.

Are you an amateur or pro?

For women, it is a little gray. Sometimes you get paid, sometimes you don’t.  Today, I am competing pro. Tomorrow, I will compete amateur. For men, they can either throw pro or amateur. They can’t do both.

Tell me what I don’t know about your event.

We throw nine events but only 5 are inside. The point is to do your best. If you win, you only get one point. The goal is to get the least amount of points as possible like in golf. You are trying to get the furthest distance, the highest throw, and then make first so you get the fewest amount of points.

Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that I should have asked you?

Everyone can do it. We allow novices, walk ons, different age groups, even children. It is for the whole family. You do not have to be Scottish. You can be anyone that you want to be. I am not the norm. The culture allows it, and everyone is accepting, and we just have fun.

Elissa Hapner tossing the caber, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020
Elissa Hapner tossing the caber, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020

Sidebar: The first thing I noticed were the kilts. The second thing I noticed were the unique events.

I missed Elissa competing in heavy weight for distance (HOD), weight over bar (WOB), and sheaf toss. Here are a few pictures to help visualize the other events.

Sheaf toss, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020
Sheaf toss, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020
Weight over bar, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020
Weight over bar, Scottish Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival 2020

Congrats Elissa! She tied for first place.

My take: I was drawn to this event not only because I found the throws visually appealing but also because the group appeared to be laid back and encouraging of all who competed. I want to see the remaining events that I missed this year.