GREENSBURG — Skylar Arenson is making history for not only his Kiowa County-based family but for the United States as the only American to go to Norway, France and Switzerland this year as a competitor in the World Amateur Highland Games Championship.
In August 2019, Arenson not only competed, he won all three phases of strength skills against 12 other men from 10 different countries.
Arneson may have traveled to Bressuire France; Wolfwil, Switzerland; and Fefor, Norway; this year, but his heart rests in Kiowa County. He is the great nephew of C.R. Jacks, a former mayor of Greensburg and owner of Dairy Delight, while multiple other family members live in or attended school in Kiowa County.
Greensburg and Kiowa County residents are proud of their connections to the kilt-wearing world traveler and strength competitor who is finding so much success in world competitions.
“We always knew he had a goal that he would go far in throwing we just didn't know how far,” said Jamie Jones, his mother.
According to Scotland Is Now, “The Highland Games are as iconically Scottish as bagpipes, kilts and whisky — all of which feature heavily at any gathering.”
In the competitions, men dressed in traditional Scottish kilts throw really heavy things. Arneson competed in seven different competitions while overseas.
The most traditional competition is the Caber Toss which has come to symbolize the games. Scotland Is Now describes the Caber Toss, as a full-length log, usually made of Scots pine, stood upright and lifted by the competitor using both hands under the bottom of the caber to rest against his body. The competitor then runs forward, building momentum, before tossing the caber into the air so that it turns end over end with the upper end landing before the end originally held by the competitor follows through and hits the ground.
The aim is for the caber to land in line with the original run. If it is straight, the toss is said to be in the 12 o’clock position. Competitors are judged on how closely their toss lands to 12 o’clock.
Arenson said his love for the Highland Games in college when he met a friend who took him to the games and he was hooked. Arenson’s experience in high school and college track and field prepared him for the games. Arenson graduated from Nickerson Kansas High School and then attended Hutchinson Community College and Wichita State University.
Arenson’s win at the World Amateur Highland Games Championship now propels him into a professional career where he will be paid to play and will now compete professionally in the United States.
“I hope to qualify for the Professional National Championship in September 2020,” he said.