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Bill Scruggs

Bill Scruggs

Ed MacLaughlen Throwing Caber

Ed MacLachlan

Throwing the Caber

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Scottish Masters Athletics



Scottish Heavy Athletics requires years of dedicated training and some serious muscle. These games involve throwing a tree, called a Caber (with the bark peeled off and sometimes painted), big rocks, hammers and other very heavy items with Scottish names.


I was able to visit with William M. Scruggs, known by his friends as "Bill" and sometimes called "Mountain Billy". Bill Scruggs was one of the founders of Scottish Masters Athletics International and currently manages the organization. Here's what he told me.


Bill Scruggs: "I started learning and competing the Scottish

"I did find not just winning but setting personal records very rewarding. I enjoyed regaining the strength I had as a younger man."


Bill Scruggs

heavy athletics when I was 53 years old. Having competed in field events in track as a student it was somewhat familiar. There was a real magnetism for me for throwing the heavy stuff around and competing against others of my age or even younger.


"My practices probably averaged 1 to 2 hours a day and I went to the gym for a 1 hour workout 3 to 4 days a week. I was self taught and had no one to train with learning by watching videos of pro throwers.


"I lived in Missouri at the time and traveled to games in MO, KS, OK, TX, AZ, CA, AR and IL. I did win many masters competitions - West Coast Masters Championship, Masters World Champion plus games in Denver, Estes Park, Tulsa, Kansas City, Sacramento.


"I did find not just winning but setting personal records very rewarding. I enjoyed regaining the strength I had as a younger man.


"One of the greatest rewards for me was the friendships and camaradarie that developed around and at the games. After I could no longer compete for physical reasons I helped start and continue to manage the Masters World Championships for just that reason."


I asked Bill what goes on in the bodies of older athletes. I wanted to know if replacement parts (knees, hips, etc) really help and what could be learned about living with pain. I was especially curious about the often overlooked things like food, water and good air. Here's what he said:


Bill Scruggs: Most Scottish athletes live with pain, especially the masters. I did. I took a lot of Aleve and many I knew relied on Motrin. I had injections in my knees and shoulders a couple of times. In fact, I probably lifted and practiced too much for my age. I know it put a lot of wear on my shoulders and knees.


"But, I thought the pain wasn't so bad and didn't outweigh the benefits I found in the game. I changed sleeping positions as necessary and learned other things to relieve the pain.


"Replacement knees? I have two and you can't compete on them. There are new designs which give more rotational ability so I don't know about that.


"Food & water? Once, in the heat in Kansas City, I didn't manage my fluid and electrolite intake well during the day and buy the time the last event came around I had lost a lot of my coordination. Never happened again. Lots of Gatorade, pancakes for breakfast and lunch (buy them at MacDonalds in the am, eat one batch and save one batch for lunch - eat the cakes and drink the syrup.)"