August 21, 2009


Celtic Festival host to Heavy Athletics

As a side attraction to the annual Celtic Festival this weekend, the Heavy Athletics competition returns to Cortland’s Courthouse Park at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The sanctioned event will include the crowd favorite Caber Toss, 56-Pound Weight throw and the 28-Pound Weight throw and Sheaf toss. New events include the 22-Pound Hammer throw and the feature event — the Great North Eastern Weight Over the Bar Championship featuring world record holders Harrison Bailey III and Mike Zolkiewicz.
There will be extra recognition for any new United States or World record set at the Cortland Games.
The competition concludes with the awarding of the Ferguson Cup for the overall winner. The cup is sponsored by Cortland’s Ferguson family in memory of James Ferguson, an avid Celtic supporter.
Last year’s Ferguson Cup overall winner Bailey is a former world champion who has won this event in two of the past three years.
Former Cortland champion Zolkiewicz and Will Barron, the winner of the inaugural Ferguson Cup competition, are among the familiar faces on hand. Dave Barron, Will’s brother, is also a regular in this competition. Also back from past events are Sam Grammar, Rob Hamelin and Bill Monnette.
Continuing the tradition of a new women’s competition, professional competitors Lacy Johnston and Kate Mason will be among that field of throwers.
“There aren’t too many professional competitions for the women athletes, so Cortland will be making its mark with this addition.” explained Will Barron, who is also a part of the organizing committee.
A complete festival schedule can be viewed at or by calling 800-859-2227. In order for the Heavy Athletics competition to be sanctioned, there are a minimum number of events required and a minimum number of professional competitors that must enter.
“Some festivals offer an amateur competition, but in keeping with the (Cortland Regional) Sports Council’s focus we opted to invest in a professional event. It is our hope that the Cortland community comes out to support these athletes. The opportunity to showcase this level of talent in a given sport is rare.” said Machell Phelps, the executive director of the Cortland Regional Sports Council.