Sons of Scotland Highland Games - June 9, 2001

Oh boy, a new venue, Rotary Stadium, Abbotsford... and I have to say:
"nearly anything would be an improvement over the Cloverdale rodeo (mud / dust) arena /  pit / driveway" (sorry)
But this was not just 'anything', this was a great location for a Highland Games. 

That was the good news, but there is also some 'not so good news':
A) the weather was poor to darn bad, until shortly before the band contests - which started in the early afternoon.
ii) the 'crowd' was not too great either.  (This was probably a result of  the new venue, combined with the wet, cold and miserable weather.)

Most unfortunate, because a tremendous effort (and expense I think) is required to put together a Highland Games; these were very well done, and the venue is a classic. I think, in future years we'll see larger crowds;  they do plan to continue at this venue, and (except for the weather) it was a great games.

.... Here is an early morning composite view of the competition field (I need a wide angle lens on the digital camera ) - Solo piping and drumming events were held (in the rain) around the track edge (you can see a few judges stations), and afternoon band competitions were held in front of the grandstands, an area which was originally to be used by the Highland Dance competitions. They (the wimp dancers -  kidding) were chased away by the rain.

A number  of very young pipers asked me: "why can't we move our events indoors?"
I explained it to them: "'Cause you're tougher, that's why - now get out there (in the rain) and play"

But "Houston.. We have a Problem" .. .
A Highland Games and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup is scheduled for this evening.. Home (the TV) is about 2 hours away from the Games site..  NUTS!... (We're big hockey fans, and I have spent A LOT of time watching playoff games over the last two months - actually; that is about all I have done.)
I wonder if the NHL knows of  the conflict?? 

OK - I'm done whining for now.. (and I do feel a bit better for it)..

We arrived at the competition site at about 8:00 AM - the directions supplied in the entry information were excellent, and this is an easy place to find. But, a cruel joke on the 'ol Bobster.... Entry to the grounds was from the far right in the photo above, and the shelter set up for my daughters' band was... all the way across the field! It took me a while, but I made it there. I am a slow mover these days, but at least I am moving.

One interesting and unique organizational touch here - each solo competitor had their competition number sent to them - and each number also had on it the competitor's name.   A great idea I think - a competition version of the "Hi, my name is __________" badge.  Helps the stewards, helps the judges, and even the spectators.

Speaking of organization: When we don't have order of play available on the web,  I think the next best thing is illustrated here:

A complete list and order for every event, with event start times, judge and steward names, and platform (actually track location) numbers. 

This 'wall of information' was up and available well before before the first solo events started.

Have you ever noticed? The same set of volunteers seem to be there for each of the well run Piping and Pipe Band competitions?  A lot of parents of competitors - and it is great stuff,  it is wonderful to be so spoiled.. These days it seems, if we see Lynn Bullis (and a crew of more than a dozen regular helpers), we know things will run smoothly..

It was a wet, and a fairly miserable morning for the solo contests.  We had rain off an on, and it was quite cold.  Humm.. cold hands, cold fingers,  rain, and bagpipes - wow, a lot  like Scotland I think..

With the dance events moved to an indoor location, the stage, and the grandstands were unused until afternoon. And then that area turned into a great location for a band contest.

Opening ceremonies, at the grandstands,  included all the regular stuff;   massed bands, introductions, talking (the mayor of Abbotsford promised to arrange better weather for next year's games!), and then... a group of SFU pipers took the stage (in rain capes), without their pipes.  Yes indeed - the SFU Grade 1 PB Chorus (my name for them) performed their now famous Canntaireachd  (singing the ground of a Piobaireachd) - as a part of the opening ceremonies. I'm thinking this is probably a first at a Games?  It is most certainly memorable and entertaining.

Then it was on to the Pipe Band competitions -   held in front of the grandstands, on the track.  These events were well and efficiently run - it was a shame the audience was so small.  The weather did improve greatly, and by the time of the Grade 1 contest (only SFUPB was in G1), the sun actually came out to watch! (How does that seem to happen?)

A bit of a treat was the two Grade 3 pipe bands   'playing up' in a Grade 2 contest*

The Chilliwack & District PB
(left - 2nd place in Grade 3),
and The Robert Malcolm Memorial PB
(lower - first place in Grade 3)
competed in the Grade 2 Medley contest, in addition to their own Grade 3 MSR contest.

And.. the results suggest that Grade 2 bands are a bit better than even the best Grade 3 bands.. Humm...(whew?)

*The Grade 2 Band MSR contest would require 2 MSR sets, and I don't think either of these bands has 2 MSR sets ready to 'go'.

Before the band contests I had a chance to talk with Chilliwack & District's PM Fred Hansford about the incredibly healthy state of piping and pipe bands in the Chilliwack / Abbotsford area. Their organization, (C&D PB, and the Fraser Valley Youth PB) has grown to more than 90 members - (wow!).  The FVYPB was started in January of last year (2000), and the SOS games was its third competition of this year (wow - again!). All of this, from an area with a population base of about 65,000 - and the vast majority of their membership is local.  Great stuff for the future of piping is being grown out here!

Grade 3 and 4 Band results were  much in line with last weekend's Bellingham games - but we have a real 'horse race(?)' in Grade 2 - Maple Ridge jumped ahead of the Robert Malcolm Grade 2 band this time, reversing the final results of Bellingham last weekend.  This  is really interesting to me:  both bands have a great pipe sound, but each is distinctive - Maple Ridge with their noticeable higher pitch is very pleasing to my ear and is not 'over the top', but RMM is also pleasing to the ear and their pitch is noticeably lower.  An fascinating contrast (to me at least).  I think we're all in for some very entertaining Grade 2 band contests this season.

And just one last thing to do before we can 'rush' home to watch the hockey game:

Once each outdoor season, SOS this year, a group photo is taken of all uniformed   / competing members of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Organization. This group shot of the SFU, RMM G2, RMM G3, RMM G4, and RMM G5 Pipe Bands was  taken immediately after closing ceremonies - just so I could share it here (kidding). This is one LARGE pipe band family - and here are just the members that competed this day with one of the organization's 5 bands.

Finally, I gathered up my girls, hobbled over to our van, found a radio station that was broadcasting the hockey game (yea), and drove home - arriving in time to watch nearly all of the third period, and the good stuff that followed.. (There is just nothing like the Stanley Cup finals)

What a great day - a Highland games, a full and memorable day out of the house, and a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7..

[Oh - did I mention wife Diana was born and raised in Denver?   We were both delighted with the result (Colorado won, and my favourite goalie was again recognised as MVP with the Conne Smythe -  Patrick Roy).]

Oops.. Piping results.. Sorry, here ya go:

And, yeat another, big THANK YOU - to Rob MacNeil for capturing these results and sending them to me:

Sons of Scotland Highland Games
June 9, 2001
Rotary Stadium, Abbotsford, BC

Cloudy with showers throughout the day.

Solo Adjudicators: Graham Davidson, Dave Hicks, Jack Lee, Rob Menzies, Skye Richendrfer, Jim Stewart; John Fisher, Gregor Merry

Band Adjudicators (P,P,D,E): Skye Richendrfer, Jim Stewart, John Fisher, Rob Menzies.


Beginner: 9
Grade 5: 22
Grade 4: 9
Grade 3: 12
Grade 2: 10
Grade 1: 10
Professional: 5
Adult: 3

Side Drumming
Beginner: 6
Grade 4: 6
Grade 3: 3
Grade 2: 4
Grade 1: 2
Professional: 0

Tenor Drumming
Grade 2: 5
Grade 1: 2

Grade 4: 5
Grade 3: 3
Grade 2: 2
Grade 1: 1


Beginner Any March
1 Craig Matthews
2 Carter Mann
3 John Lee
Grade 5 2/4 March
1 Jessica Ibach
2 Ryan Angeltvedt
3 Nicholas Henderson
4 Kyle Banta
5 Scott Needham
6 Kyle DeGraw
Slow Air
1 Jessica Ibach
2 Karen Dykes
3 Callum Mathers
4 Brittney-Lynn Otto
5 Jake Yonge
6 Lauren MacPhail
Jessica Ibach
Grade 4 2/4 March
1 Andy Stevens
2 Graeme Vivian
3 Laura Rose
Strathspey & Reel
1 Shardae Joy
2 Andy Stevens
3 Emerson Dodge
Andy Stevens
Grade 3 2/4 March
1 Kirsten Mossington
2 Colin Lee
3 Shane Smith
4 Robb Scott
Strathspey & Reel
1 Steven Anderson
2 Kirsten Mossington
3 Robb Scott
4 Ben Parsonson
1 Kirsten Mossington
2 Steven Anderson
3 Colin Lee
4 Shane Smith
Kirsten Mossington
Grade 2 March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Elizabeth Dunsire
2 Michael McLeod
3 Johnathan Farrell
1 Elizabeth Dunsire
2 Michael McLeod
3 Tamara Cameron
1 Johnathan Farrell
2 Matt Reid
3 Cole Griffiths
Elizabeth Dunsire
Grade 1 March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Rob Bruce
2 Neil Wallace
3 Evan Stewart
1 Rob Bruce
2 Evan Stewart
3 Neil Wallace
Jig & Hornpipe
1 Rob Bruce
2 Iain Bullis
3 Malcolm Wallace
Rob Bruce
Professional March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Alan Bevan
2 Jori Chisholm
3 Alan Walters
1 Alan Bevan
2 Ed McIlwaine
3 Jori Chisholm
1 Alan Bevan
2 Alan Walters
3 Alison Dunsire
Alan Bevan
Adult 2/4 March
1 Bob McIlwaine
2 Quinn Provost
Slow Air
1 Quinn Provost
2 Bob McIlwaine
Bob McIlwaine
(on 2/4 March preference)


Beginner Any March
1 Alex Moscrip
2 Aaron Copeland
3 Alanna MacRitchie
Grade 4 2/4 March
1 Randy Wood
2 Rayna Watson
3 Shawna Keyes
6/8 March
1 Rayna Watson
2 Shawna Keyes
3 Christa Renneberg
Rayna Watson
Grade 3 6/8 March
1 Chris Hutchinson
2 Stephen Farrell
Strathspey & Reel
1 Stephen Farrell
Stephen Farrell
Grade 2 March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Alexander Munro
2 Doug Hansford
3 Sean Leroux
Hornpipe & Jig
1 Alexander Munro
2 Sean Leroux
Alexander Munro
Grade 1 March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Daniel Bist
Hornpipe & Jig
1 Carly Coulson
Daniel Bist
(on MSR preference)
Professional * Cancelled.
Lack of sufficient competitors
Grade 2
2/4 March
1 Sarah Ballard
2 Katie Macpherson
3 Deborah Mossington
Grade 1
Hornpipe & Jig
1 Annie Head


Grade 4

1 White Spot
2 Northwest MacGregor
3 Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr4

Best Drum Corps: Northwest MacGregor

Grade 3

March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr3
2 Chilliwack & District
3 Castle Cary Gr3

Best Drum Corps: Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr3

Grade 2

March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Maple Ridge
2 Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr2

Best Drum Corps: Maple Ridge

1 Maple Ridge
2 Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr2
3 Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr3

Best Drum Corps: Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr2

1 Maple Ridge
2 Robert Malcolm Memorial Gr2

Best Drum Corps: Maple Ridge (on MSR preference)

Grade 1

March, Strathspey & Reel
1 Simon Fraser University

Best Drum Corps: Simon Fraser University

1 Simon Fraser University

Best Drum Corps: Simon Fraser University

1 Simon Fraser University

Best Drum Corps: Simon Fraser University


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