Fun at Scottish Games and Gathering


A group of attendees dressed like those of olden Scottish citizens selling the event programs.

Mitchelle De Leon, Reporter

By Mitchelle De Leon



For anyone who enjoys Pixar’s “Brave,” finds pleasure in the sound of bagpipes or wants to see men wear kilts in person, the 18th Annual Scottish Games and Gatherings was the perfect event.

The Kern County Scottish Society hosted the event at the Fair Grounds on March 23.

With a $16 ticket, visitors saw Scottish heavy athletics which consisted of the stone throw, weight for distance, caber toss and hammer throw.

Live music stages, pipe bands, Highland dancers and various vendors were among the many activities that created the atmosphere of celebration for Scottish culture.

Over 20 Scottish clans joined the event. One of them was the McPherson Clan. The clan has over 20,000 members worldwide according to Rod Schreckengost, a clan member.

“They associate it as best as they could through applying. It had to do with the land where everybody lived,” Schreckengost explained. “Certain families lived around there, so they associated with them. That’s how they formed the big clan.”

Schreckengost works as a consultant for the construction industry, but he still finds the time to participate in various Scottish gatherings.
“Our association here in Southern California has a lot of events together,” Schreckengost said. “I’ve been twice to the international gathering at Scotland.”

The largest of these gatherings is the Cowal Games at Dunoon, Scotland. Outside of Bakersfield, different areas host their own Scottish Games and many individuals attending the event came from other parts of California.

The Golden Coast Pipes and Drums, one of the groups of bagpipe players, came from Camarillo.

The group had been participating in the event for five years. Walley Boggess, a retired chemistry teacher at 72 years old, was one of the group’s bagpipers. He explained how to operate the instrument.

“You blow in the bag and you squeeze the bag with your elbow and by blowing and squeezing and blowing and squeezing, you maintain a constant pressure.

The air you put in the bag is forced down the chanter, which makes the music,” Boggess explained. “There are only nine notes, no sharps or flats. It also goes up to those things that lie on our shoulders called drones. The shorter drones play an octave higher.”

Stephanie Scott, a t-shirt seller at the event, said it was her first time at Bakersfield’s Scottish Games. Like Boggess, she came to support the event from outside of Bakersfield.

Scott, who is originally from Woodland, watched her son Dustin as he competed in the caber toss. She explained how the game worked.

“The object is to turn the caber all the way over to flip it and get it to 12 o’clock [position],” Scott said. “If you do not flip it, you get a degree mark.”

Scott had been participating in Scottish gatherings for “about 10 years,” she said, finding time between two part-time jobs.