Camp Fuji holds second Scottish Highland Games
May 15, 2007
CAMP FUJI, Japan — The kilts were back Sunday as U.S. Marines and sailors staged the second annual Camp Fuji Scottish Highland Games.
The spectacle drew more than 1,500 visitors, mostly Japanese from the local community. It marked the installation’s first open-base event in three years.
“The whole idea is friendship through sports,” said Rick Sacca, Camp Fuji’s Marine Corps Community Services supervisor. “It’s about bringing everybody together for some fun and community relations.”
Bagpipes played in the background as a “kilted” relay race, soccer, wrestling and tug-of-war unfolded on a windy but pleasant day, with snow-capped Mount Fuji visible throughout. Participants included American servicemembers, local Japanese residents and area Japan Self-Defense Force garrisons.
The more traditional Gaelic contests featured a 35-pound hammer throw and a caber toss, in which the competitors tried flipping over a 100-pound wooden pole and getting it to land close to 12 o’clock. In the “weight for height” showdown, they had to heave a 42-pound, mace-like object over a bar up to 17 feet above their heads.
Sgt. Ryan Frazier, the 2006 overall heavyweight champion, repeated as winner of the “putting the stone” contest, similar to the shot put.
First place in the hammer throw and “weight for height” was claimed by Capt. Dan Thunen. Petty Officer 3rd Class John Coleda captured the caber toss.
The 24-year-old Navy corpsman at Camp Fuji’s health clinic was among three heavyweight competitors who also appeared in the 2006 Highland Games.
“I got to beat my boss in everything, so that was good,” Coleda quipped, referring to Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Royall. “I came close in several events. Finally broke through. I had a really good day ’til Capt. Thunen showed up and kept beating me. I was thinking, ‘Isn’t he supposed to leave already?’
“It was good to come out and compete against guys like Frazier. I finally got to beat him in something. Felt good. It was awesome.”