Competitors of All Shapes, Sizes and Species at the Scottish Highland Games

Thousands of kilts assembled at Brengle Terrace Park on Sunday for the 43rd annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games & Gathering of the Clans.

The 2016 edition of the games marked the first time that they have included a beard and mustache competition. Each beardsman was given the opportunity to campaign for his whiskers, before having their facial follicles assessed by a trio of judges.

Even kids were able to join the hirsute hijinks, by constructing their own beards. After winning the title of cutest bearded kid, Nick Eck described his temporary chin carpet as "itchy."

While the bearding was new, plenty of traditional elements remained — from the hum of bagpipes resonating through the park, to the assortment of meat pies on offer, to the athletes throwing heavy things around in the heavy athletics events.

Jessica Smith spent two years watching the games from the sidelines, but decided to cross the rope and is now in her second year of competition.

"It’s way more fun to participate than it is to watch," says Smith. "If you like athletic things at all, it’s a really fun event and the camaraderie is fantastic."

A world record holder was on the field as well. Rachel Smith’s 15′ mark in the weight-over-bar is the standard for the women’s 40+, under 155lbs division.

"We have so much fun," says Smith. "We will teach anybody that wants to learn, and if you want to play, you don’t even have to have trained at all. You can walk out here the first day, put on a kilt, and we’ll teach you how to do it."

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