Get Jiggy

SAT 6/12
Coming from a lifetime of competitive judo, Steve Scott’s first time at the Scottish Highland Games was a bit of culture shock. “The guy I was up against was standing there drinking a beer, and he says, ‘Here, hold this,’ and he goes, throws the hammer really far, comes back and takes another swig and says, ‘That’s a pretty good hammer throw.’ That kinda got me hooked.” Scott, now retired from competition and acting as a judge and man-at-arms for the festival, is quick to point out that these days, the games (held at the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds, 1405 North 98th Street in Kansas City, Kansas) are much stricter and more family-friendly. The 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Scotsapalooza of contests, piping, dancing and food is as much about burly men in kilts tossing heavy stuff as it is about Scottish culture beyond the tropes of Braveheart. “We just want to put on a good show for the public,” Scott says. “At any given time of day, there’s a toss going on while there’s a dance competition at the same time there’re sheepdogs working.”

The main draws are the games, including the caber toss, which is the hurling of a telephone pole. “It looks pretty easy when we do it, but you’re balancing a 20-foot pole in your hands, and you have to make sure it lands at the twelve o’clock position,” Scott says. “Anything else deducts from a perfect score.”

Scott’s enthusiasm for the games is manic, even as he talks about his torn rotator cuff and his knee surgery. “It’s the only sport where 190 pounds is considered a lightweight. Basically, we give new recruits an IQ test, and if they fail it, then they’re in.” Call 816-361-2451 for details.— Christopher Sebela

Tough on Dirt

The letters PBR usually bring a refreshing, hoppy, canned-beer taste to mind. After this weekend’s events at Kemper Arena (1800 Genessee), the same three letters will remind us of blood, dirt, manure and cowboys in Kevlar. Starting at 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, 45 of the world’s best professional bull riders (PBRs) will attempt to rein in 2,000-pound bulls for 8 seconds at a time at the Cabela’s Classic. If that’s not enough vicarious danger for one weekend, pyrotechnics will bring a rock feel to this country event, and a round of bullfighting follows each night’s riding: Five dudes face Mexican fighting bulls for 70 seconds, the goal being to not, um, die. Tickets start at $15 (and go all the way up to $100). Call 816-931-3330. — Michael Vennard

Water Ride

SUN 6/13
On our recent trip to Boston, a disproportionately high number of residents seemed to know a lot about their city’s landmarks. And they were outside and active on weekend mornings. And it actually looked fun. We worried that dear Kansas City might not aspire to such levels of activity. Then we found out about Sunday’s Fountain Tour, a bike ride that starts in the River Market (at Third Street and Grand) and weaves past many of our town’s coolest water spots, including Liberty Memorial and the Country Club Plaza. There’s a 25-mile tour at 8 a.m. for those who can’t hack the 7:30 a.m. 45-mile ride; each costs $20. For information, call 913-221-6392. — Annie Fischer

Bloodsucking Toys

FRI 6/11
We get the feeling that some folks might still be doubting the necessity of skateparks in Kansas City, so we hereby invite all naysayers to attend the demo at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark on Friday. Starting at 6 p.m., Toy Machine, a six-man team of professional boarders that includes founder Ed Templeton, will be there putting huge smiles on faces of the young and not-so-young. The park, tucked away at the intersection of North Brighton and Pleasant Valley Road in North Kansas City, isn’t very well built, but that shouldn’t stop Templeton and his posse from making the crusty concrete their bitch. The best part: It’s free. For details, call the Escapist skate shop at 816-436-2504. — Vennard

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