Steeped in Scottish culture, Susott and DeBord compete in Highland games

Camden Anslinger, Reporter

Kyle DeBord and Marvin Susott are most commonly known in the south Gibson area as teachers at the high school. However, both share an uncommon hobby – they participate in Highland games. Highland games are an old Scottish tradition consisting of players participating in eight events: two stone events, braemar and the open stone, the weight for distance, the two hammer events, weight for height, the Caber toss, and the sheaf.

This year is Susott’s fourth year in participating in the Highland games. He had an itch that needed to be scratched and decided this was the best way to do it.

“I was looking for a way to compete, and this is what I stumbled upon,” Susott said.

Half of Susott’s family is Scottish, so the Highland games was a reasonable conclusion. Susott’s season was cut short due to a neck injury. His most recent games were the Eminence Highland Games on July 17, 2021, but he did not place. However, he has finished in the top of his age group and is very proud of it.

“I ended up fourth in the national championships in the 45-49 division,” Susott said.

He has placed third and higher in other meets, having missed second place by half of a point. The point system varies between events at everything under the regional level.

Even though Susott was unable to participate in most of the season, his protégé, DeBord, just completed his first whole season. Debord and Susott are good friends outside of work. Susott encouraged Debord to start participating in the games and in September of 2019 Debord started his journey under the teachings of Susott. Even though he is new to the sport, DeBord has already achieved great things and does not plan on stopping.

“Technically, I’ve won my weight division a few times because I compete in the under 200 pound division,” DeBord said.

However, Debord’s proudest achievement does not have to do with his placing. Instead, DeBord is proud of how much he has improved and how far he has come, especially this season.

“The best accomplishment for me is being able to see the progress I’ve made over this last year,” DeBord said. “And, my throwing has gotten better. I’ll take that as a win anytime.”

DeBord’s most recent meet was October 9, 2021. The meet was a success for Debord, as he set a new personal record on both the heavy and light hammer. As well as bettering himself, Debord also placed very well.

“I placed second, even against the guys that are 275+ pounds in both stones,” DeBord said.

Susott and DeBord trained together regularly before Susott’s injury. They would usually meet at one or the other’s house and practice their forms and critique and better each other. If they can’t meet in person, they work on their own, video themselves and then send it to the other for mostly positive criticism. During the offseason, DeBord plans on bettering his form on the stones so by next spring he’ll have the technique dialed in. DeBord conditions himself during the off season by lifting weights, which is an edge he has over most competition.

“Most of the guys don’t condition at all,” DeBord said. “They’ll lift weights, but I have to stay under 200 pounds.”

DeBord only achieved all this through his friendship with Susott and argues that none of his success would be possible without Susott.

“I wouldn’t be doing it without him,” DeBord said.