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Rules to play Caber Toss
The caber is similar to a wooden utility pole. They can range from 16 to 22 feet and weigh between 100 and 180 pounds, though the average caber checks in at 18 feet and 150 pounds. Cabers are tapered with one end usually around 9 inches and the other 5 inches in diameter. The smaller end is rounded off, which makes it easier for the thrower to grasp.
Two or three men stand the caber up with the larger end on top and bring it to the thrower. The thrower slowly hoists the caber off the ground, cradles the tapered end in both hands, and balances it against his shoulder. The thrower then runs forward a short distance to build up momentum. Just before the toss, he allows the caber to leave his shoulder, which causes the top end to fall forward. When tossed correctly, the tapered end lands away from the thrower.
One judge stands behind the thrower and one to the side. The back judge follows the thrower and reads the toss as it relates to an imaginary clock face on the ground. The thrower starts off at the imaginary 6 oclock position. The judge checks the direction of the run and then where the caber lands in the clock. The side judge determines if the caber turns correctly. He also judges the degrees of the angle the caber makes with the ground in relation to a 90-degree vertical position.
Each thrower is allowed three attempts, but only the best score counts in the competition. The cabers larger end must land first, the tapered end must fall forward through a 90-degree vertical position and land between 9 oclock and 3 oclock, according to NASGA rules. The best scores go to the cabers closest to the 12 oclock position. If no thrower turns the caber, the thrower who tossed closest to 90 degrees vertical wins.
5. Miscellaneous Rules
If the thrower picks up the caber and has to set it back on the ground, this counts as one of his three tries. In official games, competitors must wear a kilt, hose and flashes. Flashes are worn around the top of the hose, inside the cuff, and help keep the hose in place. Scottish clothing can be waived by a games official for novice and first-time throwers.
6. How to win
There are two things that will make you successful tossing a caber; one is form, since the judging is done by direction, and the other is energy.Tossing a caber, like tossing anything, takes kinetic energy. The Scottish think they invented kinetic energy. Like the Greeks they find a way to have invented everything.
But energy is sort of abstract for most people to understand so we instead think in terms of work, like how much weight can be moved in some period of time. Car commercials, for example, commonly talk about horsepower but what does that mean? The classical definition of a horsepower is 33,000 f *lb /minute, but caber tossing doesnt take a minute so if we divide by 60, we have 550 lbs. moved one foot in one second, which is a little closer to what we need.
A caber is 150 lbs. so 1 HP would lift it 3.67 feet in that one second but a Caber is 18 feet long, give or take so how useful is 3.67 feet? Since the goal is to get the narrow end being held near the waist pointed directly away from the thrower, it needs to go end over end so it should not go straight up but rather tilted forward. How much is going to be the difference between art and science.
First the science. Well put some more details in the notes but you can see here that getting the height you need to get this to go forward rather than backward means the bottom of the Caber has to go almost to the throwers head, less than 3.67 feet. But a Caber also has to keep going, it wont reach its transition point for 2 or 3 seconds, meaning actually getting that Caber where you want it is around 3 HP of work.
7. Caber Specifications
Although there is no set length or girth for a caber, the caber should be at a weight where at least 2/3 of all competitors can cause the caber to rotate over the top at 90 degrees to the ground. If an entire round commences with no competitors tossing a 90 degree throw the head judge has the right to shorten the caber from the thick end until it is a weight that can be properly thrown.
The caber is placed on end before the competitor picks it up, with the thicker end on top. As soon as the caber is lifted a turn has begun, and if the bottom touches the ground before the caber is thrown the turn is forfeited. Before throwing the caber a competitor is allowed to take as long a run as needed, within the judges established parameters, to perform his throw.
9. Legal Tosses
For a toss to be a legal caber toss the caber must travel completely vertical in its path, 90 degrees relative to the ground. A throw that does not travel 90 degrees over the top cannot beat a throw that travels at a 90 degree angle, regardless of finishing positions.
10. Hand Weapon
Once youve thrown the Caber, the Caber Thrower gets the normal weapons for a Kriel Warrior and the rules recommend replacing him with a standard Kriel Warrior model to avoid confusion.
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