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Interview with Will Barron (6/4/10)

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    Posted: 8/24/11 at 7:49am
Interview with Will Barron (6/4/10)

How old are you?


647 years old.  Born in the 13th century into a community of Celtic Druids, I am an Immortal. I stopped aging when I was 32 as I appear now.


Where were you born?


In the Ancient Pagan district of New York City.


Where do you live now?


Syracuse NY


How did you end up there?


After spending most of my life in the Northeast, I moved from Maine out to Colorado to explore more of the country (which was awesome). Then my wife was accepted into a Ph D. program in Syracuse and we came back East.


What do you drive?


I just got a new company car a brand new Toyota Corolla. I love it. I used to have a Black Toyota Tacoma like my buddy Kerry Overfelt but eventually ran out of money to put in its gas tank.


You ever change your own oil?


I assume lawn mowers count.


 What is your heritage?  Italian, German?  Give some percentages.


I am very exotic and diverse. If youve ever heard of the United Kingdom you may be familiar.  I am part Welsh, Scottish, Irish and English.


Have you gone green?


I did institute a recycling program at my last 3 employers and my wife and I use cloth diapers for our daughters that we launder ourselves.  We buy much of our vegetables from a local organic farm. But I wouldnt say sowell, maybe.


What do you think about global warming?


I am terrified that the overwhelming scientific evidence that even scientists employed by Oil companies agree with is true. I am even more terrified by how little most people seem to give a shit.


What do you do for a living?


I am a sales rep for Pella Window and Door Corp. the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Energy Star Company of the Year which is an award given by the Environmental Protection Agency


How did you get into that?


After college, the only direction I had was wanting to learn how to someday be able to build my own house. So I started framing houses in Northern Colorado, then managed a skylight and passive solar installation company and eventually got into sales with an Energy Star vinyl window manufacturer. I have worked for 2 different window companies previous to starting this job with Pella.


Tell us about your education?


I went to a small liberal arts college in rural Maine Colby College.  I started as a Philosophy major and then decided to change to Anthropology. It was a pretty intense academic school and I really was excited by studying Anthropology - but am not sure what benefit I thought it could possibly have given me after college. Oh well.  It was a pretty fun place to go to school with plenty of opportunities to hike, kayak and snowboard.  I played drums and guitar in a bunch of college bands and it was in one of the bands that I met my wife.

                      I spent half a year living in Kathmandu, Nepal doing Anthropological studies, living in a mud hut and sleeping on the ground.  For the last month of the trip I studied with an 85 year old Swami (a Hindu Holy Man) who spoke like 9 languages and had lived alone in the wilderness for 10 years and came back to teach others about the Universality of all religion. I stayed at his Yoga ashram (temple) at the top of a small mountain (you had to hike the mountain to get there)


As a kid growing up, what was your first job?


I worked with my friends father doing odd land-scaping jobs and stone wall building. Plus the old favorite task of insulating attics in the middle of summer with fiberglass insulation.


When you grew up as a kid, what sports did you play?


I won the softball throw with ease in elementary school. Every kid in little league feared me. I had many games with at least 2 home runs. I was 200 lbs and almost 6 in 7th grade. I was a pretty good center on my middle school basketball team. I played football and wrestled for 2 years in High School but quit after that as I was just bored and sick of spending so much time at practice. I finally picked up the shot and discus and throwing took over my athletic interests from them on. Well, that and ultimate frisbee.(which is throwing!)


Did you throw in high school and if so what did you throw?


I threw shot, discus and javelin. My crappy High School bests were: 49, 149, 165


Did you fight with your brother when young?


Nope. Wrestled yes.


Tell us about Dave, what was he like as a young athlete?


Very similar to me. Quit football to focus on track. He was (is) a better shotputter than me. I could (and still can) shame him throwing the baseball though.


Tell us about throwing in college.


I loved it but my passion for throwing was mostly related to Highland Games.  I was pretty obsessed with the games starting in 97. I eventually gave up the shot put and discus as it was too time consuming to travel for a whole weekend track meet just to compete for 2 hours in my two events and it conflicted with too many opportunities for my band to play a show. Plus, my college team had the nations #1 Div. 3 Hammer Thrower Jamie Brewster so he kept all the spotlight.


What was your first Highland Game and when was that?


My first full amateur competition was in 1994 at the Round Hill Highland Games. I was 15 at the time. 


Who was at that game?


 Besides my brother, I believe Don Mackenzie, Bill Sutherland, Ed Stephens and a puny Roy Bogue.



What made you decide to try and compete at a game?


I pretty much wanted to do everything that my brother was doing.


What is your favorite event?


The 28 lb. weight throw.


What is a common mistake you see people make in that event?


Performing the second spin only slightly faster than the first. It should be an all out blitzkrieg. (I know, cool word).  I also have a different starting cast technique than most throwers which is what some call the figure 8. I learned this from watching Matt Sandfords enormous weight throws and believe that this is the secret to throwing far in the weight throw events. There are some excellent youtube videos of Matt throwing the World record at Estes Park for those that want to see what I am talking about.


Who were the first people to influence and coach you in the sport?


Dana Florence, Eric Sauve, Don Stewart, Art MacDermott, Bill Sutherland, Don Mackenzie


Talk some about throwing games as an amateur, what games you did and where.


I did all the big ones and loved it. East Coast Champs at Alexandria, Estes Park, Pleasonton, Kansas City, North South Challenge, USA vs Scotland


What were your favorite amateur games?


Kay Cummings and his family did an incredible job of organizing championship amateur competitions that made us feel like real celebrities - like the North South Challenge in New Orleans, and the Usa vs Scotland in Newtonmore Scotland. Pleasonton was an amazing experience for me the year before I went pro. I had 4 personal bests and placed 2nd to Ken Lowther. Sean Betz and I battled it out that whole weekend and pushed each other. Hes a little better than me nowJ


Talk about some of the pro games you have done and your favorites.


The Fair Hill games has a small field that is overlooked by a huge bleacher area that puts the crowd right on top of you. It is an outstanding venue for crowd support and probably the competition I look forward to the most every year (since its usually the first games of the year for me after the long winter.)


The Celtic Classic really is the most exciting venue to compete at.  It usually has been a tough effort to qualify and its an incredible reward to get to compete in front of so many spectators. The festival doesnt charge admission and as a result the crowd swells to absolutely enormous numbers. Its just awesome. The Pleasonton games are equally as exciting.  I have done a handful of games in Scotland and really loved throwing over there. The most beautiful of all the games in Scotland for me was the one amateur games I did in Newtonmore. Other North American favorites are Estes Park, the Glengarry Games in Maxville, Ontario, the Portland Highland Games and the Maine Highland Games.


What accomplishment are you most proud of in the games?


Well, I am proud to have held the Amateur World Record in the HWD at one time. Placing top 5 at multiple Pro National Championships and winning the IHGF World Team Championships with Sean Betz in 2009 at the Antigonish Games.


Who do you enjoy competing with and why?


Just about all of the pros in this sport have gotten to where they are as pro Heavies because they truly love the Highland Games events and festival atmosphere. Its awesome to spend a day throwing with all the other pros as all of a sudden you are surrounded by guys who understand and share your love of throwing heavy shit with kilts on. I love all the guys I share the field with.  Its also really great to get to compete with my brother as often as we do.



Let me mention some names and you comment on them;


Vierra; - Ryan is one of greatest people to have made his mark on the heavy events. His domination of the sport was unbelievable and yet he still is always incredibly friendly and happy to offer coaching advice. One of my favorite guys to go out to eat with. My passion for food increases (if possible) when he is around the man gets truly excited. Really glad that he is at the helm of IHGF with Francis and David Webster.


St.Clair; - Chris is just an awesome guy and I wish I traveled more these days down to games in the South to see him. This man is freaky strong. He has turned the biggest cabers I have ever seen. Got to travel with him in Scotland and had a great time.


Brock; Kerry Overfelt told me back in like 2002 or something that once Larry stopped focusing on football that he would develop into the World Champion. Larrys focus and drive in this sport motivates me a ton. Also a really great dude. Really happy to see him finally take the World title.


Craig Smith When I first met Craig in 2003 I did not expect him to kick everyones ass so badly. But he and I became friends immediately and I have met few guys on the circuit as nice as this guy.  His laid back personality always helps mellow me out on the field.


KO; I wish I had a KO that lived in my town.  No one NO ONE tells stories as well as Kerry.  I am usually conflicted about going out to breakfast before a comp with him (not really) because without fail I will physically be sore from laughing when it comes time to throw.  Probably the nicest guy in Highland Games.


Betz;  -  Sean has truly helped me become a better athlete throughout the years. One of the best examples of champion sportsmanship and humility. He will without a doubt be World Champ again. A really good friend as well.


Lyttle; David was the first southerner in the games to welcome me when I started traveling the circuit down south. He has given me an enormous amount of valuable coaching both on the field and in the training hall and hes also kicked my ass plenty of times. One of the few athletes who can say they defeated Ryan VierraAnother guy I wish I saw more often.



Talk about training and your philosophy in the area of throwing?


I have spent 10 times more time on the throwing field than in the weight room. I just love throwing. I have way more fun throwing the stone 100 times than doing squatswithouth a doubt I would have bigger prs if I spent more of this energy squating. I have spent lots and lots of hours watching video of other top throwers and experimented with lots of technique ideas. I think that watching video, hitting pause and going out to try something with the implement helped me throw farther. But after obsessing over technique for the last 12 years I am now trying to spend a lot more time in the weight room.  That being said, I think the most important part of throwing far is being totally rested, injury free and crazy caffeinated.


Talk about a practice and what you would go out and do with drills or throwing with implements and reps?


Karl Dodge taught me to do a dynamic warm up before throwing high knees, skipping, karaoke etc. No throwing until you are sweating a bit.  After about 10 minutes of that and a little stretching, I just throw all out. I rarely throw less than 100% in practice. But only do about 10 20 throws per event, 1-2 events. At my highest volume I will throw 4 times a week. I have never done drills. Not that thats a good thing


Tell us about some of the injuries you had as an athlete.


After competition had ended, I was fooling around with a light caber and accidentally dropped it on my big toe at the Costa Mesa Highland Games. Ryan let me wear his flip flops since with my toe nail sticking straight in the air I couldnt wear my shoes. I struggled to throw well for a while after that (about 2 months). I havent really ever had any major injuries.  Pretty damn lucky I know.


Would you say your more of a fighter or negotiator?


100% a negotiator. I have never been in a fight.  I avoid scary people.


What impresses you now in the sport? 


Anybody who can turn really heavy cabers and stand 17 + in the WOB.


Talk about a couple of funny moments you have had at games or while attending games?


I dropped a caber on my big toe at a games in Costa Mesa once. Later on, Ryan was daring me while we both cracked up to rip the toe nail right off the toe with pliers. I eventually did.

Also, I once threw the Haggis directly into the crowd during a haggis hurl. I own that North American record by the way. Stole it from Larry Brock.


Have you almost ever killed anyone at a game?


Well this is a little awkwardWhy yes, I almost killed you once with a stone. Sorry again about that.

If you were watching Larry Brock wind up in the hammer and it slipped f
rom his hands, who would you most like to see the hammer hit in the sack?


Tie between Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.


What training philosophy do you follow in the gym?


Hmmm. I like to do cleans, snatches, push presses and front squats. Heavy as possible. Sometimes I do deads too.  Those are hard. I once followed a Russian Front Squat routine


When did you start lifting weights and what got you started?


After benching 200 x 3 when I was 14, I was told by my football coach that I was strong and should try to get stronger. I followed a power lifting routine occasionally and did a benching meet in 10th grade. Then I discovered hang cleans and loved them. Squats, bench and cleans became my staple when I graduated high school.


What do you like to do outside of the games?


I play guitar in a folky bluegrass band with my wife and I love to go camping with my family (usually before a highland games).  I also love to play tennis with my wife. 


What other hobbies do you have?


I played African hand drums and Australian didjeridoo in a band before I still enjoy playing those instruments on my own.  I enjoy mountain biking and kayaking too.


What is your favorite food?


Indian food, fresh bagels or pizza. 


Do you BBQ up there?


Sure. Couple times a month.



Do you BBQ on the grille or does your wife do that?


 Id say its about a 50/50 split.


Coals or gas grille?




What supplements do you take?


Multi vitamin, whey protein shakes about 3x per day and occasionally Con-crete creatine.  On competition day I will drink an NO-Xplode or something similar.




What do you drink with a meal at home?


Usually water or sometimes beer or wine.


What beer do you like?


I prefer to drink a microbrewed beer. Recently, a Gearys Pale Ale from Maine is my favorite. I also love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Sometimes flavored fruity beer is my thing (especially Blueberry Ale.)



Do you live in a house, apartment or ?


We live in a house. 



Talk about your family, talk about your plans for a family in the future.



We have two daughters. I could be content with just the two girls -  I love them so muchbut my wife wants like 5 moreI am unsure about such things.


Do you like to garden?


Nope. Am I made to? Yup.



Are you a cat or dog person?  What do you have?


We have 3 dogs.


Are you a Democrat or Republican?


Before George Bush was president I was enrolled in the Green Party and voted for Nader.  Since then I have been a democrat trying to undo what was done.


Are you into Astrology?  What sign are you?


My wife is super into astrology and is very knowledgeable. I am not. She is my handy almanac should I ever decide to start paying attention. I am an Aquarius with a Taurus Moon sign. I am unsure of my Sun Rising sign.


Are you a religious man, and if so, what do you practice?


Grew up congregational, withdrew from my confirmation class, was a religious studies minor and was blessed and initiated by a Hindu Holy man into Yogism. Nothing really these days but thinking of attending a Unitarian Universalist Church.






Talk about some of the music you listen to at different times.


My favorite artists are Bela Fleck and Leo Kotke. Both are amazing instrumentalists (banjo and guitar). I also love Celtic music like the Chieftains and Albanach. I do like to listen to Metallica and some other heavy stuff too especially in the weight room.


Where do you like to go out to eat?


We have the #2 Nationally ranked BBQ place in the country Dinosaur BBQ. Also Indian food.  My favorite meal to eat out though is breakfast.



What do you like to watch on TV?


I dont really although I did watch 24 this season and I watch football and the Olympics when they are on. I used to watch Southpark. Gotten too stupid though (the show not me)


Are you a western movie or sci fi person?  Tell a favorite.


I do love Sci Fi. The Matrix is probably my favorite Sci Fi.


What are the goals for this year?


Get strong! Qualify for the Celtic Classic. Have fun.


Thank you brother.

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