March 2014

In this Issue:

 Highland Games  Coming Events
 March is Celtic Month in Arizona  The Gathering of the Clans
 Meet Our Members  March Celebrations
 Robert the Bruce (Part 2)  Society Officers

Highland Games

The origin of human games and sports predates recorded history.  It is reported in numerous books and Highland Games programs that King Malcolm III of Scotland, in the 11th century, summoned contestants to a foot race to the summit of Craig Choinnich (overlooking Braemar).  King Malcolm created this race in order to find the fastest runner in the land to be his royal messenger.  Some have seen this event to be the origin of today's modern Highland games.

Join us on March 22-23 at Steel Indian Park and enjoy the many events planned.  There you can see athletes competing in the caber toss and other "heavy" events; graceful dancers competing in Scottish dances; bagpipe bands and solo pipers in musical competitions and much, much more.  Everyone can be a SCOT at the Arizona Highland Games. 

Meet Our Members

Starting with the new year we will be publishing brief bios of some of our members. Some will be of new members, some long-time members and some our Board Members.

Don Finch - Board Member

My wife Pearl and I moved to Chandler, Arizona in 2011 from Cincinnati, Ohio when I retired from a career in the food industry which took us from Canada, to the U.S. and overseas to France.  I now have a consulting practice and also mentor small business owners through SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives).

Finch I joined the Society in January of 2012, getting quickly involved as Entertainment Chair for the Highland Games, plus Membership Chair since September 2012; Vice President since June 2013, and most recently, co-chair of the 50th Anniversary 2014 Robert Burns Supper.

My father was a Captain in a kilted regiment of the Canadian Army—the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders.  From a very young age, I developed a love of bagpipes and drums, regimental history, Robert Burns Suppers, and a bit later, Highland malts!  Grandmother Jennie Duncan provided the Clan affiliation and great grandmothers McIver and Fleming added to the heritage.

Pearl and I enjoy working behind the scene helping at the monthly meetings and special events.  We encourage more members to get involved—the fellowship and camaraderie is terrific!

Don and Bobby Hoeck - Long Term Members

HoeckBobby and Don Hoeck live in Sun Lakes. Both are technically retired, but Bobby, who was a travel agent, still provides travel from her home office and still does taxes for H&R Block.

They joined the CSA in June of 1993. Both were interested in learning more about Scotland and Don in finding more about his "lost" Scottish heritage. Don's Scottish connection is Clan Innes of Theraster and Clan Sinclair.

Don was 2nd Vice President for two terms responsible for meeting programs and was a Trustee. While Bobby was never an elected official, she along with Don worked on many programs and the Highland Games.

Don has several memorable moments with the Society: being Master of Ceremonies for several Robert Burns dinners; raising over $200 at the December dinner meetings for charities; reintroducing the "Bonnie Knees" competition; and parading with Clan Innes at the games.

Bobby's memories include presenting the history of Robert Burns at the Burns Dinner and wearing her full Sinclair tartan floor length dress for the first time. Both of them cherish the many friends that have been made through the CSA.

Marney Redmond - New Member

My name is Marney "MIMI" Redmond.  I go by Mimi in the Highland Games Community as that is the nickname that I was known by at the time I got involved.  I live in Phoenix and have lived here for most of my life except for a year and a half that I spent in Germany.  My current occupation(s) are:  Credit Union Teller at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, Independent Distributor for Shaklee, and Server at Urban Beans and Tertio Wine Bar.  Yes, three jobs!

I joined this wonderful organization, The Caledonian Society, about three years ago for many reasons.  I have been associated with the Highland Games since 1996 when I first watched these Male Athletes in kilts compete in throwing "stuff".  Little did I know that this would change the course of my life.  Two years later I volunteered for Ryan Seckman via Michelle Crownhart.  As my time with the athletics grew so did my pride of being Scottish.  I have Scottish roots.  I am a MacPherson on my Mother's side.  I threw in my hat to compete in the Games in 2006 after getting much encouragement from Michelle, Summer Pierson and Shannon Hartnett.  I have been hooked ever since.  Not only are we all athletes, we are family!  Where else in athletics do you truly get to love the people that you compete against and their families too?  I thought I would join also because of all the hard work that the Caledonian Society does for the Games and for the athletes.  It would be the right thing to do to pay back the Society with my labor (of love) and time.  Now I enjoy not only the athletes and their families, but I also get to enjoy this family too!

redmondI haven't held any real official position in the Society except for being a member.  You can add supporter if you wish.  I hope as my pathway develops with the organization that I get the chance to serve in some office soon.  It is just a matter of time.  I do assist Jason Temple and Ryan Seckman as well as assist with Jackie Carro to promote the Games.  My unofficial title would be Arizona Caledonian Supporter!

I would have to say my favorite memory of the time with the Society is all of them.  I cherish the time I get to spend with its members.  Thank you so much for this opportunity to share.

Robert the Bruce - Scotland's Freedom Fighter (Part 2)

After the Stone of Destiny had been moved from Scone to London, King Edward I attempted direct rule of Scotland and installed him men in positions of power.  However, Edward underestimated to loathing that the Scottish people felt for him and in 1297, the Scots called his bluff.  William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and the Earl of Moray gathered their armies and secured a rousing victory against the English at Stirling Bridge.  Moray later died and Wallace was defeated at Falkirk, forcing him into hiding. 

Although there were small skirmishes, the thorny issue of who was to occupy the Scottish throne remained unresolved.  Bruce's grandfather had died and his father had fled to Norway, later to renounce his Scottish holdings  and titles and retire to his lands in England.  With Balliol gone, the only other possible candidate for the Scottish throne was an English peer, John Comyn of Buchan.  Bruce and Comyn were bitter enemies.  As if by fate Bruce discovered the hated Comyn in a church and let his hot temper get the better of him and killed Comyn.  The act put him at risk of being charged with murder.  He took a further desperate step and had himself crown king of Scotland at Scone on March 25, 1306. The Bruce was now under attack from all sides.  Edward I was enraged, his own people showed very little support, and the church excommunicated him.  Bruce fled to the Highlands.

The years 1306 and 1307 brought few rewards.  Three of his brothers were killed, his wife and daughter were captured and he himself had a number of narrow escapes.  He finally managed to gather a fighting force and gained a resounding victory over the Earl of Pembroke, one of Edward's strongest supporters.  Even more significantly, his old enemy, Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots, died.  The tide had turned,  Now Robert the Bruce set about securing Scotland for himself.  He received help from many, including his trusted friend, Angus Og, progenitor of the great MacDonald clan. 

Bruce and his army defeated Comyn's son in the north and the pro-English MacDougalls in the west.  With the help of the "Black Douglases" he subdued Scotland's southwest.  Meanwhile in England Edward's heir Edward II had no wish to become embroiled in the affairs of Scotland.  The Bruce was quick to take advantage and waged a series of successful campaigns that put him in control of most of Scotland.  By 1309 he had received recognition as the sole ruler of Scotland from the French king.  Despite his excommunication, he even received the approval of the Scottish church. 

Emboldened by his success, King Robert drove the English out of every garrison except Stirling.  With these successes under his belt, he advanced into northern England.  This was an act of aggression that even Edward II couldn't ignore and it led to one of the most momentous battle in British history. 

Next:  Robert the Bruce and the battle at Bannockburn

The Gathering of the Clans

The Clan system of government, though in place since the fifth century A.D., appeared to have achieved their most historical publicity in the mid-eighteenth century.  This was the period of time that history notes them, more or less, at their zenith and at their demise.

There are clans that claim ancestry back to Niall of the Nine Hostages (High King of Ireland) and others that claim descent from Kenneth MacAlpine, first King of the Scots, in the ninth century.  There are a few clans that claim to authenticate their lineage to the eleventh century but most cannot reliably trace their line to before the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 

Today in North America, the clan societies have enjoyed a revival at Scottish Gatherings & Games.  If you attend our Games & Gathering this month, stop by and find out which clan your family may be affiliated with.  The representatives of the Clans gathered here are for your benefit. They welcome any and all questions you may have regarding families, name, Scotland or Scottish life and culture.


Goevernor's Proclamation

WHEREAS, the State of Arizona recognizes the rich Celtic culture and people representing and celebrating all things Celtic; and

WHEREAS, the Caledonian Society of Arizona is the single largest Celtic organization in the State of Arizona whose mission is to promote Scottish culture through art, education, genealogy research and athletic; and

WHEREAS, each year the Caledonian Society of Arizona grants scholarships to aspiring and professional Highland athletes, musicians and dancers alike during what is their most successful fundraiser of the year – Arizona Scottish Highland Games & Clan Gathering; and

WHEREAS, Arizona State Celtic Month was established to encourage people of diverse cultural backgrounds to participate and enjoy all of the Celtic events which take place within the State of Arizona during the month of March; and

WHEREAS, the Arizona Scottish Highland Games & Clan Gathering is the longest running event having the greatest economic impact to the Celtic community,

NOW, THEREFORE, I Janice K. Brewer, Governor of the State of Arizona, do hereby recognize March 2014 as ARIZONA CELTIC MONTH

Coming Events

March 13 Membership Meeting
March 21 Pipe Jam - 7 PM- Westin Kierland in Scottsdale
March 22-23 50th Annual Scottish Gathering & Highland Games
March 22 Concert at the Games 5 PM - Free (with Games entry)
April 6 Tartan Day
April 10 Membership meeting

SOCIETY MEETING Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. Beginning at 7 pm. Come join us or log on to

March Celebrations
If you would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information by email to and it will be included in our Celebration list.

March 2 Glenn Bell - Birthday
March 5 Roger Dawson - Birthday
March 23 Dan Miller - Birthday
March 31 Jim Groves (Life Member) - Birthday

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President, & Membership Chair Don Finch
Secretary: Thom Von Hapsburg
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Jason Temple
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier
Trustee 2: Michelle Crownhart

Newsletter Editor:

Jo Ramsdell