Thousands of people have gathered just outside Calgary for the 101st annual Highland Games this weekend, including a family that has taken part in the solo bagpipe competition for three generations.

The competition is anything but a one-man show for Declan Todd, who took the stage after last-minute coaching from his father Kelly Todd.

Declan's grandfather George Gordon has been coming to the games for 48 years. He started playing the pipes when he was 11 while still living in Scotland.

Family of bagpipers

Declan Todd, left, his dad Kelly Todd and his grandfather George Gordon share the love of the bagpipes. (CBC)

Now he watches with pride as his grandson keeps up the tradition.

"[Declan] was using my bagpipes up until the other day when the bag burst, and now he's playing his father's pipes," Gordon told CBC News.

'I love it. Love it especially when he plays well.' - Kelly Todd on watching his son Declan compete at the Calgary Highland Games

Declan says his father was his inspiration. The names of both father and son grace several of the trophies at the games.

"My dad was a really accomplished solo piper, so he kinda put me into it," Declan said. "I heard it all the time in the house and started to love it."

Kelly Todd, who began playing at the age of nine for the North Hill Lions, said piping is something he and Declan can share — even if it's not always smooth sailing.

"I've never wanted to force it on him," Kelly said. "I'm teaching right now and we come to loggerheads at points, but it's all for the betterment of him, I hope."

Bursting with pride

Kelly was bursting with pride as he watched Declan perform on Saturday.

"It's great," he said. "I love it. Love it especially when he plays well."

The family's connection to the Highland Games essentially spells out the spirit of an event that's steeped in culture, history and bloodlines.

"It's in our heritage," president Ellen Forbes told CBC News. "It's in our Scottish blood, so we all like to come out and show that our clan is better than everyone else's."

Declan and other competitors will be in Canmore today where the competition continues.