While the Renaissance Festival is filled with sights and attractions for anyone to enjoy, the jousting events serve as the festival’s greatest attraction. With a packed house of both guests and “royalty,” participants daring enough to mount the steed put on a one-of-a-kind show.
Before the true jousting begins, the competitors put their skills to the test in a number of challenges, testing their power, accuracy and precision.
After the skills challenge, the true action begins, when knights take to the horse in hopes of being crowned champion.
The rules of the event entail each knight having a shield positioned on the breastplate of their armor. As the knights ride toward each other at full speed, they attempt to strike the shield to be awarded points.
If the jouster strikes the shield, they are awarded one point. If the shield is knocked off of the opponent’s armor, the striker receives two points. But, if the shield is impaled and the knight rides off with it past the rail, it is worth three points.
Monday’s holiday Renaissance festivities included three separate jousting events, ensuring that most guests had a chance to see the action.
One of the jousters in the events, who goes by the stage name “Sir Maxmillian, the Jousting Earl of Braden,” is a known fixture in Renaissance festivals not just in Arizona but all over the country.
The character of Maxmillian is a confident yet chivalrous knight who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the forgotten sport of jousting. While in character, the competitor shared his history with the sport.
“I have been jousting for nearly 40 years,” he said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure I am undefeated as far as I can recall. But I have been hit in the head a lot, so there may be people who recall me losing, but I personally believe I am undefeated.”
The competitor detailed what it means to put on a show for the fans that come out every year, saying that it has become a true “family affair.”
“It means the world, it’s great fun,” he said. “We have had little ones come out who have grown up watching us, who have now come back as adults with their own children to pass on the tradition. In fact, two of the performers here today are my children, it’s truly lovely.”
While the jousting event is one of the favorite events for guests, it can be a daunting event for performers.
In character, Maxmillian said he has no intentions of stopping, wanting to continue to bring a fun show to everyone who attends the festival.
“It’s a matter of conditioning, I feel like I could go on endlessly,” he said. “I don’t want to joust nine times a day, but three times a day is fine.”
The Renaissance Festival runs in Gold Canyon on Saturdays and Sundays through April 2.
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