Our tournaments range anywhere in size from local competitions with 5 to 6 members to much larger events involving 10 or more riders and their support personnel. No matter the size, we strive to make our tournaments as entertaining to the public as possible so that everybody involved has a great time participating in this medieval sport. We also pride ourselves on conducting tournaments that are as safe as possible for both man and beast.
Each tourney includes skill-at-arms competitions in the following events: Ring Spearing, Spear Throwing and Shield Quintain Hitting. Each event may have its own individual winner (prizes may be awarded), as well as the overall games champion which is the rider with the most cumulative points from all the games. Riders are generally given at least two attempts, depending on the number of competitors, in each event to accumulate as many points as possible.
In the joust, each rider competes in at least two matches throughout the day (whether it be a one day or several day event). Each match is observed by 4 judges who score each course, and those scores are totalled by the Tournament Secretary to determine a winner. We do our best to select jousting judges who are educated in jousting as well as impartial to the competitors.
The object of this event is to gather as many rings as possible on a 10 foot ring lance while galloping through a set course. Several quintains are positioned around an arena, each with a single ring positioned by two ropes in mid-air. The size of the ring determines its point value when gathered on the ring lance. The rings can range in size from 5" to 3" in diameter.
In this event, each competitor gallops down the list and throws a spear at the hay bale target and throws a spear at the hay bale target. This target is placed 10 feet from the edge of the counter-list. A spear that is thrown and and sticks anywhere but the target represents 1 point. 2 points for getting the spear in the outer circle. 3 points for placing the spear in the middle circle. 5 points for getting a bulls-eye.
Shield Quintain Hitting
In this event, one quintain in the center of the area holds a shield onto a pivoting arm. Competitors carry a tournament lance and hit the shield as hard as possible for highest number of revolutions. Each full revolution the shield makes back to the point of impact counts as 1 point, and partial revolutions worth the equivalent fraction. Lances are at least 9 feet long but have no maximum length. A cornel tip may be used if desired. If a competitor breaks their lance on a shield hit, he or she is given two additional runs at the quintain with the highest number of revolutions recorded as score.
The competitor with the highest total points at the end of the games is named champion.
The basic concept of Tournament Jousting is for each knight to hit his or her opponent's sheild as squarely and powerfully as possible. Each knight starts at one end of the list on opposite sides of the area and, after signalling they are ready, charge at full gallop towards each other. Both must properly "present" their shield as a good target as well as aim their lance at the presented sheild. Points are awarded for the quality and placement of a hit, as well as good sportsmanship, horsemanship and safety judgement. Points can also be subtracted if a knight fails to make a safe hit or displays negative behavior and choices of action. While the exception rather than the rule, extra points may be earned if a Knight breaks his or her lance or unhorses their opponent.
Tournament Lances are 10 feet long with a hand grip 24 to 31 inches from the base. Lances weigh between 5 and 8 pounds. Shields are no more than 24 inches wide by 40 inches high and weigh between 14 and 19 pounds.
Names are drawn from a helm to determine which knights compete during each match. Knights will normally compete in at least 2 but up to 4 matches depending on the length of the Tournament. Each match contains between 4 and 6 courses.
Four judges are present for each match. Judges are positioned at each side and either end of the field and score the knights for each course run in a match. Two judges score one knight and two judges score the other. The tournament secretary tallies a Knight's total score by combining (or subtracting) points according to the two judges' cards. The knight with the highest total scoreis named champion.
General Tournament Description
American Jousting Alliance Tournaments generally begin with the fanfare of period music and an announcer heralding the Parade of Knights and Warriors entering the field. Dressed in colorful medieval finery, the Knights gallops their horses all the way around the field past the audience in salute. A brief explanation accompanies the Parade allowing the herald to inform the audience what they are about to see is real. Skilled competitors are not just putting on a show, they are engaging in a full contact, potentially dangerous sport. Each knight is introduced to the audience.
The tempo quickly picks back up as the herald calls for squires to arm each Knight for the first competition: Ring Spearing! Each rider takes their turn and attempts to gather as many rings on their lance as possible and gain the most points per turn. One competitor follows the other as quickly as rings can be reset by the ground crew. After each Knight has had their turn(s) the top scorer takes his or her victory lap.
Spear Throwing and Shield Quintain Hitting immediately follow and knights compete in turn to score the most points in each particular event.
Once the games have concluded the herald builds the audience towards the main event of Tournament Jousting Matches. A brief explaination of the rules and scoring system (including introduction of the judges on field) to familiarize the audience with the ancient sport.
Then, the jousting begins! Nothing can compare to the smacks, the thuds, the bodies jarring, the drama and the danger of live jousting.
Once their match is over, competitors ride around the field, side by side, as the next pair of Knights readies themselves and scores are tallied. The winner of each particular match is acknowledged, and once all the matches are over, the knight who earned the highest number of points is announced as Tournament Champion (prizes may be awarded in a short ceremony on the closing day of longer Tournaments).
A final breathtaking display of horsemanship comes with the galloping victory charge around the field.