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Maryland's State Sport

Friday, August 16th

5pm at the Track

Jousting is the oldest equestrian sport in the world. During the Middle Ages it was a form of waging war, but with the invention of gunpowder, the art of jousting a man bodily from his horse, became outmoded as a battle strategy. The tournament field became a place of "Sport", and the Knights turned their lances to the more sophisticated, skillful task of spearing small metal rings. Jousting became a civilized game of keen horsemanship, skill and sportsmanship with the development of "The Ring Tournaments."


During the 1962 session of the Maryland General Assembly, The Honorable Henry J. Fowler, member of The Maryland House of Delegates from St. Mary's County, introduced a bill to establish Jousting as the Official State Sport of Maryland. This bill passed both houses by an overwhelming vote and on June1, 1962 Governor J. Millard Tawes signed it into law. Thus Maryland became the only state with an officially recognized State Sport.


Each knight/fair maiden gallops his/her horse down a dirt track beneath three arches, when he/she is called in turn to charge. Suspended from each arch is a metal harness ring wrapped with white cord. The track is 80 yards long. The first arch is 20 yards from a starting point and each succeeding arch is 30 yards distance from one another on a straight course. As the knight/fair maiden charges through the arches in a time limit of 9 seconds he/she attempts to spear the metal rings on his/her long, steel tipped lance. Rings vary in size from 1 3/4" in diameter to 1/4 of an inch in diameter. After each contestant has received 3 rides at "large size" rings, those with tie scores are given one charge at rings a size smaller. If there are still ties, a smaller size ring is used until only the victorious knight/fair maiden remains in the contest.


The Joust is open to any rider who wants to participate.  Each rider will have to sign a waiver.  Anyone under the age of 18 will be required to wear a helmet.


Classes will be:

Leadline/Novice* Class - 1 3/4" Rings - Non timed

Amateur* Class - 1 1/2" Rings - Timed

Semi Professional* Class - 1 1/4" Rings - Timed

Professional* Class - 1" Rings - Timed

* Tie-offs will result in rings dropping 1/4' in size until a winner is pronounced.


After the winners are determined, a crowning ceremony will take place.

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