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what is the official sport of maryland

what is the official sport of maryland

what is the official sport of maryland

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what is the official sport of maryland
what is the official sport of maryland


“Crab cakes and football — that’s what Maryland does.” This quote from Wedding Crashers (2005) simplified the mid-Atlantic state to a mere two things, yet Maryland does so much more, particularly when it comes to sports. Maryland became the first state to adopt an official sport, naming jousting as its official sport on June 1, 1962.

Henry J. Fowler, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from St. Mary’s County, introduced a bill during a session of the Maryland General Assembly to establish jousting as the official state sport.

According to the Maryland State Archives website, “jousting tournaments have been held in Maryland since early colonial times but became increasingly popular after the Civil War.”

The pageantry is not lost in modern-day tournaments. Men (referred to as knights) and women (referred to as maids) are dressed in colorful costumes full of regalia and many of the medieval customs and practices are still utilized. ce its founding in 1950.


Official State Sport of Maryland

Maryland designated jousting as the official state sport in 1962 (Maryland also recognizes an official team sport and a state exercise). All State Sports

Jousting tournaments have been held in Maryland since early colonial times and became increasingly popular after the Civil War. Men, women and children compete equally with skill and horsemanship determining the class.

Jousting tournaments in Maryland are “ring tournaments” which involve charging a horse at full-gallop through an 80-yard course toward suspended rings. Using a long, fine-tipped lance, the rider has 8 seconds to complete the course and “spear” the rings, scoring points accordingly.

In a jousting ring tournament, rings are hung 6 feet 9 inches above the ground from three equally-spaced arches (rings range in diameter from one-quarter inch to nearly two inches depending upon the skill-level of the contestant).

what is the official sport of maryland
what is the official sport of maryland

Why Maryland Loves Jousting

A handful of jousting clubs are active in the state, such as Vogel’s group, as well as the Eastern Shore Jousting Association. It’s a close community, and all clubs play by the same rules. “Our clubs are open. You don’t have to be a member of that club to participate. So if we don’t have a joust and Eastern Shore does, we’d surely go down and ride with them,” says Vogel.

During a ring joust, a rider holding a sharply pointed lance gets to take three runs down an 80-yard track, passing under a trio of arches along the way. A small ring hangs from each arch, and the goal is to spear as many as you can in a limited amount of time. The size of the ring and the allotted time to make it down the track are determined by the level of competition. This ranges from the professional class, where riders only have 8 to 9 seconds to collect rings with an inside diameter of just an inch, to the novice class, where the rings have a diameter of an inch and three-quarters* and riders can take as long as they need (so long as they are moving faster than a walk).


Marylanders jousters

Marylanders from a wide range of backgrounds and ages participate in the sport, with some jousters starting as young as three years-old. Those who stick with it can rise up to compete in the Maryland State Jousting Championship, an annual contest that takes place on the first Saturday in October. But even at that level, it’s not always easy. “Some days you can’t miss a ring, and some days you can’t buy a ring.”

In 2004, Maryland added lacrosse as the state’s official team sport, but jousting will always be the one that got there first. The Maryland jousting community is small, with roughly 90 to 100 active participants each year according to Vogel, but it has staying power. He readily acknowledges that it’s unlikely to get very large due to the practice, gear, and animals it requires. But he also hopes that the sport will survive, as a Maryland tradition. “Everyone wants this sport to maintain for future generations,” he says. “I’d like to see it still going on and be open to anyone who wants to do it.”


jousting tournament

The early tournament was a mock battle between two bodies of armed horsemen and was called the mêlée. (This term is also applied to a predecessor of modern football [soccer]. See mêlée.) Later came the joust, a trial of skill in which two horsemen charged each other with leveled lances from either end of the lists (the palisades enclosing the jousting ground), each attempting to unhorse the other; the mêlée, however, continued side by side with it.

Some tournaments were harmless and some rough. For the Tournament of Peace held at Windsor Park, England, in 1278, the sword blades were of whalebone and parchment, silvered; the helms of boiled leather; and the shields of light wood.

jousting tournament in the 16th century

In the 16th century, fighting on foot at the barrier with short spears became popular. Poleaxes also were used, and there were mounted combats with swords or maces. Prizes were presented to the victors by ladies.

In continental Europe, lists were jealously closed to all combatants except those of noble birth. In the German lands, questions as to the purity of descent of a candidate for admission to a noble order were often settled by appeal to an ancestor’s having taken part in a tournament.

The tournament eventually degenerated into the carrousel, a kind of equestrian polonaise, and the more harmless sport of tilting at a ring. In modern times there have been occasional romantic revivals, themost famous perhaps being the tournament at Eglinton Castle, in Scotland, in 1839, described in Disraeli’s novel Endymion (1880). Later tournaments were theatrical reenactments.

what is the official sport of maryland
what is the official sport of maryland

jousting tournament 2021

Savour some truly legendary live sport this summer.

Witness the pomp and pageantry as brave knights and jousters battle it out in real tournaments, displaying feats of strength and skill to rival today’s top athletes. Sample the sights, smells, and sounds of our atmospheric living history areas, and marvel at historical re-enactors, food tents and armour demonstrations that’ll keep the whole family entertained.

Experience the drama for yourself at one of our blockbuster historical events taking place across the country.


Experience the exhilarating spectacle of speed and skill as four legendary knights compete for honour and glory. See lances shatter, feel the thunder of hooves, and hear the roar of the crowd as our fearless fighters and their magnificent steeds courageously charge toward each other at full speed.


Immerse yourself in the living history encampments, where you can meet colourful characters, witness hand crafts in process, and try on knights’ armour for yourself. Budding warriors can join in with drills out on the field, and even get a test of historical combat in the kids’ battle.


Get close to the action as rival knights compete in the ultimate multi-event tournament. Arrows will fly, swords will clatter, but who will emerge victorious from the Grand Melee finale?


jousting tournament 19th century

The tournament was organised by Archibald Montgomerie, 13th Earl of Eglinton. It was held at his family estate at a cost of approximately £2.5 million in today’s money.

Staging re-enactments was not a 19th-century invention. Henry VIII of England attended a re-enactment of a medieval archery contest in 1516 and the re-enactment of battles had been part of royal and military pageants since Roman times.

However, the Eglinton tournament was the first civilian, unofficial re-enactment in Britain and is part of the history of re-enactment groups that continue to this day.

The way this tournament differed to today was that the knights taking part were not actors, volunteers or professional stunt-men, but young British nobles.  Only people with independent wealth could afford to buy antique armour, reproduction weapons, horse-armour, and costumes for their men-at arms and pages.


Although the Eglinton tournament did not turn out as planned, the event boosted 19th-century public interest in the medieval past.

what is the official sport of maryland
what is the official sport of maryland

jousting tournament 2020

The Clan Montgomery Society will honor the overall champion of the US/Int Jousting Championship with a large Scottish Quaich suitable engraved and known as the Eglinton Cup which honors the Eglinton Tournament of 1839.   Commador Angus Topshee NORAD and Peggy Young awards Charlie Andrews with the Quaich for the Overall Winner of the 2017Jousting Championship.

Jousting competitions will be held Friday will only have the Mounted Games starting at 9:30 am with Light Armor Joust at 12 noon with Heavy Armor Joust  at 3:00 pm, Saturday, and Sunday Light Armor Joust begins at 10 a.m. and Heavy Armor Joust at 2:30 p.m. Heavy armor jousting was prominent in the 15th and 16th century. The purpose of the competition is for each competitor to try to dislodge the opponent from his/her horse. Both jousting events are dangerous and only for the bravest of competitors.

Development of Tournaments

To maximize the skills and effectiveness of knights and their steeds as a fighting unit, it was necessary to practice. These early skill-honing events were called melees and took place in a large field with no barriers between the opposing forces, who used their actual weapons. Of course, this led to many injuries. Changes were made to use blunted weapons and tilts, or fences. Further reductions in the number of combatants on the list, or field, at the same time led to the birth of the joust.

Single Combat

A joust is a form of one-on-one combat between two knights on horseback. Armed with 10-foot-long lances, they gallop down the lists toward each other and score points by unseating their opponent or striking the shield. So many knights were killed in the early jousts the Pope and several kings banned jousting tournaments. English subjects were constantly excommunicated for persisting in the enjoyment of continuing tournaments. Soon the jousting became a contest between two combatants as it was easier to show one’s skill outside the melee field. Training of knights began to include many of the exercises now popular with Scottish athletes, in addition to spearing small rings and quintain jousting.

jousting tournament blenheim palace


Blenheim Palace will be alive to the thunder of hooves and the clash of lances on shields as it hosts the Knights of Royal England’s Jousting Tournament from May 5th-7th.


Visitors will be transported back in time to a medieval tournament; complete with authentic tilt yard, royal box, falconry, archery and hand to hand combat.


Recreating the glorious jousting matches of Britain’s past, knights in shining armour will take to the field on their noble steeds in a momentous display of bravery and skill beneath the spectacular backdrop of Blenheim Palace.


Knights and horses will be costumed with chainmail and steel armour for the period 1200-1250.

what is the official sport of maryland
what is the official sport of maryland

jousting meaning


Definition of joust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1ato fight on horseback as a knight or man-at-arms
bto engage in combat with lances on horseback
2to engage in combat or competition as if in a joustjousting debatersjousting bighorn rams



Definition of joust (Entry 2 of 2)

1aa combat on horseback between two knights with lances especially as part of a tournament
bjousts plural TOURNAMENT
2a personal combat or competition STRUGGLE

Examples of joust in a Sentence

Verb The knights jousted against each other.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The other six legs function primarily to motor the arachnid around, though the fourth pair can also sport seriously stabby spines, used by some harvestmen to pinch predatory flatworms in two or to joust for access to mates.— Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2021Beginning his career as a backup singer and songwriter, the crooner would rather work alongside his peers than joust with them.— Keyaira Boone, Essence, 18 Aug. 2021


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