Jousters engage in full contact

By Jason Strickland Democrat Sports Reporter

August 10, 2014

Fairgoers went back to the Medieval period Sunday at the State Fair Arena, as the Knights of Valour provided full contact jousting.

Weapon demonstrations were before and after each jousting show. The demonstrations provided information on weapons used in the Medieval period and the equipment the jousters use.

The main event of the weapon demonstrations was a trebuchet, a type of catapult, launching watermelons several feet across the muddy arena.

The first show of the day was at noon during periods of downpours.

“We still had people in the stands,” jouster Ripper Moore said. “It was a small crowd, but the people who were there really wanted to be there.”

The 4 p.m. show had some intermittent sprinkles, but both sides of the arena was about three-fourths full.

The two jousters, Moore and Ken Barton, competed in a game that included capturing a ring with the lance and spearing a target on the ground to gain points. In a separate demonstration, they sliced fruit in half with a sword.

But the main show was the full contact jousting competition.

Moore and Barton competed in several rounds before the show finished. The fans also had a meet and greet with the jousters.

Moore said he always gets asked if the armor is heavy, if it’s hot in the armor and if he gets hurt jousting.

“The answer is yes to all three,” he said.

Moore’s armor weights 130 pounds and was made when he started jousting 19 years ago.

“It still fits,” he said. “Not necessarily good.”

His armor is stainless steel and held together with leather.

“Fairly often I get a blown strap or have to replace a rivet,” Moore said. “If it gets muddy, I can just hose it off. That’s something you couldn’t do with mild steel.”

Of course, the 5,000 pounds of force he absorbs from the blows with the wooden lance requires some repair afterwards.

“I do have to reshape it every now and again because of the hits or sometimes hitting the ground will cause the armor to twist,” Moore said.

After nearly two decades of competing, Moore said he still enjoys jousting and putting on a show for the fans.

“Full contact is a rush, it’s fun,” he said. “When it all comes together it’s a feeling like nothing in the world. When you have the horse working with you and you’re on target and there’s that moment of resistance and pieces of lance flying all around you, it’s just one of the most awesome feelings in the world.”