Armored knights will face off with scooters as steeds this weekend at the Blacktip Island Society for Creative Anachronism’s annual Tournament of Chivalry. (photo courtesy of Jay Valve)
The Blacktip Island’s chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a global living history group devoted to the Middle Ages, will feature members jousting on motor scooters at their 17th annual Tournament of Chivalry at the small Caribbean island’s Heritage House this weekend.
“We’ve had declining spectator numbers the last few years, so we had to do something to spice things up,” SCA island shire Seneschal Catalina Luxfer said. “Jousting was the logical next step, but there’s no horses, or even donkeys, on the island. And two people with broomsticks running at each other was pretty lame.
“That’s when Finn Kiick, our Knight Marshal, came up with the idea of using motor scooters as mounts and boat hooks as lances,” Luxfer said. “A Vespa’ll approximate a horse’s speed, and when the combatants collide, it shows how effective Medieval cavalry charges could be. We sent three knights to the clinic during practice. The tournament’s set up in multiple, single-elimination rounds, with the winner being named Lord or Lady of the Island for a year and a day.”
Kiick, overseeing the jousting, downplayed the activity’s danger.
“Safety’s our number one goal,” he said. “Jousters have to wear period-appropriate armor and helmets, mostly built from stuff at the dump, and’re allowed a top scooter speed of 15 miles per hour. And once they’re unhorsed, they can continue to fight with Wiffle-bat swords and toilet-plunger maces.
“We’ve banned lances to the head, too,” Kiick said. “Any jouster who rams another’s helmet’ll be chucked from the tournament and banished from the shire. “Course, Nurse Marissa, our chapter Chirurgeon, will be standing by to treat any injuries, and a mechanic’ll be there to mend any damaged steeds.”
Locals are eager to see the new sport.
“These SCA festivals had turned into lame cosplay, so it’ll be good to see folks go real-life Medieval on each other,” Chrissy Graysby said. “People are talking up Jerrod Ephesians as the odds-on favorite, but my money’s on Rosie Bottoms. She’s got that killer instinct. Not that I’m betting, since that’s illegal, but her at 8:1. . . that’s a gimme.”
The tournament will also feature grog and turkey leg booths, machete-throwing contests and an arena for wooden sword fighting among the children attending.
“It truly is an exciting event for the whole family,” chapter Webminister Jay Valve said. “There’ll also be a Bring Out Your Dead body stacking contest, a pit with mud and spoiled vegetables for people to fling at each other, a pox-painting booth and Jessie Catahoula, dressed as a hag, casting random curses on people.”
“We’re also thrilled the monks from St. Dervil’s monastery will bring their iguana choir to sing Gregorian chants between jousts,” Valve said. “They’ll also be selling their coconut mead, made only at their monastery, which’ll be a rare treat.”
Illuminated parchment admission tickets may be purchased at the Heritage House. All proceeds will go the SCA jousters’ medical bills and to Tiperon University-Blacktip’s Medieval studies department.