HAMMOND, La. (WGNO) — The premiere event at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival is the jousting competition.  

Like a real-life fairytale, everyday hundreds of people gather at the jousting arena to see a spectacle, a sport and a tradition that dates back to northwest France in the late 11th century.

There are a host of in-the-flesh-heroes at the festival.

“My name is Silas Holt, but my knightly name is Sir Victor Thorne, the Stag of York. It’s fun to play this character because he ambitious. For all of our characters, we don’t go for a good or evil leaning. We all just have personalities and want to win,” says Thorn.

The daily matches are unscripted as Thorne says, “we are jousting for real! Nobody knows what is going to happen.”

Like sparing Bighorn sheep, two knights on horseback run head-head at full speed. The goal is collision with a purpose. To win the jousting match, a knight must knock their opponent off of their steed, score points by landing the best direct hits or by shattering a lance.

“Jousting is a sport that evolved over hundreds of years in the Middle Ages. It started as a way for knights to train for battle. It’s kind of wild that we as human beings have decided to do this a second time in history,” explains Thorne.

Under metal helmets and armor, knights do battle under the watchful eye of the Renaissance Festival crowd. The intense energetic murmur makes way for a silent concentration as the knights focus on the fast-approaching target at the other end of the field.

“I love to win, and I love when I knock someone off! The most important thing is to entertain.  We try not to kill each other. Luckily, we have this real steel armor, and it keeps us alive. Even though we are wanting to win, we know that safety is important. The safety of the horses is paramount, as well as our own safety. I love to win and when I can knock someone off their horse, but we train so we can pursue those goals vigorously and safely. You are taking care of your jousting match partner even though you are trying to defeat them.”

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