Lonnie crosses lances with Sean Gulick during Friday morning's jousting demonstration, TTL Sports Media, April 2019.
I was invited by Steve Hemphill to participate in Lysts on the Lake 2019 located in the "Village of Castleton" on the beautiful shores of Lake Austin. Produced by a'Plaisance, Ltd., Lysts on the Lake is billed as the largest competitive jousting tournament in the world, hosting more than a dozen competitors each year. The "Lone Star Open Joust" is also one of the few events open to any equestrian who meet the qualifications. The tournament consists of three mounted events: le Chasse, Melée a'Cheval, and Joust a'Plaisance.
The tournament opens with le Chasse, or "the hunt", on Friday. Each competitor must individually perform a series of mounted events meant to simulate a medieval hunt, by far the most popular pastime among the nobility. Riders begin by following the Master of the Hunt until he blows his horn. They then must use sword to skewer a (simulated) boar and use bow and arrow to take a hart. Then follows several activities including gathering the hounds, riding through the village, crossing a bridge, retrieving a falcon and jumping a low hedge, before finally delivering a message to a lady.
The Melée a'Cheval, or "combat on horse", is a grand melée where competitors use wooden tourney batons in place of steel weapons of war. Any rider who receives five (5) sufficient blows, is dismounted, or loses their weapon will be considered defeated and must retire from the field. The last remaining combatant is declared the winner of the competition.
The Joust a'Plaisance, or "joust of peace", is the form of jousting most recognized by a modern audience. Competitors are separated on the field by tilt barriers and lances are tipped with coronels in place of sharpened spear points. Each match consists of three passes with a maximum of 4 points attainable. One (1) point is awarded for simply striking the opponent in the target area (between neck and waist); or, two (2) points if the tip of the lance is broken; or, three (3) points for a strike to the shield that breaks the tip. An additional point may be awarded by the King of Arms for breaking off more than half of the lance tip. At the Lysts of the Lake, no points are awarded for striking the head or below the waist. No points are awarded for unhorsing an opponent.
Lysts on the Lake is affiliated with the International Jousting League and the International Jousting Association, the largest competitive jousting organizations in the world. Each competitor must be a member in order to take part.
The Melée a'Pied, or "combat on foot", returned in 2019 as a separate event that would not award points toward tournament champion. Each combatant may choose between pollaxe, sword, spear, or dagger. Three hits to a vulnerable area will defeat an opponent.
Prior to the tournament, I was able to break a few lances against multiple competitors and earn my Level 2 Jouster Certification from the International Jousting Association (USA). While I received the certification too late to enter the tournament as a competitor, the Lady of Honour was gracious enough to afford me the opportunity to participate in a jousting display with Sean Gulick on the first day as part of the harnischfechten demonstration.