The sport of jousting is the official sport of Maryland. Jousters compete by trying to catch a hanging ring on a lance while riding a horse.
In 1962, a law was enacted making jousting our State sport. The legislators felt that:
In Maryland, jousting is the sport of charging a horse at full gallop toward 3 suspended rings (hanging from Arches) spaced evenly down a 100 yard track. The
- jousting was recognized as the oldest, most colorful, traditional equestrian sport known to man and it had been popular in Maryland since colonial days;
- many people today think of the sport as a real Maryland tradition and it has enthusiastic followers from all over the State of Maryland, as well as from neighboring states;
- jousting tournaments in Maryland have preserved many of the traditional customs and dignity long associated with the medieval sport and yet the sport has remained untouched by commercialism;
rider carries a long, fine tipped lance and attempts to "spear" the rings. The rings range in diameter from 1 3/4" down to 1/4. " This form of jousting is called the "ring tournament" and it is not like earlier forms of the sport where two riders fought against one another in either real or pretend fighting.
Today jousting competitions are held throughout Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Click on the image to see a larger version Photograps courtesy of the Governor's Press Office, State of Maryland