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Again this year, the Maryland State Jousting Tournament took place at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Oct. 6. The State Ring Jousting Tournament was being held and sponsored by the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association (MJTA). Ring jousting has been Maryland’s state sport since 1962 and celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, a press release states.

Jousters from all over the state of Maryland were in attendance and competing for the title of state champion in one of four classes: novice, amateur, semi-professional and professional. Riders from the Tynewydd Riding Club in St. Leonard took the top four spots in novice. Ian Flaherty, Knight of Tynewydd, earned the Maryland State Novice Champion title. Sidney Locey, Maid of Mirth, finished in second place, followed by Bill Klee, Knight of Dad and Steve Donaldson, Knight of Ni in the third and fourth places, respectively, according to the release.

The novice class is the jousting class, where horse and rider have mastered the basics of ring jousting. The horse must travel down the track while the rider guides it with one hand and aims the lance with the other, attempting to collect the three rings held by the arches along the 80-yard course. The novice class begins with rings 1 ¾ inches in diameter. The class is not timed, but the horse must maintain a gait greater than a walk, the release states.

The two top spots in the semi-professional class were also earned by local riders at the state competition. Lily Fisher-Flaherty, Maid of Tynewydd, secured first place and the title of Maryland State Semi-Professional Champion, according to the release. Mikayla Miller, Maid of New Castle, took home the second place trophy. Both girls were new to the Semi-Pro class this year.

Riders in this class must win six novice events to advance to amateur, and then six more events to advance to semi-professional. They must cover the 80-yard course in nine seconds or less at the Maryland State competition. This class starts out with 1 ¼ inch rings. Ring sizes decrease in the event of tie-breakers.

The following Saturday, Oct. 13, the Calvert County jousters from Tynewydd traveled to Brunswick in Western Maryland for the National Jousting Tournament. Jousters from all around Maryland and Virginia were in attendance. At the national competition, there are slight differences in the competition: the rings are hung ½ inch lower than at states, the riders compete for six rings instead of nine, and timed rides must be completed in eight seconds or less for amateur level and above, the release continues.

In the novice division, the Tynewydd group again took the top four out of five spots. Ian Flaherty earned the National Novice Champion title. Steve Donaldson placed second; Elizabeth Lewis, Maid of Tamarack, placed third; and Thadeous Cuthrell, Knight of Hawthorne, earned the fourth place trophy.

Later in the national competition, the semi-professional class was held. Lily Fisher-Flaherty placed first overall to earn the title of National Semi-Professional Champion, and second place in the semi-pro division was earned by Mikayla Miller.

The national tournament was the final competition of the 2012 season. The ring jousting season begins in the spring and goes through the second weekend in October. Spectators and interested riders can see a competition locally at the Calvert County Jousting Tournament held at Christ Church in Port Republic annually. It is scheduled for the last Saturday in August each year. The 147th Calvert County Jousting Tournament will be Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.

Tynewydd Riding Club members are: Lily Fisher-Flaherty (Maid of Tynewydd), Ian Flaherty (Knight of Tynewydd), Mikayla Miller (Maid of New Castle), Thadeous Cuthrell (Knight of Hawthorne), Robert Klee (Knight of Kalmidor), Alexandria Klee (Maid of Kalmidor), Bill Klee (Knight of Dad), Emily Trawick (Maid of Port Republic), Izzy Gholl (Maid of John), Sidney Locey (Maid of Mirth), Elizabeth Lewis (Maid of Tamarack), Steve Donaldson (Knight of Ni), Shannon Donaldson (Maid of Twirls and Curls), Tabitha Dunn (Maid of Catalina), Kayla Horton (Maid of Cove Point Woods), Maya Horton (Maid of Dasher Drive) and Libby Crane (Maid of Chesapeake).

For more information about riding or jousting with the Tynewydd Riding Club, contact Viviane Fisher-Flaherty at 410-610-4340, or go to www.ridewithV.com .