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A-jousting they go at Fairplay Days event

August 17, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

FAIRPLAY - It called to mind a medieval scene of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest.

Rays of sunlight spilled through the trees as the Knight of Sir Lancelot mounted his steed, steadied his lance and tenaciously set his eyes on a half-inch, iron-mounted ring hanging from a wooden arch. The only sounds were those of crickets chirping and the rhythmic buh-da-bum, buh-da-bum of horse hooves cantering the 80-yard packed dirt track.

Then at 20 yards, 50 yards, and 80 yards, the faint "Ding, ding, ding!" of the lance passing through the rings whispered through the air. Onlookers, reclined amid green grass and perched on hefty rocks, broke into crackling applause.

The jousting knight was Bob Enfield, 50, of Keedysville, who was among 21 knights and maids Saturday at the Fairplay Days Jousting Tournament at District 12 Ruritan's Tilghmanton Woods Community Park. Enfield placed second in the professional class and won first prize in the trophy class. His son, Bradley, 12, and daughter, Marley, 10, also won awards.

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"They work hard. They are competitive," Bob Enfield said of his children. "(Jousting) requires good hand-eye coordination, plus they learn horsemanship, how to guide and handle the horse."

Bob Enfield comes by his 40-year-plus passion for jousting honestly. His father, Leon, shared his interest in the sport with his three children, Bob and Kenny Enfield and Linda Minnick, all of whom were at Saturday's event. Kenny, of Easton, Md., took first place over Bob in the professional class.

Linda Minnick, 53, of Middletown, Md., said she suffered a "bad spill" jousting earlier this year and chose not to participate in Saturday's tournament.

"I'm fine, but I lost my nerve," she said.

Minnick remained involved in the event nonetheless, overseeing activities as her husband, Darrell, commentated. While the tournament drew competitors from Buckingham County, Va., to Harford County, Md., Minnick said there was "a rather light crowd" compared to usual. She attributed the relatively low attendance to two larger jousting events running simultaneously in the region and the high price of gas.

Jousting will continue today with a demonstration clinic at 9:30 a.m. and a tournament at 12:30 p.m. Added to the mix will be Linda and Darrell Minnick's son, Corey, winner of the last two national jousting championships, along with his children, Noah, 6, and Rachel, 4, who also compete using a lead line to the rings.

Linda Minnick said her father's boyhood interest in jousting, which is the official sport of Maryland, has become a family stronghold.

"Dad saw it as something he could do. He talked to other local people to get started," Minnick said. "This day and age, so many things compete for attention, but still all the kids want to try it and they stick with it. In fact, we have here four generations competing. It's created a family closeness. It's something they choose to do even though we have diverse personalities, diverse life interests. This is something we get together and do."

Larry and Carol Pereschuk, 56 and 46, of Keedysville, attended the tournament.

"It's amazing they can go that fast and still capture the rings," Carol Pereschuk said. "I don't see how they can keep the poles steady enough."

Jennifer Lofland, who lives near Philadelphia and was in the area visiting family, watched the event with her husband, Sam, and her children, Sarah, 6, and Joseph, 4.

"Jousting is very family oriented," Lofland said. "It's relaxing to sit and watch on a beautiful day. The setting here is pretty and it's really fun."




If you go

What: Fairplay Days

When: Today, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: District 12 Ruritan, 18309 Breathedsville Road, Fairplay

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