Horses, horsepower at Fairplay Days

August 13, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Bradley Enfield of Keedysville makes the second ring during the Pro Class Jousting competition at Fairplay Days held on Saturday. Enfield later won the competition.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

FAIRPLAY, Md. — Maria Vogel was rockin' in the saddle Saturday at an age when many folks are rockin' a chair.

The 65-year-old Adamstown, Md., woman was awaiting her turn to joust at Fairplay Days at Old Tilghmanton Tournament Woods, mounted upon Fadjur, a 26-year-old Arabian.

"My obituary will read, 'The oldest novice in the history of the sport,'" joked Vogel, who competes using the moniker "Maid of Visa."

"Like the credit card," Vogel said.

"Charge, Maid of Visa," tournament announcer Linda Minnick said over the public address system. On that run, Vogel snagged two of three 1 3/4-inch rings with her lance.

Vogel has been involved in jousting for about 15 years, and needed just one more win to move up to the amateur class, she said.

"I got involved about five years ago for something to do on horseback, and I love it," said Emily Brown of Waynesboro, Pa., "It's very difficult. Controlling the horse. Trying to catch the rings. Trying not to fall off."

Sponsored by District 12 Ruritan, Fairplay Days offered more to visitors than the spectacle of modern jousting.

Twenty-two classic cars and trucks were parked under the shade trees.

Raymond Holton of Hagerstown, owner of the show's oldest auto, a 1931 Model A hot rod, said the Ruritan Club asked him about four years ago if he could recruit other classic-car owners to come to the festival each year.

Jim and Cathy Napoli of Boonsboro motored in with their 1938 Chevrolet street rod.

"It's chopped and shaved," Jim Napoli said, noting the lowered roof (chopped) and the streamlined features (shaved), such as molding protruding features — door handles, turn signals, fuel neck — into the car's body.

A few yards away, Jim Debow of Vienna, Va., manned a machine-gun nest, the barrel of a Browning 30-caliber jutting between sandbags.

"We call ourselves the Maryland Historical Militia," said the former Hagerstown man. Debow's equipment — M-1, grenades, entrenching tool and other military items — was all of World War II vintage. Other militia members specialized in different conflicts — Vietnam, Korea, World War I and the Civil War.

Gene Breeden of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was with the Fourth Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1968-69. His gear included his original "Ho Chi Minh sandals," cut from truck tires and sold by the Vietnamese to GIs.

"A lot of what we do is keep the memories of these guys alive," said Debow, noting the rapidly dwindling ranks of World War II veterans, the youngest now well into their 80s.

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