History and NGC jousting for position with latest reality trend

For too long, fans of the medieval sport of jousting have been greatly underserved by television. Aside from watching a film set in the Middle Ages, if you wanted to see people knocking each other off of horses with lances, you had to visit your local Renaissance Faire. If you wanted to participate in the action, one of your only options might have been to “bicycle joust,” or, if you were really desperate, to play the video game Joust.

But soon, ye olde fans of this ancient sport will have thy patience rewarded when two jousting reality series hit the airwaves. A few weeks ago History began seeking applicants for Full Metal Jousting (“If you are a skilled horseback rider and have the heart of a warrior, then you might have what it takes to become America’s first Full Metal Jouster and win the $100,000 grand prize,” explains the site. Fortunately, though, “you don’t need to be an experienced jouster.” Casting ends July 23, if you’re interested.) Full Metal Jousting, from the producers of Top Shot and The Ultimate Fighter, will be re-creating jousting battles of yore by arming 16 competitors with lances, armor and 2,000-pound war horse. It will be taped this fall.

And this fall is when another jousting series, Knights of Mayhem, will already be thundering onto TV screens on National Geographic Channel. Whereas Full Metal Jousting is a competition series, Knights seems to be more of a docuseries or reality show (whatever they’re calling these things nowadays), following a group of modern-day jousters led by Charlie Andrews who hope to “transform the sport from a staged act to a professional sports phenomenon that will sweep the globe.” If you think guys like this aren’t serious about what they do, you haven’t been to a Ren Faire lately. (A woman I know who works at a faire told me that last weekend she met a gent in a full suit of armor that he had made for himself in Europe for a cost of $10,000.) The Knights’ MySpace page says that they are a “full contact jousting troupe” and that what they do “isn’t a dinner show; it’s a manly competition of stamina and skill.”

Welcome to Medieval Times!

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