MJTA Handbook 

A PDF copy of the latest MJTA Member Handbook dated January 1, 2020 can be downloaded here.

Revised 2020



George Bartram -  Knight of Cedar Lane  1950 - 1958

George Ditman -  Knight of Sunset View  1959 - 1960

Henry J. Fowler Sr. -  Knight of Mechanicsville  1961 - 1965

Leon Enfield -  Knight of Little Woods  1966 - 1970

Wayne Tucker -  Knight of Beauty  1971 - 1975

Henry J. Fowler Jr. -  Knight of Charlotte Hall  1976

Alice Blum -  Maid of Naboo Knoll   1977 - 1979

Dave Gouker -  Knight of Valley View  1980

Mary Lou Bartram -  Maid of Bartram Manor  1981 - 1990

Mike Virts -  Knight of St. Marks  1991 - 1994

Bruce Hoffman -  Knight of Maple Hill  1995 - 1997

Ric Allen -  Knight of Northwind  1998 - 2000

Ken Enfield - Knight of Excalibur  2001 - 2006

Vicki Betts - Maid of Northwind 2007 - 2010

Jim Drews - Knight of Pleasant Run  2011 - 2013

Vicki Betts - Maid of Northwind  2014 - 2016

Current President

Ron Vogel - Knight of Sellner's Farm  2017 -


Short History

    On March 5, 1950, the first meeting of the Maryland State Tournament Association was held in Overlea, Maryland. Since only four people were at this meeting, it was decided that another meeting should be arranged before abandoning all hope of creating a successful organization. The second meeting was held at the same locality on March 26, 1950, and 22 riders were present. It was at this meeting that the association was officially organized, officers elected, a membership fee of $1.00 established, and the purposes of the organization defined. It was here too that a standard set of riding rules was first written and approved unanimously by all those present as the proper rules by which jousting tournaments should be conducted. These rules are reviewed each spring, and changes, if approved, are incorporated into the rules.

    The official name of the organization, at that time, was the Maryland Tournament Association, although it was later named the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association, and as of March 1951 it became known as the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association, Inc.

    It was decided that the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association should hold annually a State Championship Jousting Tournament. The first such event was held in October 1950 in Glen Burnie at Ritchie Raceway Trotting Association. Since this first championship tournament, various organizations have been co-sponsors with the Jousting Association in these annual affairs.

    Our first Banquet was held in Glen Burnie on March 4, 1951, at which time some sixty members and guests were present, representing ten counties and Baltimore City. At a business meeting following the banquet a set of by-laws was adopted, which have been revised and amended from time to time.

    The association has been instrumental in promoting the sport of jousting among spectators, participants, and sponsoring organizations. During the session of the Maryland General Assembly in February 1962, the Honorable Henry J. Fowler Sr, a member of the House of Delegates from St. Mary's County and president of the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association, Inc. introduced House Bill No. 80 into the Maryland House of Delegates. This bill gave recognition to Jousting as the Official State Sport of Maryland. The bill received wholehearted support from Marylanders all over the state and the enthusiastic confirmation of Governor J. Millard Tawes. It was passed through both chambers of the Maryland Legislature, and on Friday, April 6, 1962, at a special ceremony, Governor Tawes signed the bill into law to become effective on June 1, 1962

    Members of the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association are proud of this achievement, for jousting is a unique and colorful sport steeped in tradition and pageantry. Members of the association show a genuine interest in the progress and well-being of the association and sport of jousting. It is felt that with this continuing spirit and cooperation, the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association, Inc. will continue to prosper and expand, carrying with it the tradition and glory of an age-old equestrian sport.

Where Chivalry Prevails

The cry of "Charge, Sir Knight" is heralded by the sound of galloping hooves and steel crashing against steel. All the splendor, pageantry, tradition and romance of the Age of Chivalry have crept from beneath the dusty pages of worn history text to live again.

Each weekend afternoon during the summer all the modern miracles of a jet-propelled world are forgotten as inhabitants of the little towns and villages scattered over the Maryland countryside lay down their respective tasks and journey to the tournament.

The Age of Chivalry is not dead, and it never will be in these little hamlets along the country roads where jousting tournaments have prevailed as a major sport since the ending of the Civil War.

Even before the war these contests were a favorite pastime in the "Old Line State" where competition and good horsemanship have thrived. It wasn't until after the war, however, that they really came into their own, for in the post-war years they were staged for the primary purpose of raising funds to erect a Confederate monument and to take care of poverty-stricken Southern families.

The modern tournaments are steeped in tradition and have varied little from the customs and procedures established by their historical ancestors.

Even the purpose has prevailed, and though the tournaments no longer serve as a means of making money to erect a Confederate monument to soothe the ruffled feathers and tempers of the mint julep fanciers, they are sponsored and promoted by churches and lodges for the purpose of raising funds to help these organizations.

Though they are a far cry from the blood-thirsty, murderous version of the original tournaments which first came into existence in France around the sixteenth century and later spread to England, where they were exalted and made popular in the immortal tales of Scott's Ivanhoe, much of the pageantry and color that added a mystic, traditional atmosphere to the sport has been preserved down through the centuries.

These marked characteristics of tradition, color, and romance in conjunction with skill and good horsemanship have combined to make the modern ring tournament a sport truly unique in its own right.

In keeping with traditions the modern knight is mounted on horseback, but instead of being dressed in a cumbersome suit of armor and charging at an opposing rider with a long pointed lance in an effort to unseat him, the knight of the twentieth century wears a conventional riding habit, and charges his mount down a dirt track laid out beneath three overhanging arches.

He carries the traditional lance, and with it he endeavors to spear a ring suspended from each arch as his horse gallops down the track.

In accordance with the rules of the sport, each rider is given three rides or charges at the rings. It is possible to have a total score of nine rings on three rides, since the knight has a chance to spear three rings on each charge.

After all the knights have completed their three turns, the rings are reduced in size by 1/4" of an inch in diameter, and all the riders with a perfect score on the larger rings are allowed to have one ride on rings of this size. Subsequently the remaining riders with a perfect score again ride on rings reduced by 1/4" inch in diameter, and it is here that the victor usually emerges, for these smaller rings are a severe test for even the best of the knights. The smallest ring is one-quarter inch size.

To the inexperienced spectator, the feat may appear simple, but it isn't as easy as it looks. These knights spend hours practicing. They depend heavily on their horses, and a well-trained mount is indispensable to a tournament rider. For this reason jousters spend years training their horses to respond to ques, given by the rider. A rider's undivided attention must be concentrated on the rings, and without a horse that is will-trained this would be impossible. It is often two or even three years after they begin riding in tournaments, that riders become skillful and settled enough to be competitive.

Unlike their ancestors the modern knights do not devote their lives to a war-like career. They come from every walk of life. A few of them represent the third, fourth, and fifth generation of their family to participate in the sport. All members of the family participate equally.

All of them ride for the love of the sport because there are no profits for the participants. The best they can hope for is enough prize money to cover the expense of their trip to the tournament. Many of them travel over a hundred miles with a car, horse, and trailer to participate.

Each knight in keeping with tradition has a title such as the "Knight of Cedar Lane", the "Knight of Little Woods", or in the case of a lady, it might be the "Maid of Bartram Manor". These titles are chosen by the knights themselves and are usually names of estates, hometowns, streets and occasionally one or two of them will take on a humorous aspect, such as the "Knight of Will If I Can".

On the day of the tournament the knight registers with the judges by paying an entry fee and informing them of his title. He also states in which class he is riding.

The tournament field is gaily decorated with bright trimmings and colorful flags. There is a parade of all the knights and ladies, before the tournament begins. Aides are dressed in riding habits adorned by bright sashes or capes.

Every knight is given a colorful sash to wear. This sash symbolizes the quaint medieval custom of the knight carrying a handkerchief or similar favor given to him by the lady he loves, as a token of good luck in the tournament.

An honored guest, usually a person of political prominence in the state, sits with the judges on the stand beside the track. This practice is in keeping with the traditional habit of medieval tournaments at which the king or lord of the manor was the guest of honor.

A distinguished visitor is given the privilege of making a short speech to the knights before the riding begins. This address is appropriately titled "The Charge to the Knights". After the address the Grand Marshall sees that the rings are hung, and then he begins the tournament by calling the first knight or lady to ride.

Even this is done in a spectacular manner. For example, if the first knight were the "Knight of Cedar Lane", the Marshall calls out---"Knight of Cedar Lane, prepare to charge". The knight rides his horse to the head of the track and prepares to charge. When the Marshall sees that everything is in order, he gives the traditional cry of "Charge, Sir Knight". The knight turns his horse into the track and charges at the rings. If he is successful in taking all three rings he is escorted, by the lady heralds, back to the judges' stand, to the accompanying refrain of some popular tune played by a band located somewhere near the track. All of the rings are removed from his lance by the ringmaster, and his score is entered on the score sheet. This procedure is followed for each rider until the final ride has been completed and the victor proclaimed.

Immediately after the joust the crowning ceremony is held. The winning knight steps forward to claim his prize and to place upon the head of the lady of his choice the traditional wreath of flowers. In performing this ritual he crowns her "Queen of Love and Beauty". At this time the knights who placed second, third and fourth also crowns the ladies of their choice with wreaths of flowers, and these ladies become the first, second, and third maids of the Queen's Court.

Association By-Laws



The official name of the association shall be the
Maryland Jousting Tournament Association, Inc.



A. To govern a standard set of jousting tournament rules which are agreeable to the riders and which will be enforced at every tournament.

B. To act as mediator between sponsors in arranging suitable tournament dates that are not in conflict.

C. To notify each member in advance as to the time and place of each tournament.

D. To promote a better understanding between rider, sponsors and spectators.

E. To encourage good sportsmanship and good horsemanship among the members.

F. To encourage a friendlier relationship and mutual understanding among the members.

G. To make every effort to keep alive the quaint, colorful, ancient traditions of the Age of Chivalry which are associated with the sport, and to do as much as possible to make it unique in its own right.



A. Active membership is open to any interested individual or organization.

    1. Members may renew their membership each year upon payment of ten dollars ($10.00) in dues for which they will receive membership cards.

    2. Organizations may renew their membership each year upon payment of twenty five dollars ($25.00) in dues.

    3. Organizations may appoint one representative to attend meetings and vote on their behalf.

B. Rules pertaining to new members are as follows:

    1. Any person wishing to join the association must be sponsored by a member in good standing with the association.

    2. The individuals name must be presented to the Board of Directors of the association. If two-thirds of the Board of Directors is agreeable to admit the individual, he/she will be granted a membership card upon payment of his dues, and will be entitled to the privileges of the organization pending membership approval.

    3. At the next meeting of the association where a quorum is present his/her name will be placed before the members at large for rejection or acceptance. A majority vote will determine the decision. If a member should be rejected he will be requested to turn in his membership card, and his full yearly amount of dues will be returned.



A. The Board of Directors shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Statistician and the Immediate past MJTA President.One director from each member club and an elected non-rider. The non-rider can be from any member club.

B. Their term of office shall be one year, dating from January 1 to December 31.

C. Officers for the succeeding year shall be nominated and elected at the fall meeting.

D. The Board of Directors will meet quarterly.

E. No part of the net earnings of the club shall inure to any person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the association.



A. The association is to hold two official meetings annually, though the president has the authority to call intervening meetings if the necessity arises.

B. The meeting in the spring will be the annual banquet. The purpose of the meeting:

    1. Ceremonial installation of officers.

    2. Reviewing riding rules and schedules for the coming season and making approved changes in these.

    3. Appoint a committee for the State Championship Tournament.

    4. Clearing any business on hand.

C. The second meeting shall be held in the fall.

    1. Results of the past season and championship tournament will be discussed.

    2. Nominations and elections of officers for the succeeding year will be held.

    3. Any other business presented by members will be considered.

D. Concerning notifications and proper conduct of these meetings, the following rules prevail:

    1. Each member shall be notified at least one week in advance of the exact time and place of every meeting, as well as to what business will be discussed.

    2. If enough members are present to constitute a quorum the president may call the meeting to order and proceed with the business to be discussed.

    3. Any ten members in good standing shall constitute a quorum.

    4. If within one-half hour after the appointed time for the meeting there are not enough members present to constitute a quorum, the president shall announce to those present that the meeting is canceled. Members will be notified of this by letter, and notified of a subsequent meeting.



A. The Executive Board shall consist of the officers of the association. In accordance with the rule adopted at the meeting in December 1950, this committee is endowed with the power to make any decisions regarding the use of treasury funds to defray the cost of debts contracted by the association. A two-thirds majority approval by this committee and the Board of Directors is needed before funds may be extracted by the treasury for any expenses.

B. The president is endowed with the power of making any decision regarding the association that must be made between meetings. These decisions are subject to the approval of a two-thirds majority of the executive committee and the Board of Directors before they may be carried out.

C. All members and individuals participating in Maryland Jousting Tournament Association, Inc. events are expected to conduct themselves as gentlemen and ladies representing the historic and tradition-filled sport of ring tournaments. Any deviation from acceptable conduct shall be handled on an individual basis by the Executive Officers.



Any committees are to be appointed by the president.



The following generally accepted rules of order are to be followed in conducting meetings of the association, and, in the event of any discrepancies concerning the proper procedure, the rules contained in "Robert's Rules of Order" (revised edition) shall govern the association in all cases to which they are not consistent with the by-laws of the special rules of order of the association.

A. Procedure of meeting:

1. Call to order by the president.

2. Reading of minutes by the secretary, subject to discussion and approval by the members.

3. Treasurer's report

4. Any committee reports are read and discussed, and any motion made regarding them or information therein shall be seconded and voted upon.

5. Any unfinished business will be called for and dispensed with in like manner.

6. The floor will be open to any new business.

7. If there is no other business to discuss, the president will ask for a motion for adjournment, which must be seconded and approved by those present. Nominations and election of officers, when in order, shall precede adjournment.

B. Any by-laws contained herein, or any clause or section of one or all of them is subject to change or amendment by the members of the association. When a change or amendment is desired, it must be put on the floor at a recognized meeting in the form of a motion. If seconded and approved by a majority present it must then be sent in a separate letter to all members of the association, and must have the approval of two-thirds of the active membership at the next meeting in order to be incorporated into the by-laws of this association.

The Fawcett Hopkins Novice Rider Award

Purpose: To provide an award for, and to recognize, the outstanding novice rider during the year.


    1. Must be a paid up member no later than May 1, and in good standing with the MJTA. New members will have points accumulated from the date their dues are paid.

    2. Points will be awarded for the calender year.

    3. Points will be tabulated from the score sheets and work sheets submitted to the Association's statistician from each joust and, or exhibition held during the calendar year if open to all riders and held in accordance with the adopted set of riding rules of the MJTA..


  Twelve (12) points will be given for each exhibition attended.

  Four (4) points will be given for riding in a tournament.

  Four (4) points will be given for each class worked at a tournament.

Revised 2003

The Henry J. Fowler Sr. Rider of the Year Award


Purpose: To provide an award for, and to recognize the outstanding rider during the year.


    1. Must be a paid up member no later than May 1, and in good standing with the MJTA. New members will have points accumulated from the date their dues are paid.

    2. Points will be awarded for the calendar year.

    3. Points will be tabulated from the score sheets and work sheets submitted to the Association's statistician from each joust and/or exhibition held during the calendar year, if open to all riders and held in accordance with the adopted set of riding rules of the MJTA.


Twelve (12) points will be given for each exhibition attended.

Four (4) points will be given for riding in a tournament.

Four (4) points will be given for each class worked at a tournament

Five (5) points will be given for a First Place finish.

Three (3) points will be given for a Second Place finish.

Two (2) points will be given for a Third Place finish.

One (1) point will be given for a Fourth Place finish.

Revised 2003

The Leon Enfield Member of the Year Award

Purpose: To provide an award for, and to recognize, the outstanding MJTA Member (rider or non-rider) during the year.

Revised 2019

The Mary Lou Bartram Youth Rider Award

The Mary Lou Bartram Youth Rider Award is open to all MJTA Members, sixteen and under as of January 1, who have previously placed in an official class during the current season. This award is given to the rider who has placed the highest in their class with the most rings on their three (3) rides at the State Championship. In the event of a tie, the winner of the award will be the rider with the highest total ring count. In cases where the riders have the same total ring count, multiple Mary Lou Bartram awards will be given.

Revised 2019

Jousting Equipment

Jousting equipment has never be standardized. It is impossible to purchase these items from any store. You must either make them yourself or find someone to make them for you. As a result you will find that equipment is quite individualized. The following information is merely a guide. Adjustments must be made to suit your needs and preferences.

In our area the accepted layout for a track is an 80-yard straight track. Three arches are placed along this with irons hanging from them and rings hung in the irons. There is a 20-yard marker to have the horse in a gallop by the time he reaches this mark, and sufficient distance after the third arch to allow the horse to stop easily in a straight line.


Jousting arches may be made from a variety of materials. Some are just boards nailed to convenient trees so the iron may be suspended over the track. Some arches have a supporting post on each side of the track, while others are half arches with only one post and an arm out to hold the iron. Some arches are cemented permanently into the ground while others are portable.

We prefer the portable type of arches for several reasons. First, they may be moved from one site to another with very little trouble so that if a track becomes too deep a new one may be started. They may also be transported to other locations when holding a joust or exhibition. Our arches are made with five ten-foot long electrical conduit or aluminum tubing, one and a quarter inches

(1 1/4") in diameter. A coupling (described below) holds these pipes in place.

The coupling consists of three short pieces of 1 1/2" pipe, each ten inches long. These are welded with the one in the center. The other two are welded to this one at a 75 degree angle on the end. A cap is welded to the end to close it.

The cross bar slides into the center pipe while two other pipes slide into the welded pipes.
The other end of the arch is formed in the same way (See illustration).



    There are three irons needed, one for each arch. The irons are made of one quarter inch (1/4) square stock. For each iron you will need one two foot (2') piece and one, one foot (1) piece. Bolt them together one inch (1") from the ends to create a pivot. At the end of the one foot (1') piece cut a two inch (2") deep slot for the pinchers (made from two pieces of half inch (1/2") wide banding strap) to slide into and be bolted in. (See illustration).


There are three hangers needed, one for each arch. The hangers are made from one and one quarter inch (11/4") inside diameter square tube or pipe six inches (6") long. Weld a piece one foot (1') long of one and one quarter inch (11/4") by one quarter inch (1/4") flat stock in center of tube. On top of the tube drill a five sixteen inch (5/16") hole in the center then weld a five sixteen inch (5/16") nut over the hole and add a bolt. This is to tighten the hanger to the arch. At the end and in the center of the one foot (1') piece weld a three inch (3") long piece of one quarter inch (1/4") square stock. In the center of the square stock drill a one quarter inch (1/4") hole and weld a one quarter inch (1/4") nut over the hole and add a bolt. This is to tighten the iron in the hanger. (See Illustration)


    A complete set of jousting rings consists of 28 rings. Seven different sizes ranging from one quarter inch in diameter to one and three-quarter inches in diameter. These are made of metal and may be bought in some rural hardware stores or harness shops. They are called harness rings. If unable to purchase these they may be made from heavy wire formed into a circle and welded where it meets. Rings are wrapped with no. 21 white cotton cord as shown in the illustration. They are kept white by dipping them in white shoe polish and hanging on a string to dry.

When hanging a ring in the hanger it is best to put the knot at the bottom. This makes the ring hang more evenly.

Jousting Lance

    There is no place known where you may purchase a jousting lance. All the lances used are homemade. They average anywhere between five feet and seven feet in length and weigh anywhere between one and fifteen pounds depending on the materials used and the rider's choice.

The point of the lance is on the average, two feet long and made of metal, aluminum or stainless steel.

The stock us usually made of wood, and its length depends largely on how long and how heavy the point is. The main concern in making you lance should be your balancing point. The lance is held at the balance point (see illustration).

Jousting Track

Even though very few jousting fields are exactly alike, since space at some locations does not provide us with enough room, we try to set up the arches in this manner.

1.     40 yards of starting room before the first arch.

2.     30 yards between the first and second arch.

3.     30 yards between the second and third arch.

4.     60 yards after the last arch for stopping your horse.

                                    Total: 160 yards

If adequate space is not available for a jousting track of this size, subtract yardage from the beginning or the end. The 30 yards between each arch must remain the same for the purpose of timing.

A timing mark or pole is placed 20 yards before the first arch. Timing starts at this point and ends at the third arch. A total of 80 yards. Standard time to complete the course is 9 seconds.

Come Joust With Us!











Knight Life in Maryland

A law was passed a distant moon ago here--

Proclaiming jousting as "THE SPORT" throughout the land.

King Henry is the Ruler of the Court here,

He rules the Table Round in Mary Land.

By order of the King it never rains here---

At least from May until October bound.

The snow is plainly banished and won't be seen here---

While Maryland Knights and Jousting Queens are crowned.

We know it sounds a bit appalling---

And you may find it hard to understand.

We recommend you pack and come a calling--

To see Knight life as it is in Maryland.

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