Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tournament of The Phoenix Joust

Today's visit of the 2008 Tournament of the Phoenix-Hosted by Jeffrey Hedgecock, and the Royal Armoury-Leeds., is brought to us by the good graces of Douglas Herring.

Some of the competitors from (L to R) Jeffrey D Wasson, Graham Nixon, Fredrick Piraux, and Jeffrey Hedgecock.

Douglas Herring-Author of the Photo Essay. 
All pictures in this article are copyright of Douglas Herring Photographs.
Herring is a multi-talented individual- From 1995-2004 He worked as Studio Art Director for Microsoft Games. Developing the art for many of the games, that are with us today. Herring has seemingly always carried either a sketch pad or camera with him. He is an absolute fixture in the Pacific Northwest Reenactment World, and Fantasy Fairs. His Art/Resume'/CV can be found at:

The 2008 Tournament of the Phoenix held in Poway, California was a Tournament unique in nature. Created by Jeffrey Hedgecock and his wife Gwen Nowrick.-The tournament was sponsored by their company Historic Enterprises, and by the Royal Armouries at Leeds, and sanctioned by the International Jousting League.-Which incidentally was only the second event, outside of the UK the Armoury had ever allowed themselves to be a part of, and the second tournament sanctioned in America by the IJL.-( the first being the The World Invitational Joust in 2007 Also created by Hedgecock and Nowrick) Those that did compete in the lists, were the first to use lances tipped with coronals. Because I did not attend, I have been reluctant to share photo's from this event. I thank Mr.Herring for being willing to share his work.

The first tournament began in 2007. However one the eve of the event, in October, Californian wild fires spread quickly in the surrounding hillsides and the husband, and wife co-creators Hedgecock, and Nowrick had to be evacuated. Even though they ( the competitors) had been told of the fires, the knights who were invited came anyway. The fires were suppressed, and the first tournament in America based entirely on historical clothing, armour, and feats of arms was held.

It is reported the name for The Tournament of the Phoenix, came as a result of a comment made by Dominic Sewell-A British Jouster at the end of the tournament, who I am paraphrasing said, "The fires did not stop us. We have risen Phoenix like from the ashes."-Hence the new name. The original had been "The World Invitational Joust"

It should be noted of the 2008 Tournament of the Phoenix, Fredrick Piraux one of the knights who competed in the competition, and his Squire Danny Van Hecke on their way back to  Belgium spent several days with me at my home. Both men went into great detail about the event. It became readily apparent the addition of a coronal on the end of a lance made for a much harder event. Piraux's sides were battered and bruised in an entire rainbow of colors.


Squire Danny Van Hecke strapping in Jouster Fredric Piraux to his armour.

Piraux said, "It was the hardest hitting competition I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Every time we (the knights) hit ourselves, you really felt it! Those were the hardest lances I have ever broken."

Piraux of Belgium breaking lanes with Nixon of New Zealand..

To view the rest of the photos of The Tournament of The Phoenix, please click on the link below:

To view the rest of Douglas Herring's amazing photographs, art, props, pictures please visit him at the following links:

Once again I would like to thank Douglas Herring for sharing his amazing photos with Modern Medievalist. I don't think a better example exists of the modern world and the medieval world coinciding as The Tournament of The Phoenix, and the competitors who broke lances against each other in the spirit of Chivalry, with Douglas Herring capturing it all.

All my best!

DS Baker

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