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Jousting became the official sport of Maryland in 1962 (Chapter 134, Acts of 1962; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-308). Maryland was the first state to adopt an official sport.
The annual Maryland State Jousting Championship was held October 5, 2013 at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, 1450 Generals Highway (Route 178), Crownsville. The Championship has been sponsored since 1950 by the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association. Also, the National Jousting Championship was held at Petersville on October 12, 2013
Jousting tournaments have been held in Maryland since early colonial times but became increasingly popular after the Civil War. Retaining the pageantry and customs of medieval tournaments, modern competitors are called "knights" or "maids", and many dress in colorful costumes. Men, women and children compete equally with skill and horsemanship determining the class.
Tournaments conducted in Maryland are "ring tournaments" which involve charging a horse at full-gallop through an 80-yard course toward suspended rings. Using a long, fine-tipped lance, the rider has 8 seconds to complete the course and "spear" the rings, scoring points accordingly. From three equally-spaced arches, rings are hung 6 feet 9 inches above the ground and range in diameter from one-quarter inch to nearly two inches depending upon the skill-level of the contestant. A family sport, jousting skills frequently are passed from one generation to the next.
Today, jousting competitions are held from May through October in Maryland.
The law designating jousting as the official Maryland state sport is found in the Maryland Statutes, Title 13, Section 13-308.
§ 13-308 - Sport
Universal Citation: MD State Govt Code § 13-308 (2013)
(a) Jousting is the State sport.
(b) Lacrosse is the State team sport.