The King and Queens Thrown Weapons Champion Tournament was hosted by Panther Vale and run over a 2 day period with Saturday and Sunday morning giving would-be competitors up to 3 chances to register a straight 24 throw royal round score. 25 people put in approximately 50 royal round scores total to vie for the titles. The top 16 competitors were then asked whether they would, if victor or chosen, be willing to take the honor and roll of either Queen’s or King’s champion. Everyone competing answered in the affirmative.
The tournament was broken in to 4 rounds. The first two rounds were conducted as a head-to-head competition at “the wall”. The wall consists of 9 sequential progressively smaller targets placed at varying heights on a 5’ wide by 8’ tall plank wall. This is designed to challenge not only a contestant’s aim but their ability to make range adjustments under pressure. The first 6 targets had a bonus area allowing a competitor to skip the next target if hit. Wall rounds consist of two phases (one axe, one knife), with the first round thrown at short distance (10’ minimum). In the event that competitors split the phases, the victor is decided by a “spear-off”; a crowd favorite consisting of another head to head challenge of first competitor to hit the central 10” target with a spear at 20’. The remaining 8 competitors went to round 2 at the wall where they were allowed to choose short or long distance throws. Every competitor chose long distance (20’ minimum). The rallying cry at the wall was “NOT ZERO” which became a crowd cheer.
Round 3 saw 4 competitors (Matteo Genovese, Kazimierz of Carolingia, Symon of Barnsdale, and Jesse of BBM) . The premise was another head-to-head competition. Two targets were brought out with X’s marked. Each competitor was to throw two of each weapon type (axe, knife, and spear) at short range with each score measured in inches from the center of the target. The goal was to measure consistency. A miss was scored as an 11. After each pair of throws, competitors switched targets to negate any inconsistencies in the target faces. After 12 throws, the measurements were totaled and the lowest advanced to the finals. The rallying cry from rounds 1 and 2 had to be modified to, “NOT NOT ZERO!”.
If round 3 was measured in inches, round 4 was measured in feet. Given that our former Queen’s champion has pre-SCA experience with javelin, the challenge was accuracy over distance. The format was simple. The Queen’s champion, Bryon de Burgh cast a spear at a distance of his choice, which due to range limitations was about 70’. The finalist were to cast their spears as close to as possible to the set mark and their distances recorded. A competitor’s distance was reduced by a foot if they also managed to get their spear to stick in the ground. After Bryon, Her Majesty then cast Her spear, the distances recorded, and finally His Majesty placed the mark. Though close, the ultimate victor and new Queen’s champion went to Matteo Genovese.
King’s Champion is awarded by proclamation, with His Majesty giving consideration to not only performance of the 16 competitors, but comportment, spirit, and sportsmanship. From this writer’s perspective, this presented a challenge for His Majesty as every competitor brought their best game and competed with honor and great fellowship. In the end and after considerable deliberation, the honor was awarded to Þórormr Barnakarl. The deer in the headlight look was priceless but the honor well deserved.
The Gazette thanks Syr Cedric of Thanet for sharing this perspective on the competition.