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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Joust do it

    UA alumna Megan Stivler creates narrow-weave trim on a tablet weaver Sunday during the Dragons Horde event held at Himmel Park. The use of tablet weaving dates from the Viking era to the 17th century. The fantasy-armored tournament was held by the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
    UA alumna Megan Stivler creates narrow-weave trim on a tablet weaver Sunday during the Dragon’s Horde event held at Himmel Park. The use of tablet weaving dates from the Viking era to the 17th century. The fantasy-armored tournament was held by the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

    Slaughtering dragons, fighting to be king, tempting knights with favors -all dead with the coming of the 17th century? Not quite.

    Tucson is home to a thriving local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, known as the Barony of Tir Ysgithr, a group that devotes itself to medieval re-enactment. The group held its annual “”Dragon’s Horde”” festival Saturday and Sunday at Himmel Park.

    Dragon’s Horde is an annual event during which dragons and other fantasy monsters exist. People gather for the center ring of attraction: jousting tournaments, in which a brave knight is pitted against a fierce dragon. A dragon is created by tethering six people together, with one of them designated as the head. A knight can only slay the dragon by attacking the head. Participants wear plenty of armor and protective padding, and jousting weapons are made with a bamboo-like wood and covered with electrical tape. Youth participants use PVC pipe covered with foam rubber and duct tape.

    The SCA is not just a group that plans events; it is a family. When SCA member Uncle Fergie, aka Curt Booth, an administrative secretary in the electrical and computer engineering department at the UA, decided to move, he e-mailed everyone in the group asking for help. By 8 the next morning, more than 35 people had shown up at his house.

    “”It’s a great way to make new friends,”” said Bryn O’Grady, whose modern name is Kassy Rodeheaver, a family studies and human development junior who is also the president of the UA’s SCA chapter, known as the College of St. Felix. She said the camaraderie of the group is a reason to keep coming back.

    “”The people are really nice,”” she said. “”If you need to know anything, they’ll always help.””

    Tucson’s Barony is part of the larger kingdom of Atenveldt, which encompasses the state of Arizona. Atenveldt means “”land of the sun.”” The SCA, a nonprofit organization, consists of 19 self-contained kingdoms worldwide with more than 35,000 paid members, according to Duchess Katerina O’Callaghan, a veterinary office receptionist whose modern name is Katie Richardson.

    “”It started 40 years ago when a medieval-themed going-away party went horribly awry and is still lasting today,”” said Uncle Fergie. He said that feminist science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of “”The Mists of Avalon,”” coined the name.

    “”The organization is supposed to be an attempt at recreating the Middle Ages,”” said Duchess O’Callaghan. The SCA focuses on the period from the fall of Rome to A.D. 1600.

    Members are not required to pay dues, but one cannot hold office or compete in crown/coronet tournaments without a paid membership. Levels of membership range in cost from $10 to $35. The only stipulation for participation is a costume, which one can either make or buy. According to Duchess O’Callaghan, the average price to make a costume is $50, but store-bought outfits can cost around $150.

    Duchess O’Callaghan stressed that the SCA is not affiliated with the Renaissance Fair in any way.

    “”It’s not a ‘Ren Fair,'”” she said. “”People think we’re the Renaissance Fair. The Ren Fair is a for-profit, entertainment business. The people at a Ren Fair are being paid to be there and entertain you. We are a nonprofit recreation group. It’s participatory.””

    Interested in joining the SCA family? UA students can easily join by becoming a member of the College of St. Felix which meets every first and third Tuesday of the month in the Mesquite Room of the Student Union Memorial Center. The college held a silk banner-painting class in the past and sponsors belly dancing classes every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Modern Languages building, room 350.

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