Tournament Season begins as it ended, with a parade. In the Southern Shires, the spring grass is apple green and the infield lake is cobalt blue. After long winter days and nights of indoor practice and tight quarters, the expansive Southern fields  teem with nearly every inhabitant of the Land of Velocity. Though large  crowds are assembled, the first minute of the first day of the new season begins in total silence. No one is seated and all strain their ears for the sound that signals the beginning of a new year. Everyone wants to be the first to hear the thud of a carbon fiber-shod hoof on the earth, followed by the creak of leather, rattle of armor and the thundering cadence of a war steed at full gallop.

The crowd is breathless until that first fan, on the highest vantage point, spots the tip of the Champion's Banner coming through the tunnel gate. A single cry sets off the pent up cheers and whoops of the waiting crowd as the enormous checkered Champion's Banner comes into view. Streamers top this flowing symbol of victory - each one bearing the name and year of past champions. The current champion and his ride pound into full view and circle the arena to generous accolades. Some fans are sorry to see his reign end while others anticipate their favorite will win this year.

February 18, 2011
Although it’s not spring by calendar reckoning, Speedweek at Daytona always signals the rebirth of jousting season. For Daytona native, Lady Alexandra “Alli” of Owens, February 2011 has been a time of magic and nerves as she anticipates her debut in the Camping World Steed Series during Speedweek.

For this plucky brown-haired athlete, “Alli’s Daytona Dream” started in 2010 when she lost sponsorship and found herself without a ride for 2011. Having been a fearless competitor since the age of 8, this presented a challenge but certainly not defeat for the 22 year old maiden.

With the determination that saw her through years of battling the boys on dirt and asphalt, young Lady Alli went out to find new sponsors. Local Daytona businesses and organizations were soon signed up but she still needed to raise a bit more capital to fund the steed. That’s when her faithful fans stepped up.

“It’s amazing that in such a short period of time everything has come together like it has,” said Owens. “I went to Twitter and Facebook and put the word out there that we needed help. Almost immediately we had people jumping on board. It’s been humbling, and I’m so truly grateful for the businesses and fans who have helped me.”
The Land of Velocity is proud to be one of Alli’s fan sponsors. As Official Court Artist, Lady Ann’s name joins other supporters etched on the rear armor of the #76 Ray Hackett Racing Steed.

“I’m really honored to race for the city of Daytona Beach, the local IBEW and NECA chapters, Mullinax Ford and my family in the area,” said Owens. “Growing up, the Daytona International Speedway meant everything to me. It still does, and I’m ready to make a successful NASCAR debut there. It’s going to be a special day.”
Bravo Lady Alli! You are a role model to the little maidens of Velocity and beyond.

March 3, 2011
The 2010 Champion will be honored at the start of Speedweek with a traditional Champion’s Parade. Sir James of Johnson’s celebration will duplicate his 2009 win, which was the image of his 2008 win which mirrored his initial 2007 win. Congratulations Sir James !

March 1, 2008

In a reprise of 2006, Sir James of Johnson won the 2007 title of Royal Jousting Champion. He now faces the new season with aspirations of capturing three titles in a row. Of course, Sir James will meet stiff competition from the other knights, especially Sir Dale Jr. of Earnhardt, who has recently shifted his allegiance to the House of Hendrick. Sir Junior electrified the crowd by winning the Budded Shoot Meet in the first spring joust by the shores of the Great Southern Lake.


"WHITE TENT OF JUDGMENT"

As the new season began, jousting fans were also treated to a moving victory when Sir Ryan of Newman won his first Daytona Meet. And if that wasn’t enough excitement, Sir Smoke and Sir Kurt tangled in the practice paddocks. These high-strung competitors were immediately called  to the dreaded White Tent of Judgment. Tent flaps quivered as heated words were exchanged and it is rumored that an actual blow was struck - in the Tent! Fans were simultaneously shocked and thrilled at such passion. With due haste, a white falcon carried the message of infractions to the exalted RACiSAN.  Penalties will certainly follow.

March 10, 2007 New Season Parade
After his solo lap, Sir James of Johnson and his gray Percheron, Charlotte, took their final honored position beneath the King's box as a raucous parade entered the grounds. Team hauler wagons pulled by the sturdy Suffolk Punch and Belgian  draft horses parked in formation along one sideline. Vendor wagons and refreshment caravans, freshly painted in a crayon box rainbow of colors lined up on fan row. They quickly erected linen tents and filled the air with  flags and pennants while preparing their wares for sale. The pages and squires set up camps on pit road. The newest youngsters were both excited and overwhelmed with the crowds and the responsibilities to their knights.

Lastly, the knights galloped onto the field, to the loudest cheers of all. Their families rode a variety of mounts. Friesians or Arabians were the ladies choices, while the children were mounted on ponies and the teen aged girls on unicorns.  Some of the mothers and grandparents rode in rose-festooned pony carts.

Of great interest this year is the introduction of the Asian Yawata Horses. These ancient Samurai warhorses are new to the competitions and will be watched closely. In parade, they remained balanced between spirit and steadiness. The oriental sculpting of mane and braiding of tails was  unfamiliar but not unattractive. How well they perform remains to be seen.

When all were assembled, the bearded Pastor John of Carteret asked a blessing and protection for the new season. The local children of the Southern Shires sang the Ballad of Velocity. The falconers loosed a pair of hawks to fly over the crowd. And, thus, a new season of merry joust has begun in the Land of Velocity.

The Prince of Crew    
© 2005 Ann Boyer LePere    

THE PORTRAITS:
Citizens of Velocity

The Prince of Crew
Lady Wendy of Venturini
Tournaments of August
Viewing Yon Qualifying
Squire Alex of Kennedy
The Rookie Knight
Squire Gannon of Hollywood
Pocono Flag Maiden
Thanks, Dad
The Dream
Lady with a Squirrel
The Page
Squire Coleman of Dollarhide
Zoey's Tapestry
Thanks, Mom
Squire Lizzy
The Earl of Peletier
Mystery Squire
Rockingham Royalty
Tournaments 4 U
Champions

   

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