Fair maidens and gallant knights have been riding in the Calvert County Jousting Tournament for 139 years.

But there never was a joust quite like the one last weekend, when ESPN descended on Port Republic -- with a half-dozen trailers and a small army of production staff members -- to record the event as part of its series highlighting a sport in each state.

"Time to mount up for Maryland!" exclaimed ESPN anchor Matt Winer from a makeshift studio on the side of the tournament field. Enthralled fans of the cable channel later rushed to get his autograph.

But the fans also drew a rebuke from tournament organizers. "You may not wave your hands for the camera," a voice announced on the loudspeaker. "It disturbs the horses."

The other big difference at this year's tournament was a light drizzle. Former state senator C. Bernard Fowler, 81, said it has never rained at any of the tournaments he has religiously attended since he was 5 years old.

None of that probably mattered, though, to the winner of the tournament's professional class: Vance Leighty, aka the Knight of Well Water.


Riders in the Calvert County Jousting Tournament prepare to parade last weekend. Anthony Reinhold on J.D., below left, was third among novices. Below right, Hunter Woodson joins in a group prayer.