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.
-- AMIT R. PALEY