Two students from the Schulich School of Engineering are attempting to invent a new sport by reimagining the medieval game of jousting.
Typically relegated to renaissance fairs, jousting hasn’t had a lot of success in the last 700 years. Hoping to change that, the two university students intend to add a Canadian twist.
“Just imagine it,” Ethan, one of the co-founders said, “two moose charging at each other, huge antlers clashing. Riders knocking each other off with lances. It’ll be epic.”
John and Ethan, who requested their last names be withheld for fear their domestic cervid farm licence would be revoked, purchased two moose from a tourist farm that recently filed for bankruptcy.
The moose cost $4,500 each and John and Ethan spent almost $15,000 to bring the fences, gates and handling facilities up to code on Ethan’s Innisfail family ranch in order to receive their licence.
“It hasn’t been cheap,” Ethan said, who sold his truck to help finance the venture. “But we’re confident we’ll recover the costs with ticket sales. I mean, it’s going to be the best sport in Canada. Everyone will want to come watch.”
In the interview, Ethan demonstrated disregard for the financial consequences of building a business around a potentially endangered and unintelligent animal.
“This enterprise has drained my entire life savings,” Ethan said. “Everything I have is riding on the success of this sport,” he added in a great situation-specific pun.
Safety is, of course, John and Ethan’s top priority.
“I’ve maxed out my credit card buying all kinds of protective gear,” Ethan said. “We’ve got hockey gear, lacrosse gear and downhill mountain biking gear. Right now the best combination we think is lacrosse gear with a hockey helmet — it’s got that plastic visor.”
While John and Ethan are still determining what rules moose jousting will have, they said the sport will be a combination of traditional jousting and rodeo bull riding.
“The main rules of jousting apply,” John said. “Each rider is given three lances and they receive points for breaking the lance on the opponent’s chest or head. They win if they knock their opponent off the moose. Balancing a lance on the moose’s antlers would net the rider a penalty.”
A time limit will also be imposed. Within the given amount of time, a rider must strike their opponent with their lance. If they get bucked off the moose or fail to connect with the opponent before the timer runs out, they will lose a point.
“We haven’t decided how much time,” John said. “Eight seconds seems a little short.”
Both students think the chance of moose jousting being recognized as a sport are pretty good.
When asked what their greatest challenge is right now, they said it was getting the moose to joust.
“They don’t want to fight,” John said. “We get all armoured up but the moose just don’t want to do anything.”
John said they may only be able to host moose jousting in the fall during mating season.
“Unless our moose have been neutered,” Ethan added. “I guess we haven’t checked.”