Hear ye, hear ye.Let the battle commence.The tournament hath begun.Armored men and women squared off against each other Saturday morning, striking their opponents with staffs, swords and axes.Some parried attacks with weapons, others with shields.Fortunately, all the combatants were well padded, and all the weapons blunted.The annual Society for Creative Anachronism toy and money drive took place Saturday at The Zone in Jefferson City.About 200 people participated in the effort to gather toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots campaign. The society’s local chapter, known as the Shire of Wyvern Cliffs, has collaborated with The Zone now for two consecutive years, according to Stefanie Payne. The shire has partnered with Toys for Tots for more than 30 years, she said.”This event was very near and dear to the hearts of a couple of our older members,” Payne said. “We decided to help out the kids in the community. It’s grown from a donation of maybe 200-300 toys to anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 toys.”Everyone who attends the tournament is asked to contribute either $5 in cash or a new unwrapped toy valued at at least $5. Most bring much more.Several years ago, one participant brought in about 100 toys, which colleagues had donated in an office where he works. That led to other tournament competitors getting their workplaces involved.Soon the organizers were presenting small awards to the competitors who brought in the most toys.Last year, the tournament generated 2,300 toys and $600.The Marine Corps Reserve used the cash in 2021 to purchase toys for age groups who hadn’t been well represented through toy donations, Payne said.By 11 a.m. Saturday, organizers had received 1,495 toy donations.And the building began to bustle.”Logan and Ylva” held court Saturday in Jefferson City.”Their majesties have opened court today so that any time they feel that there is something worthwhile going on on our tournament fields, they’ll be able to grant awards and not have to open court,” Payne said.Logan, as is the tradition within the wyvern, earned the right to rule by winning a tournament, she said.The event featured four tournament “fields” this year — combat arenas defined by rail fencing, which was also new this year.Payne explained that tournaments usually use the portable fences, but because use of the Zone was new last year, organizers wanted to get a feel for the space (and see how much room was available) before bringing in more equipment.And bring in more, organizers did.Logan and Ylva sat on thrones alongside the center of the fields. Their court surrounded them. And surrounding the fields were the supporters of the combatants. They brought medieval-style seating and rugs.Each participant was required to use rugs, blankets and other cushioning materials to protect the floors inside the building.Mark Lieurance, of Jefferson City, said he’s been involved in the society for 42 years. His main focus has been “heavy fighting.” Lieurance said he suffered an injury about a month ago and continued to heal, so he wasn’t participating in the competitions Saturday. However, he did act as a marshal — monitoring the fights to assure they adhere to safety standards.Tournaments included archery, cut and thrust (fencing), and armored (heavy fighting). The event included classes for youths and novices.”When you’re out there fighting and the adrenaline is rushing, sometimes somebody’s knee-cup will fall off,” he said. “Well, knees are required to be covered. A marshal is there to stop the fighting.”It could be anything that causes a marshal to stop the fighting, he continued. He’s even seen children run onto the field because their parent was in battle.Carter Roberts of Jefferson City, a hardware manager for Menards who recently retired from the National Guard, said he enjoys the sport.”It’s really fun to put on armor and go out there and hit each other with sticks,” Roberts said. “We have these tournaments, but we also sometimes have giant battles, with sometimes hundreds of people on each side. It’s pretty impressive to look across a field and see 600 people who all want to hit you. When they’re running at you, you really can feel the ground shaking. It’s pretty epic.” Eileen Wisniowicz/News Tribune photo: Amy Dyke fixes her husband Court’s collar on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022 at the Zone in Jefferson City. The Dykes participated in the Society for Creative Anachronism Medieval Tournament where Court fought in the cut and thrust tourney. The Dykes are from Kansas which is one of five state that are a part of the Shire of Wyvern Cliffe. Eileen Wisniowicz/News Tribune photo: Dustin Scheerer practices sword fighting with his son Daniel, 7, during the Society for Creative Anachronism Medieval Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022 at the Zone in Jefferson City. The SCA started a junior league for medieval-style fighting a few years ago using pool noodles as swords. Eileen Wisniowicz/News Tribune photo: Armored fighters Orren Prohaska, left, and Carter Roberts compete during the armored tourney on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022 at the Zone in Jefferson City. Both are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism which held a toy drive for Toys for Tots. Eileen Wisniowicz/News Tribune photo: Andrew Ligon puts gear on to turn into his Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) character Helmut on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022 at the Zone in Jefferson City. Ligon was a part of the Medieval Tournament hosted by the SCA. Participants could enter competitions from archery to armored fighting. Eileen Wisniowicz/News Tribune photo: Guenevere Lehman adds toys to the toy drive during the Society for Creative Anachronism Medieval Tournament’s Toys for Tots drive. The Shire of Wyvern Cliffe, which spans five states, asked members to bring toys in order to gain entry. In past years, the result of this has been 2,000 toys or more raised for Toys for Tots.
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