Handshake assembled a posse of our meanest members and sent them down to the Ragnarok XXV event in western Pennsylvania. Here, they suspended their disbelief until they found themselves stuck somewhere between the Middle Ages and Middle Earth. They crossed cloth-taped swords with 1,358 of America’s best foam blade slingers in an event that is equal parts renaissance fair and Jerry Springer episode.
The Gestiguiste, a unit who fights in the Dagorhir (pronounced “Dagger-here”) Battle Games, welcomed Handshake with open tents and sheathed swords. Hailing from as far as Washington, DC, Michigan and Florida, these historic fantasy buffs practice year-round for their equivalent of the Super Bowl. The only rule: “Have fun.” The only other rule: “Tent is consent.” We never figured out if that was a promise or threat, but Editor Matt Millham slept with his flail just to be sure.
Be sure to check out the Stick Jockeys photo essay in the September issue of Handshake.