Weapons were drawn and challenges were thrown down last Saturday at Emmett Kelly Park in Houston.
During a gathering of the Wing of the Fire Dragon Club, people of both genders and many ages faced off in mock Medieval combat while dressed in period-correct attire. The club is part of Amtgard, an worldwide organization based on Medieval “boffer” combat and live action role playing.
“Each of us takes on a different persona, like a wizard or assassin,” said Wing of the Fire Dragon club regent Dustin Postlewait. “My persona right now is a barbarian. We wear costumes that fit our persona, and use character names, too. Like my name is ‘Valec.’”
Amtgard has chapters in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Croatia and South Korea. Wing of the Fire Dragon is one of 16 clubs in the Kingdom of Tal Dagore, which covers all of Missouri and small parts of Illinois and Arkansas.
Last weekend’s gathering drew about 20 people in costume, some from a neighboring club in Rolla. Wing of the Fire Dragon was formed about a year ago and meets twice a week (Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m.) under the guidance of club “Sheriff” Janet McGrath (a.k.a. “Ezra”).
Postlewait said gatherings are open to anyone who enjoys fantasy of any variety, not just Medieval times.
“If you like superheroes, Star Trek or Lord of the Rings, it works,” he said. “You can do anything; there are Star Trek people who come and pretend they’ve been transported to an alternate universe.
“But for me, it’s a blast to hang out with like-minded people who enjoy fantasy. Plus, for an old guy like me, it’s the most fun cardio workout you’ll ever do.”
Participants create their own outfits and make their own soft “boffer” weapons.”
“The clothes we wear are not something bought at the store,” Postlewait said. “We make everything ourselves, and it’s fun to involve that kind of creativity.”
The Wing of the Fire Dragon Club will host a three-day regional event May 24-26 at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds. Postlewait said activities and attractions will include team-oriented “battle games” (such as “Goblin Ball,” which is basically soccer with weapons), fencing tournaments, an archery tournament, live music and a period-correct feast.
“We really want to have a big event in this part of the state, because they’re usually in Columbia or St. Louis. Postlewait said. “That’s quite a drive for someone from Joplin or this area.
The event will begin at 3 p.m. Friday (May 24) and run until noon Sunday (May 26). The public can attend for free and food will be available for a fee.
“There’s a slogan that says ‘this is not the Middle Ages as it was, but as it should be,’” Postlewait said. “We kind of go by that here; it’s not like Tolkein fantasy where everyone is repressed, this is where everyone is equal.
“It’s a lot of fun.”
To learn more about the local Amtgard club or the big May event, go online to the Wing of the Fire Dragon club’s Facebook page. More about Amtgard can be found at www.amtgard.com and a map of all venues on Earth that host Amtgard gatherings can be found at www.ork3.com.