Full Metal Jousting

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Full Metal Jousting
Full Metal Jousting ad from History Channel.jpg
Genre Reality
Directed by Adam Vetri
Presented by Shane Adams
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10
Executive producer(s) Craig Piligian
Ralph Wikke
Mitch Rosa
Producer(s) Johnny Bell
Rita Doumar
Production location(s) Jackson, Mississippi
Camera setup multiple-camera setup
Running time 44:22
Production company(s) Pilgrim Films & Television
Original network History Channel
Original release February 12 (2012-02-12) – April 15, 2012 (2012-04-15)
External links

Full Metal Jousting was an American reality game show that debuted on the History Channel on February 12, 2012 as a pay per view for 30$. The show featured 16 contestants, split into two teams of eight, competing in full-contact competitive jousting, a combat sport developed by host Shane Adams since the late 1990s. One by one, the contestants are eliminated until only one remains. That contestant receives a $100,000 grand prize.


Each episode features full-contact jousts in which competitors charge each other on horseback and collide at around 30 miles per hour. Unlike choreographed jousting familiar to many from dinner theater entertainment, Full Metal Jousting features authentic competitive jousting.


The armor worn by contestants was designed using 14 gauge stainless steel (0.0781 inches, 1.98 mm) and modern padding materials. The design is based on 16th-century German jousting armor, notably using a steel plate attached to the left shoulder used as a target, called "gridded grand guard" in the show (translating the historical term gegitterte Tartsche[1]).

The weight of a suit of armor is given as 80 to 90 pounds in the show, corresponding to the weight of historical armor for 16th-century stechen (but heavier than medieval plate armor designed for warfare).[2]

The lances used are 11 feet (3.4 m) long, weighing about 10 lb (4.5 kg), made of Douglas fir. Two types of lances were used, a lighter variant with a diameter of 1.25 inches (3.2 cm), and a heavier variant with a diameter of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).

Tournament rules[edit]

The group of 16 competitors is split up into two teams: Red Team, coached by Ripper Moore, and Black Team, coached by Rod Walker. The order of team selection and control of the first preliminary joust was awarded based on a joust between the assistant coach of each team. The assistant coach for the black team, Jeremy Oneail, won the initial joust.

During the preliminary jousts, the coach of the team which won the previous joust has "joust control" and picks which two competitors will joust next, one from each team. Each jouster's coach then chooses the horse that their team jouster will use, with the coach of the previous winner's team having first priority.

During quarterfinal jousts, the competitors are placed into a single-elimination tournament bracket, determined by the host and coaches. Each jouster picks their own horse from a larger pool of available horses, with priority given to the jouster with the highest score in their winning preliminary joust. The winner of each joust advances to the next round, while the loser is eliminated.

If a competitor is chosen for a joust but sustains an injury during practice, his coach chooses another team member to take his place. The injured competitor may return to his team once he has been medically cleared. If a competitor withdraws or is disqualified for any reason, one of the defeated jousters is reinstated, with host Shane Adams and the team coaches making the decision. The reinstated jouster is assigned to the same team as the one who leaves the competition.

Joust rules[edit]

The mode of the joust is based on the historical Plankengestech (also Realgestech), a type of stechen which was introduced ca. 1530. Planke ("plank") is the term for the barrier separating the combatants (historically known as the tilt[3] in English, called the "list" in the show[4]). Special armor designed for this mode of tournament were used from the 1560s.

Each joust consists of eight passes down the list. For the first four passes, the lances are 1.25 inches thick. For the remaining passes (including any tie-breaking passes) the lances are increased to 1.5 inches, which are more likely to unseat a jouster. If the lances hit tip to tip, the pass is re-run.

Points are awarded as follows:

  • 1 point for striking the opponent with the lance tip
  • 5 points for a strike that breaks the lance
  • 10 points for unhorsing the opponent

In order for a jouster to score, his lance must make contact with the opponent's gridded grand guard (the steel plate bolted to the left shoulder).

A 5-point penalty is assessed for any of the following infractions:

  • Failing to release the horse's reins before impact. This rule is intended to protect the horse from the wrenching impact of two jousters colliding. Two such infractions during one joust will result in the jouster being disqualified and removed from the competition.
  • Striking the opponent too far below the gridded grand guard or in the helmet
  • Failing to control the horse during the pass; for example, if the horse stops, walks, or veers away from the list instead of charging. This is known as a balk.

The first 40 feet at each end of the list is designated as the "red zone." If any contact occurs while either competitor is in the red zone, no points are awarded and the pass is re-run. Should a competitor feel that he cannot complete a pass for any reason, he may ask for forgiveness by pointing his lance straight upward before leaving his own red zone. The opponent may either grant the request (by raising his own lance) or attempt an uncontested strike; the latter action is frowned upon by the teams and coaches as poor sportsmanship, though.

If a horse is injured or becomes exceedingly difficult to control, the jouster may call for a substitute. A coach who believes his player's armor has become damaged or dislodged may call for a "safety hold." The judges then inspect the equipment; if they agree with the call, the remainder of the match is delayed until any needed repairs are done.

At the end of eight complete passes, the player with the most points wins. In the event of a tie score, additional passes are run until there is a clear winner. If at any time a competitor cannot complete the joust, they are disqualified and the remaining player is declared the victor. In the event a player is unhorsed, they are given a brief medical check by on-site medical professionals, after which they have two minutes to return to their horse and be ready to joust. Failure to do so results in elimination by knockout, regardless of the score at that point.


Full Metal Jousting aired its first season (10 episodes) from February to April 2012. The first season was filmed over 38 days in October and November 2011 at Providence Hill Farm in Jackson, Mississippi.[5][6][7]

A grand prize of $100,000 was awarded to the tournament winner. However, in Season 1, Episode 4 it was revealed that a $25,000 prize would be awarded as well. In the finale, each team chose one of its eliminated members to compete head-to-head for this additional prize.

Season one casting[edit]

Casting for the first season began in the summer of 2011 with a casting deadline of July 20, 2011.[8] Candidates were required to be at least 21 years of age, proficient in horseback riding, and a resident or citizen of the United States of America.[9]

Around 600 people, including both men and women,[10][11] applied. 30 applicants were accepted to a week-long boot camp led by the host, Shane Adams, at the end of which the producers and host eventually settled on the final 16 competitors,[12][13] aged between 23 and 43. Out of those 16 competitors, five were theatrical jousters working at Medieval Times and another six were professional horsemen (trainers or sportsmen).[14]

Season one contestants[edit]

Contestant Occupation / background Team           Eliminated          
Landon Morris
27, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Auctioneer Black Team Disqualified[note 1]
Brian Tulk
43, San Tan Valley, AZ
Firefighter and paramedic Black Team Injured[note 2]
Mike Edwards[note 3]
40, Las Vegas, NV
United States Marine Corps veteran, bartender, stuntman Red
1st & 7th
Preliminary Jousts
Jack Mathis
31, Dallas, TX
Theatrical jouster Black Team 2nd Preliminary Joust
Joseph McKinley
29, Woodland Hills, CA
Professional horseman and horse trainer Black Team 3rd & 8th
Preliminary Jousts
John Stikes
28, Atlanta, GA
Theatrical jouster Red Team 4th Preliminary Joust
David Prewitt
25, Klamath Falls, OR
United States Marine Corps veteran, MMA fighter Red Team 5th Preliminary Joust
Tom Conant
25, Hilmar, CA
Professional horse trainer and polo player Black Team 6th Preliminary Joust
Paul Suda
26, Los Angeles, CA
Professional horse trainer[15] RedTeam Quarterfinals
Rope Myers
41, Van, TX
World champion steer wrestler, 2002 Olympic gold medalist[16] Black Team Quarterfinals
$25,000 Winner
James Fairclough
25, Newton, NJ
Professional show jumper Red Team Quarterfinals
Nathan Klassen
33, Broken Arrow, OK
Professional bull rider and horse trainer Red Team Quarterfinals
Jake Nodar
33, West Hollywood, CA
Professional horse trainer Red Team Semifinals
Josh Avery
23, Myrtle Beach, SC
Theatrical jouster Red Team Semifinals
Matt Hiltman
24, Atlanta, GA
Theatrical jouster Black Team Finals
Joshua Knowles
28, Myrtle Beach, SC
Theatrical jouster Black Team $100,000 Winner
  1. ^ Landon Morris was forced to leave the competition in episode five for breaching the show's "zero tolerance to animal cruelty" policy by punching a horse during practice.
  2. ^ Brian Tulk injured his groin muscle in episode six and voluntarily left the competition.
  3. ^ Mike Edwards was initially on the Red Team but switched to the Black Team in episode six to replace Brian Tulk, who left due to injury.


No. Title Original air date
1"The Ultimate Extreme Sport"February 12, 2012 (2012-02-12)
16 of the world's toughest riders test their strength, skill and guts as they compete in the most dangerous sport in history. The competitors experience the first big hits of the competition and two face off in the first joust match up.
2"Unhorsed"February 19, 2012 (2012-02-19)
John calls out Rope, the Black Team #1 pick. After a brutal hit to the face in practice, one jouster may be heading to the injury list. And two competitors face off in the list in the second preliminary joust.
3"Death Sticks & a Coffin"February 26, 2012 (2012-02-26)
Red Team tries an unusual training technique to help prevent unhorsings, while dissension grows in their ranks. With skill levels improving, two jousters battle it out in the hardest-hitting joust yet.
4"Blood and Guts"March 4, 2012 (2012-03-04)
A brutal shot in practice sends a competitor to the hospital, leaving a teammate to joust in his place. Shane reveals a surprising twist in the competition.
5"Hits Like a Truck"March 11, 2012 (2012-03-11)
A frustrated jouster has second thoughts, and asks Shane to grant him his release. A member of the Black Team violates the rules of the competition and is sent home, forcing Shane to choose an eliminated jouster as his replacement. Then, one of the most dominant riders in the house finally takes to the list in the fifth preliminary joust.
6"Ready to Rock"March 18, 2012 (2012-03-18)
A practice turns ugly as two jousters are sent to the hospital with gruesome injuries. After another injury in training forces a jouster to pull out of the competition, Shane and the coaches are forced to pick his replacement, and their decision does not sit well with either team.
7"A Killing Machine"March 25, 2012 (2012-03-25)
Having overcome a concussion, James finally gets a chance to joust. Two of the remaining eight competitors face off for a shot at the final four.
8"Go to War"April 1, 2012 (2012-04-01)
Three jousts in one episode as the quarterfinals come to a close. Only four warriors will survive and advance to the semifinals, one step closer to the championship!
9"Charge On"April 8, 2012 (2012-04-08)
Only four jousters remain. Jake Nodar tries to continue his surprise run as he faces tough as nails Matt Hiltman. And friends Josh Avery and Josh Knowles battle it out with a spot in the Championship Joust on the line.
10"The Championship Joust"April 15, 2012 (2012-04-15)
The teams are forced to choose who will face off in the $25,000 Joust, followed by the final joust. After weeks of pressure and pain only one warrior will survive and be the first champion of Full Metal Jousting.

Episode descriptions are the official descriptions from The History Channel.[17]

Season one preliminary jousts[edit]

  1. ^ Mike Edwards replaced Brian Tulk who left the competition due to injury. As Tulk was from the Black team, Edwards was required to switch from the Red to the Black team.
  2. ^ Joe McKinley replaced Landon Morris who was disqualified for mistreatment of his horse.

Season one tournament bracket[edit]

After the preliminary jousting completed, three players from the Black team and five players from the Red team advanced into the quarterfinals. The host and coaches decided the quarterfinal match-up, and the rest of the season continued as a single-elimination tournament.

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
 Black  Myers 18
Red Avery 19
Red Avery 22
Black Knowles 23
Black Knowles 25
Red Suda 14
Black[1] Knowles 17
 Black  Hiltman 16
Red Fairclough 7
Red[2] Nodar 11
Red Nodar 1
 Black  Hiltman 22
Black Hiltman 3
Red Klassen 2

^1 Since both players were from the Black team, for visual clarity during this match Knowles' score was designated as Gold.
^2 Since both players were from the Red team, for visual clarity during this match Nodar's score was designated as Silver.

Season one $25,000 joust[edit]

In Season 1, Episode 4 it was revealed there would also be a $25,000 prize awarded. Each team was asked to nominate one member of their team, not already in the finals, who would compete prior to the final joust.

The Black team decided on two players they felt deserved to be in the $25,000 joust, Rope Meyers and Jack Mathis. For their final decision they had a coin toss. The coach for the Black Team, Rod Walker, was asked to flip a coin, and prior to the coin toss Jack Mathis was asked to call it; he chose "tails". The toss was "heads", and Rope Meyers was in the $25,000 joust for the Black Team.

The Red team decided to hold a secret ballot. There were two votes for David Prewitt, two votes for Josh Avery, and three votes for John Stikes who would now face Rope Meyes in the $25,000 joust for the Red Team.

Rope Meyers won the $25,000 joust with a score of 6 to 2.

$25,000 Joust
 Black  Meyers 6
Red Stikes 2


The show premiered on February 12, 2012 to a total of 1.9 million viewers.[18] The numbers since the premiere have been stable, ranging from 1.2 million viewers[19] to 1.7 million viewers.[20] The finale was reported to have drawn 1.44M viewers for a .5 share.[21]


Full Metal Jousting is produced by Pilgrim Studios, which conducted a casting search via its website. Future casting calls would have reportedly been posted to the same site if the show was renewed, which it was not.


  1. ^ also Gittertartsche, Stechtartsche, Brechschild, of jousting armor of the mid-to-late 16th century, see e.g. "Harnisch zum Plankengestech mit Gittertartsche (Inv.-Nr. HJRK_A_685)". Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Retrieved Apr 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Full Metal Jousting - History of Jousting". History. Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ Karin N. Mango, Armor: yesterday and today, 1980, ISBN 9780671340155, p. 76.
  4. ^ Middle English list means "border, edge". Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe (1819) uses the term in a jousting context, not of the barrier, but of the fence separating the tiltyard from the spectators.
  5. ^ Kiesewetter, John (February 17, 2012). "History Channel's new 'Full Metal Jousting' filmed in Miss". Clarion Ledger. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Full Metal Jousting: Episode 1 Recap". MedievalArchives.com. February 15, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ Partain, Kyle (March 3, 2012). "ProRodeo cowboys sign on for Full Metal Jousting". Bridle & Bit. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ Parisi, Paula (June 22, 2011). "Now, Warrior!". The Equestrian News. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  9. ^ "History casting horseback riders to JOUST for $100,000". Pilgrim Studios. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ Abraham, Lois (April 6, 2012). "Full Metal Jousting marks renaissance of extreme sport". TheRecord.com. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ Skinner, Jess (April 12, 2012). "Full Metal Jousting". Toro Magazine. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  12. ^ Abraham, Lois (April 4, 2012). "Living the dream of being knight in shining armour". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Going Full Tilt with Full Metal Jousting Contestant Jake Nodar". EquiSearch. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  14. ^ history.com website
  15. ^ also appeared as "18th-century weapons expert" in Deadliest Warrior, season 3 episode 23 (2011)
  16. ^ "Olympics rodeo is back! February 9–11, 2002 at Salt Lake City, rodeo enters the Olympic arena again in an event called the Cultural Olympiad Rodeo." "Steer Wrestling: Trav Cadwell, Oakdale, Calif.; Jason Lahr, Emporia, Kan.; Jeff Babek, Granite, Okla.; Rope Myers, Van, Texas, and Bryan Fields, Conroe, Texas." (2002 Salt Lake City Olympics To Include Rodeo)
  17. ^ "Full Metal Jousting - Episode Guide". The History Channel. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Full Metal Jousting Premieres to 1.9 Million Total Viewers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Sunday Cable Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Sunday Cable Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  21. ^ http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/04/17/sunday-cable-ratings-game-of-thrones-real-housewives-atl-mad-men-khloe-lamar-the-client-list-more/129431/

External links[edit]