Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Strap on your armor and gallop into the field with a modern-day...

Strap on your armor and gallop into the field with a modern-day jouster in VR

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Jesse Ryan, USA TODAY NETWORK
Published 8:23 p.m. ET Aug. 4, 2017 | Updated 8:36 p.m. ET Aug. 4, 2017

This is a 360° video experience.
Use your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard
to see the entire 360° view.

It’s knight time: go lance-to-lance on horseback in a modern jousting match.
USA TODAY NETWORK

Not many people can say they joust for a living. Matthew Mansour, also known as Sir Maxmillian The Jousting Earl of Braden, counts himself among the lucky few.

At the age of twelve Mansour started working for carriage drivers in Central Park. One of the drivers was a jouster at the New York Renaissance Faire. Mansour accompanied him to a joust and immediately fell in love with the sport. That was over thirty years ago.

Today, Mansour travels across the country with his company, The Jousters, performing at renaissance faires year-round. Join them for a day of combat in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the video below.

There are many demands on modern-day jousters. During the week, they rehearse, train, and care for their horses. Unsurprisingly, handling an 11-foot lance while encased in 85 pounds of armor on horseback requires great strength and practice. The troupe also makes and paints up to 50 lances and 38 shields a week, which are used during matches on the weekend. These are sold to fans as souvenirs after each show.

As a result of living and working together full-time, the group is close on and off the field. However, a healthy dose of competitiveness still exists between the knights. While The Jousters’ shows are theatrical, their matches are never choreographed. The hits are real, too. Mansour compares the shock of a lance strike to a car crash, explaining that the jolt ripples through his body with the same intensity every time.

At the end of the day, The Jousters’ ultimate goal is to provide fans with an authentic and enjoyable experience. During a time when so much entertainment comes from screens, the troupe takes pride in giving people a reason to look up from their phones.

“To me, every bit as good as winning the joust is winning the hearts of my audience,” Mansour says.

Unleash your inner knight in the video above.

For the ideal experience, view in 360 degrees on your mobile phone or in VR headsets such as Google cardboard or Daydream. Subscribe to VRtually There on YouTube and browse the “Virtual Reality” section of the USA TODAY app (iOS | Android) or download our VR Stories Daydream app to catch three new episodes every week.

And whatever you do, don’t forget to look around.

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