Left, Sir Michael the Betrothed. Right (top to bottom) Jay Weiland, who manages telecommunications for Pixar Animation Studios in Oakland, tilted a lance at full gallop into his childhood friend?s shield. ?It?s absolutely thrilling,? he said, ?you have elements of heraldry, horseback riding plus jousting. It was a wonderful day.? Zoppe helps Tobias mount up, at left are the jousting lances.
Photos and Report by Patric Hedlund
"We didn’t want a cliche ‘beer and strippers’ bachelor’s party for Michael," said best man Paul Tobias Saturday Oct. 6 as he surveyed the elegant rite of passage he had arranged for his longtime friend Michael Brown at the American Jousting Alliance’s headquarters in Lockwood Valley.
Tobias, a San Francisco attorney, hit the internet seeking ideas for something to honor his friend’s love of martial arts and stage combat for a party the week before Sir Michael the Betrothed was to wed Fair Lady Maria.
"Lo and behold, there was somebody in California who could do this for us," Tobias said with pride in his discovery. "We picked Michael (an engineer) up from his home in Santa Monica and brought him up to the mountains. He didn’t have a clue where he was going or what we were going to do here."
James Zoppe hosted the group at his ranch. In advance, he made the groom-to-be a ceremonial shield for the joust. The heraldry depicts comets and eagles, to honor Brown’s character and love of astronomy.
Zoppe used the gold and blue colors of the groom’s U.C. Berkely alma mater in the shield.
The men were given instructions for three hours in the morning on the fine art of competitive jousting, learning to hold the lance and score points astride their gallant chargers. They broke for a picnic lunch, then resumed in the afternoon for an actual match.
The sound of the long lance reverberating off the shield over the thundering hooves of Zoppe’s Percheron Shire and Belgian battle mounts was a thrill for the new knight as well as his very satisfied friends.
This is part of the October 12, 2007 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.