The Jousting Life

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eddie Rigney: A Small Guy Making a Big Impact in the Jousting Community

Many articles about jousting emphasize the size of the competitors. However, Eddie Rigney would argue that all it takes to joust is a big heart. Eddie Rigney is only 5'6” and 185lbs, yet he practices with and competes against much larger men, such as 6'5”, 260lbs Charlie Andrews, and consistently holds his own.

Greg Boxma, 6'2”, 230lbs(left) and Eddie Rigney, 5'6”, 185lbs(right)
(photo by Pamela Morgan)
“I am the smallest guy out there and one of the hardest hitters. I pride myself on my riding abilities. If you can become an extension of your horse you can transfer his size and power through you. I want people to understand this. If this type of jousting is going to grow I want everyone to understand size does not matter.” – Eddie Rigney
Eddie Rigney's interest in jousting began when he applied to compete on the show “Full Metal Jousting”. On the day he was sent home from the FMJ Mississippi training camp, he saw Charlie Andrew's tv show “Knights of Mayhem”. Still angry at being told he couldn't joust, Eddie immediately sent a message to Charlie asking for the training he needed in order to prove that he could indeed joust.
"He [Charlie] called me back that evening. And here I am. Turns out, I'm Charlie's 'Mini me,' our personalities mirror each other. And that really is a good thing. He has become my mentor and my Brother.”
Eddie's only prior experience with jousting consisted of three ½ day sessions in armor while trying out for “Full Metal Jousting”. He met Charlie Andrews for the first time on February 6, 2012, squired for him until March 3, then began intense jousting training. On April 1, 2012, he competed against Charlie Andrews and the other Knights of Mayhem in the "Sherwood Forest Faire Jousting Tournament", where, despite his relative inexperience, Eddie managed to earn second place in his first competitive jousting tournament.

Eddie defeated every competitor he jousted against until he had to face Charlie in the semi-finals. Since this was a double elimination tournament, and he won his subsequent match, he made it to the finals where he faced Charlie for the second time. Both matches between Eddie and Charlie were exciting ones, and in the final match between the two, there was actually a double unhorsing.

Charlie Andrews(left) and Eddie Rigney(right) at Sherwood Forest Faire Jousting Tournament(photo by Zhi Zhu)

This was the only time that Charlie was unhorsed during the tournament. However, this was not the only time that Eddie unhorsed Charlie; they had unhorsed one another just the week before during a demonstration joust. One of Eddie's proudest moments came during that demonstration.

Eddie Rigney(left) and Charlie Andrews(right) at Sherwood Forest Faire(photo by Pamela Morgan)
“Charlie came over after the last pass and told me Great Job and I was landing some big hits...
My proudest moment!” -- Eddie Rigney

You may notice that Eddie wears pink favors on his saddle and his arm. He wears them in honor of his mother and others who are fighting breast cancer.
(photo by Pamela Morgan)

So, how did Eddie become so proficient at jousting in such a short time? He credits his 36 years of experience as a working cowboy and rodeo competitor. He basically lives in the saddle. In fact, during most of this interview, he was texting his answers to the questions while riding. Though not as dangerous as texting while driving, Eddie did admit that at one point during the interview, he was thrown from the horse he was riding because he was paying more attention to his texting than to his horse.

Eddie plans to use his experience in promoting professional rodeo to help Charlie Andrews develop competitive jousting into a mainstream sport.
"We just need all jousters to support each other regardless of differences. We need to support the sport in order to make it grow...."
He also wants to make sure that everyone who wants to joust gets the chance to give it a try. He hopes that others will see him as an example that one doesn't have to be extremely tall and muscular in order to joust, that people of all different physical types can compete in jousting.
"I just don't want potential knights to think size is the most important thing and not try because they "think" they are too small.
All it takes is a big heart!” – Eddie Rigney


  1. Way to go Eddie! Saw you at the Renaissance Festival in Slaterville , Utah! You are a GREAT jouster! You have got what it takes to "GET HER DONE" Hope to see you again sometime. Ginger Frongner

  2. Gotta love Eddie BIG BEAR does :)