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LaGrange, GA, USA, 18 May 2007 - The World Finger Jousting Federation held its first sanctioned tournament and the first official finger jousting tournament ever at the Troup County Parks and Recreation Center. Pizza Villa Presents the 2007 Inaugural LaGrange Sanctioned Invitational Finger Jousting Tournament was a large endeavor for the growing international governing body and featured eight fierce finger jousters from around the state.
Preparations for the tournament were made months in advance as the tournament director, and president of the WFJF, worked with other finger jousters on a preliminary unabridged set of rules and regulations to be tested at the event. Potential sponsors had to be contacted regarding financial assistance, a location had to be made, competitors had to be found, materials had to be created, and many other items had to be taken care of prior to the event.
For the event, three referees, including one as the marshal, and two announcers were trained to officiate the event. These included Luke Brown, marshal; Donovan King, referee; Dylan Hall, referee; Tyler Davis, announcer; and Justin Whitfield, announcer. Others on staff were Jason Allen, tournament assistant; Alex Davis, videographer; and cKw Photography, photographers. Two arenas were constructed—one made of tumbling mats and one of garage shop tiles—though one was abandoned at the tournament because of failure under the physical stress of the competitors. Competitors at the event, in order of seeding, were Ben "Top Gun" North, Josh "Darth Bob" Kinder, Kyle "K-Money" Weeks, Jordan "The Mack" Woodie, Brandon "The Beast" Mays, Doug "Segal" Basset, Kent "Ragin' Cajun" Criddle, and Bobby "Bobbo" Patrick.
The LaGrange Invitational began with an opening statement from the Lord of the Joust, Julian Gluck, and then three songs from the musical act, local LaGrange guitarist and singer, Griff Parrish. Following the music, a representative of the title sponsor, Pizza Villa, gave the foreword, and Gluck introduced the tournament. Then chorus singer, Angie Berman, sang the national anthem while those attending faced the American flag that once flew in a war zone.
Match one began with Top Gun shutting out Bobbo with a series of leg shots. Then the Beast took on the Mack and won six-two. The third match had Segal beating K-Money five to zero from a chest shot and headshot, but K-Money came back from the huge deficit to win in one of the tightest matches. Ragin' Cajun took on Darth Bob in the fifth match only to lose to the technique tactician seven to zero from two chest shots and a headshot.
Top Gun and the Beast squared off in the semi-finals with the maverick jouster beating the monstrous competitor six to one. In the other semi-finals match, K-Money and Darth Bob had an interesting match with scores switching back and forth and an injury ending with a win for the monetary lancer over the darth lancing destroyer. In the consolation brackets, The Mack shut out Bobbo, and Ragin' Cajun shut out Segal in an action-packed match. The Mack then faced Darth Bob in match nine only to be shut out by Darth Bob from six leg shots. Following that, in match ten, the Ragin' Cajun made finger jousting history as the first competitor in an official tournament to get double headshots in a match against the Beast.
An intermission was taken prior to the consolation finals and finals. During this time, spectators were allowed to compete for gift card prizes from the various sponsors. The sponsors of the event included the title sponsor, Pizza Villa; the plus sponsors, Troup County Parks and Recreation, Mud Creek Graphics, Remax Results LaGrange, and Towne Fitness; and the program sponsors, UPS Store, Pawn Express, Mobile Electronics, Mr. Greenjeans Sanitation Services, LaGrange Barber Shop, Econo Food and Fuel Center, Bruster's, Subway, and LaGrange Obstetrics and Gynecology. The referees even got in on the action as well as some of the entourage members. The intermission was also highlighted by a performance from local juggler, Eric Burnham, while the Lord of the Joust and the tournament's marshal beatboxed for rhythmic assistance.
The consolation finals was the closest match of the event pitting Ragin' Cajun against Darth Bob in what was to be a rematch from match four. Points went back and forth with both competitors scoring headshots and the tie continued well into the eighth round until Darth Bob landed a highly contested chest shot and was declared victor seven to five.
The finals had the moniker of strength and stamina, Top Gun, against the vastly experienced and larger K-Money. Both competitors epitomized technique and endurance as the match waged on for twelve rounds with K-Money taking an early lead and Top Gun slowly tying the match up in the tenth. Then K-Money scored a leg shot, and in a dramatic climax, lanced Top Gun's head for the championship win.
The prizes for the placing competitors were presented by Miss Troup County, Lauren Wagner, and those still at the event got together for group pictures and then to help clean up the area after an entertaining, action-packed night of finger jousting fury. The Lord of the Joust had this to say:
"The event overall was quite successful for one having such lofty goals in mind and for taking place late in the scholastic season. We didn't receive the kind of spectator turnout we hoped for, which was to be expected, but there were some really exciting matches, some great sponsors, and a fun experience all together. Though I wish I could have gotten in on some of the competition . . . I had a blast directing and announcing. [Our competitors] were great—good sportsmanship and the like—, and we've learned from our triumphs and mistakes at the event what we can do to improve the next tournament to take our sport even further."
Kyle "K-Money" Weeks, the tournament champion, was proud of his win and grateful to the Federation for sanctioning this pivotal experience. The other placers, Ben "Top Gun" North, second; Josh "Darth Bob" Kinder, third; and Kent "Ragin' Cajun" Criddle, fourth, all competed well as did those who did not place. "This is definitely a major step forward for our growing governing body," said Gluck. "Who knows where this can lead us in the future . . . we just have to have the winds of media, sponsorship, and member involvement help direct our path."
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