LITCHFIELD, Minn. — It is going to sound and look a lot like the War of the Roses at the Meeker County Fairgrounds in Litchfield on Oct. 26 as Minnesota Armored Combat and the Twin Cities Wyverns host the War in the North.
Armor-clad knights, men and women, will be showing off their skills inside the Steffes Show Arena. This isn't play fighting, either. While the weapons are blunted, the fighters don't hold back when swinging their axes, swords and shields.
"You have an ax flying at your face as hard as they can swing it," said Peter Moe, director of Minnesota Armored Combat, and a fighter with the Wyverns.
Probably the first such event in Minnesota according to Moe, the War in the North will bring together the Texas Warlords, Kansas City Serpents, Chicagoland Hydras and the Wyverns for a day of medieval fighting.
"This is something so unique," Moe said.
The event is scheduled from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. The day will be full of knights in shining armor fighting like its 1419 instead of 2019. There will be individual knight fights, with single knights fighting against each other. There will also be team melees, where entire groups of knights fight each other; the last one standing wins. The day will conclude with an awards ceremony, where the winners will receive their prizes.
Moe said there will be a merchandise tent for the teams to sell their wares.
Tickets for the competition are $10 for adults, $7 for students, $5 for military and first responders, and children under 5 are admitted free. Moe said the War in the North is a family event, though the fighting is intense.
"Kids love us," Moe said.
The knights will also be going around through the crowd to show the audience the weapons and armor they fight with, Moe said. His new armor and helmet were built in the Ukraine and weigh about 85 pounds. Depending on the type of armor, it can weigh anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds, Moe said. According to the rules from the International Medieval Combat Federation, the armor must be all metal with no plastic or composite materials allowed.
"They have it tailored down to the centimeter," of a fighter's measurements, Moe said. "You get it on and it's like a second skin"
While heavy, the armor is hinged and riveted to allow for full-range of motion. Medieval knights were able to fight and even mount and dismount a horse with relative ease.
The type of weapons used by the fighters include one- and two-handed axes, long swords, hand swords, and polearm and a falchion swords.
The armor and the helmet do a good job of protecting the fighters, but combat can still be a painful activity. Moe said injuries sustained by modern armored combat fighters are a lot like rugby injuries, meaning a lot of bruises.
"It is something not quite wrestling, not quite football. It is somewhere in between," Moe said.
Moe hopes the event is a success and will raise enough funds to help put on a bigger War in the North next year, with more types of medieval combat arts on display.
"That would be a pretty cool festival," Moe said. "I'm 100 percent dedicated to bringing it back next year. I want to see this continue."
Moe said he knows the fighters will put on an impressive display. Those who take part in armored combat do it because they love it and are passionate about their sport. He invites the public to come check it out and cheer on the fighters.
"These guys are tenacious. They just want to fight," Moe said.