Ticonderoga An 18th century art of fighting will return to the pavilion and parade grounds of Fort Ticonderoga Saturday, May 24.
The 17th Annual Ticonderoga Challenge Outdoor Epee Tournament will take place starting around 10:30 a.m. with competitions for fencers ages 12 and younger along with an open division.
“At the turn of the century there was a national outdoor fencing championship as well as an indoor event and we thought it would be fun to try an outdoor fencing event, said Viveka Fox, coach of the Vermont Fencing Alliance and tournament organizer. “We started doing it on the Saturday of Memorial Day as a season ending event for the Champlain Cup season.”
Fox said the discipline of epee, one of three in the sport of fencing which also includes foil and sabre, fits perfectly into the setting of Fort Ticonderoga.
“This is an 18th Century dueling sword style of combat so it fits perfectly with the fort and its time period,” she said. “Fort Ti is so cool, we get people from all over the northeast coming for this one event.”
Fox added outdoor fencing makes the competitors deal with conditions they are not used to indoors.
“Surfaces are grass and gravel,” she said. “They are slippery and uneven. You fence at your own risk and need to bring appropriate footwear.”
Fox said every effort will be made to hold the event May 24, but in case of a washout, a rain date has been set for the following day, May 25.
Fencers will come from all over New England and eastern Canada to compete, as well as locally. Along with members of the VFA, members of the Champlain Valley Fencing Alliance, based out of Westport, will participate in the event.
The competition is open to 14 competitors in the Y12 age division and 85 competitors in the open division. Preliminary rounds, consisting of round-robin pool matches between five and eight combatants, are held in the Pavilion Grounds at the fort, along with the opening rounds of the direct elimination tournament.
The finals for each division are held in the parade grounds.
“People sit on the ramparts and look down on the finals in the parade grounds,” Fox said. “It is a cool experience for the fencers and the audience.”
Event entry fees are $10 if preregistered by May 19 and $20 after that. If time and weather conditions allow, we will run a DE tableau for the top eight women from the mixed event, in addition to regular mixed DEs.
For more information on the Ticonderoga Challenge Outdoor Epee tournament, visit the website askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=25832.