Originally published in the Kenosha News – October 19, 2019
For two Kenosha brothers, the Renaissance Faire is a year-round experience.
Colton “Sir Archer” and Garrett “Sir Garrett” Mansour, both 17, travel the country with their father’s jousting troupe.
“It’s a joust to the death,” Colton said of the last show of each day. “There will be violence, bloodshed and death upon the field.”
The brothers’ first time attending their father’s show also involved a death on the field — and that was somewhat of a disaster.
They were 4 or 5 years old, and they didn’t understand it was a performance.
Their mom says they became hysterical when their father “died.”
“One of the knights who they absolutely loved destroyed their father, and they were so upset,” Kristen Mansour said.
Garrett and Colton started performing in the shows as pages when they were in the fourth grade. Pages go on the field to pick up pieces of lances and shields and do other tasks during the performances. Later, when they were teens, they started to joust.
“Performing in the joust is like a burst of excitement,” Garrett said.
“I love cantering down the lane while aiming for a target. Win or fail, it’s your moment of glory.”
Their father’s troupe, called “The Jousters,” performs at faires in Arizona, Southern California, Bristol, New York and North Carolina. Their mother works for the company that owns the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
“The feeling of performing on horseback in front of thousands of people is such an adrenaline rush,” Colton said. “I love every moment of it.”
Life of a jouster
The troupe’s jousts are competitive and are not staged; there is no pre-planned winner. However, the winner of the sword battle to the “death” after the joust is predetermined; the winner of the joust becomes the “hero” of the sword fight.
“We see it as a good way to settle sibling rivalry in a safe way,” Colton joked.
The brothers said jousting and sword fighting require focus and training to maintain a safe but convincing performance.
“This has helped us develop adult skills,” Garrett said. “We’re down to business and that’s it. It’s good for perspective building.”
Swords and lances are heavy, and training, skill and muscle are required to joust safely.
The brothers attend school online through Wisconsin Virtual Academy during weekdays before practices, workouts and performances.
Though their schedule is very busy, they have made friends around the country at various Renaissance faires.
They stay in touch in a very non-Renaissance way, through SnapChat and Instagram.
“We know local people who work at the faires. We’ll hang out and go to a mall and walk around,” Garrett said.
When they graduate from high school, Colton plans to become a firefighter; Garrett wants to be a welder.
“I’ve enjoyed the traveling and loved doing the Renaissance Faire. It’s always going to be there for me,” Colton said.
“But I’d like to try other things and see what I can do staying in one place.”
Garrett wants to stay on the road.
“I would like to remain traveling as a welder for hire,” he said.
To learn more about Wisconsin Virtual Academy, visit https://wiva.k12.com.