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Chivalry, heraldry, and loyalty have not died in Camelot; they all still live twice nightly at the King’s Tournament at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The tournament opens with the midget jester warming up the crowd of 900 subjects.  He bounced around the arena like a marionette. Then Merlin magically appears in a flowing sky blue wizard’s gown and pointed magician’s hat and full white beard.

Fair Medieval fare.

But first the peasants are served the Medieval banquet feast, courtesy of King Arthur himself. The long anticipated repast includes first a round of hot tomato soup broth, swilled without a spoon.  This is the Medieval times, long before there were utensils. We peasants use our fingers to tear apart butterless royal rolls, and a bunch of steamed broccoli, and slivers of potato wedges, and a full baked royal chicken, washed down with that ancient ale — Pepsi, in authentic plastic mugs. 

One for all, all for one.

Merlin warns the kids in the audience to be sure to eat their broccoli because “you don’t want to end up like that,” he pointed a knarly finger at the midget jester.

The tournament begins with a ride around the horseshoe shaped arena by the kingly knights in full accoutrement: full silver plated armor and chain mail, their royal colors sported upon themselves and their steeds. We are thrown back 14 centuries. The seven kingly knights appear having arrived from far corners of the known world to assist King Arthur in battle against evil.

The seven knights include: The King of Norway, The King of Russia, The King of España, The King of Austria, The King of Ireland, The King of Hungary, and the King of France, and they clamber around the Round Table that is lowered from the ceiling to plot their strategy.

The Kinghts of the Round Table.

The Knights of the Round Table Burst Out in a Round of Song —

There is singing and table dancing and swordsmanship to test each others mettle against the evil black Dragon Knight that appears in a puff of smoke and pyrotechnics and then is as gone just as quickly. King Arthur has called upon his other kingly comrades to assist in the defeat of the evil naysayer.

Ten drummers appear and prance around the parade grounds, followed by five standard bearers, each with the crest of some mysterious and long forgotten mystic heraldry.

"Hear ye Hear ye, let the tournament begin."
A Drum Roll Please!

The Kings parade around the arena in their colorful silk and velvet period costumes matched by, of course Ireland's green, the most beloved of the Kings. These are no humble riders, and proud horsemanship is expertly displayed.

The Games of Skill

The first feat of skill is the race for the three flags.  Six buffed out squires, naked from the waist up, draw a gauntlet and the kings compete in a twosome race for the flags, racing pell mell down the arena, stopping just short of King Arthur himself, seated on his throne, with the mighty Excalibur stuck in the dirt before him.

The following event is the breakneck run with spears thrown at a faraway target. The King of Austria handily wins this event, but is booed by the peasants.

The most popular Knight,
the humble King of Ireland.

A long ribbon is rolled out the entire length of the arena to separate the Knights during the jousting event.  Even though the lances are breakaway props, the impact is riveting, enhanced by the superb sound system, and the falls and tumbles can not be faked, and are so real I am surprised that blood is now let or limbs are not torn asunder.

Each king has to prove his prowess to King Arthur in the 6th century jousting event. Lances are snapped, shields are torn away from the hand, helmets crash to the ground, a knight is thrown over the back of his horse; and if there is a draw, it is a hand-to-hand battle with battle axes, ball and chain malls, and spears and swords.  The peasants pound on the lengthy banquet tables to announce their pleasure.

And we get satisfaction as the knights ride full throttle to chop off the heads of enemy dummies.

The games are successful. The Knightly Kings have proven their valor; even King Arthur is impressed. The peasants pay tribute with a Pepsi salute.

The death of King Arthur.

But the evil Black Dragon Knight and his beastly minions appear to fight hand-to-hand sword duels with King Arthur himself in the misty blue smoke that descends the arena.  King Arthur is slain without mercy and the royal scepter is handed off to his son, Prince Christopher, who rallies the troops to fight as the arena is filled with good and evil warriors.

The kicks and punches and sword play are authentic, or so it appears as we peasants are transported back in time. The stately steeds gallop gallantly, kicking up real dirt clods into the four rows of spectators. Every seat is a ring side seat that is so close to the action that I can almost smell the Medieval Ages of the knave sitting next to me who is sratching himself with out reserve.

After the battle is won, the beautiful and graceful castle maidens entertain us with sprite-like dancing and the acrobatic team tumbles around the arena to all our delight.

It is the time for the coronation for King Christopher as the royal ale — Pepsi — is poured copiously.  The arena has a full bar for those that need harder grogs, at an additional cost, but mead is reserved for the royalty because it makes the peasants too unruly.

The Kingdom is saved by the valor of the Kings.

I am seated in the Russia box so of course my King from Russia gets all my loyalty. I hale my king who is prancing in full regalia dressage and feathered headdress and sparkling chain mail and flowing dyed tunics.

MgM Grand Mirage FeaturesWhat a great escape for the kids and the adult peasants, as well.  The trumpets blare and the coronation is complete, and the kingdom is saved for all. Ah, the Medieval Ages, blossoming with romance and chivalry that we don’t oft see today. So knaves, gather your ducats together to pay tribute to your new king and make it to the next Kings Tournament.

Ticket prices are about $58.24 per person and include dinner and gratuities.  Shows are 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. knightly (I mean nightly). After the tournament the king grants free plays at the Fantasy Faire Arcade at the entrance of the Arena upon your exit of the show.  Be sure to test your skills with the electronic cross bow and win prizes for your fair damsel. You too may have to buttress the king’s forces under a Medieval banner someday.

— By Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.

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