I got this article about Estrella War in my email today and thought I'd share.
January 9, 2007 9:02am CST
I went to Estrella War once or twice. It was my first war and my overall second SCA event. It was a lot of fun and got me hooked on the SCA. Now, they have a new site for Estrella, but it's still the same. Enjoy! Let me tell you about my time battling in the Estrella War For Steve Wortman, the state of Arizona is also known as the Kingdom of Atenveldt. Wortman belongs to the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Wortman, 47, has been a member since 1974 and regularly attends the annual February weeklong Estrella War . The event draws about 6,000 and is the society's second-largest national gathering. At one time the kingdom of Atenveldt stretched as far north as Montana and as far east as Florida. It was really big and unwieldy. Now we are finally just the state of Arizona. The Estrella War brings in kingdoms from all over. Some years, people come (from) as far away as Sweden and Germany. It has been going on for 23 years, and I've only ever missed two of them. Once because I was saving for a house and I didn't do any traveling, and the other because I was sick. It is called the Estrella War because it was originally held in Estrella Mountain (Regional) Park in Phoenix, but we kind of outgrew that location. This year we are having it at Canyon (Moon) Ranch (in Florence) where they hold Country Thunder. Some people carpool up. Most of the time you have a pre-arranged spot for your group. At the site, we have what is called enchanted ground, an area where nothing mundane is allowed. But most times you will have a pup tent next to a large medieval pavilion. You will have people with a brick oven made on site next to a standard Coleman grill. People do what they can. The idea is to capture the flavor of what we are attempting to create. My household gets up with me, and we have communal meals. We get up and make breakfast, and then the guys get their stuff ready to fight. You can fight in up to five battle scenarios a day. One of the most common scenarios at the Estrella War is the open-field scenario, where armies basically line up against each other. It is kind of a slugfest. Ever see the scene in "Braveheart" where the two armies meet? I feel for them because it is kind of like that. People will fight with a multitude of weapons. We allow anything that was used in the Middle Ages throughout the world. They will use swords and shields, spears, maces, all kinds of stuff. The weapons we do use are padded because we don't pull our blows. Open-field scenarios don't generally last longer than five minutes. It is usually down to the last man. We fight until one side is decimated. Since we understand what we do is inherently dangerous, we take great steps in our armor to be safe. Everything is inspected. I am not going out there to rip someone's head off, but I'm going to hit them hard enough so they know they've been hit. Bruises are stock and trade. Broken bones can be common. Serious injuries are rare. Most of the injuries we see are twisted ankles and knees. In the entire time I've been fighting, I've had my ribs cracked twice, one concussion and a broken nose. But I've been doing it a long time. And for the most part the injuries were my fault. One of the biggest things to be careful about out there is watching your temper. We are all people here when it comes down to it. We are an organization based on chivalry and honor, but when you are sitting there trying to beat someone up, tempers can flare. We don't worry about injuries because we all look out for each other. We see somebody go down and not move, and we stop the fighting immediately. That could be any one of us down there, and we all know it. Learn more about this year's Estrella War at www.estrellawar.com. http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/aznightbuzz/162871