'Full Metal Jousting': Jake Nodar Surprises All (And a Slideshow!)
Tonight's cuppa: Hazelnut coffee
On the Sunday, Feb. 19, episode of History's freshman reality-competition series "Full Metal Jousting," horse trainer Jake Nodar exceeded the expectations of his opponent and even host and jousting expert Shane Adams when he unhorsed and ultimately defeated theatrical jouster Jack Mathis for a chance at the quarterfinals.
"I was pretty excited about it," says Nodar, speaking on the day after the episode aired. "I actually watched it with four of the guys from the show, who came out to show support. It was a great, great episode."
While he has excellent riding skills, Nodar found himself picked last when the jousting coaches assembled their teams at the beginning of the show.
"Right from the get-go," he says, "being picked last, that was a really terrible feeling. I'm not sure what the reasoning was behind it. I know the coaches watched us ride in bootcamp. As we found out in last night's episode, my lance control isn't always 100 percent. I don't know if that factored into that or not. And the old grade-school, dodge-ball, picked-last flashback, it was fantastic.
"But at the same time, it motivated me, and I was completely under the radar because of that. It was great, how it all turned out. The practice was horrific. I was a little nervous going into it, but one thing that I do very well, being involved in the different disciplines of riding that I've done, I'm very comfortable with competition. I can keep my head in the game."
And Nodar did get to assuage the concerns of his mother, who didn't care for some of the comments about her son early in the episode.
He recalls, "I said, 'Just stick with it, Mom, I'm going to show them a thing or two.'"
(Here's a video of the Nodar/Mathis joust. Post continues below it, with a photo slideshow at the bottom.)
Asked about the future of jousting as a major spectator sport, Nodar says, "I really hope that jousting takes off. I had almost more fun sitting on the sidelines, watching my teammates compete.
'It's such a great spectator sport. There are eight passes, take a couple of minutes between each pass. It's suspenseful and crazy and chaotic. I think it's something that people would actually see in person.
"It's a very cool sport."
Whatever the future of jousting -- or his own future in the competition -- Nodar came away from the experience with at least one new pal.
"Dave (Prewitt) is probably the one I bonded the most with," he says. "It's kind of funny, because when I went into the house, being openly gay, I had some reservations. He was probably the one that I was most worried about. He comes from a small town, hasn't really been exposed to anything quite like that.
"Over the process, we became really good friends. He actually just left my place a couple of hours ago. He came down for the week to hang out. It was great. I definitely made some really great friends through that experience."
As a bonus, here's a slideshow from my set visit -- click here for the syndicated feature story that resulted -- to "Full Metal Jousting" back in October. Enjoy!