So in late 2003 or early 2004, I had been reading stories and photos about some of the very early events of the SCA that I found online. Most of these events revolved around the Tournament and the revel afterward. There were lots of fascinating stories of camaraderie and involvement of all the people in attendance. It seemed that everyone spent time together at the event enjoying each other’s company. Having been recently knighted, I lamented the fact that there were so many members of our populace that I barely knew. A kernel of an idea started to form…
Count Angus was temporarily living with Ulrich while he was attending a training school in Huntsville. One night the three of us were having dinner at Rosie’s Cantina, and I was talking about the stuff I had been reading about the early days of the SCA and how it would be cool to have an event where there was only one thing going on. If an event was just a tournament and a revel like the old days. That way people would just be hanging out together around the field instead of running off to classes, or meetings, or the archery field, or whatever else was going on. Ulrich and Angus both liked the idea and thought it would help bring Meridies closer together. From there we discussed how to fill the day. I think Angus said that we should have multiple tournaments and that the martial orders (Bear, Sable Sword, and Chivalry) could sponsor the tourneys. I believe Ulrich came up with the idea of getting the other Orders of High Merit (Bough and OVO) involved and then having the Chivalry sponsor a final tourney with the champions of the other tourneys for an overall champion. So we had a day filled with tourney and then a big party afterward. Yay!!
So now we had an idea, but we needed help from knowledgeable people to get this thing off the ground. Enter Sir Conal. Conal and I kicked around the idea during a drive back from some event and we had a lot of ideas. Ever wise, Conal decided we needed to write down all of these ideas and refine them and figure out exactly how this should be done. Duchess Caroline graciously (see what I did there?) hosted some meetings at her house, and herself and Master Allan and some others joined in to help us draft a plan of how the event would work. During this time, Conal had talked to Earl Richard about what we were planning, and Richard wanted to have the Order of the Chalice sponsor the now famous charity tournament. The Order of the Chalice would sponsor a charity tournament with an entry fee of $20. Conal and I balked at the $20 entry fee fearing it would keep many from participating, but Earl Richard insisted that people would enter at $20. (Boy howdy, was he right. But more importantly it was the first time I had ever seen Conal be wrong) Anyway the Meridian Grand Tournament was created.
So now we needed a group to host the event. The shire of Glaedenfeld was hosting Iris Faire on Labor Day weekend 2004 at the WoW camp in Blountsville AL. Ulrich and I approached them about hosting MGT on that Saturday and having Iris Faire on Sunday. After we presented them the plans and discussed the goals of MGT with the shire, they kindly agreed to host the event. Ulrich took charge of running the first MGT and after a day of fighting with 70+ fighters Duke Radu emerged as the first Meridian Grand Champion.
Duke Caspar Krieger