Maryland Horse Industry Board Honors Hall of Famer Buddy Wooters, Three Others with Touch of Class Award
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Buddy Wooters, a six-time U.S. jousting champion from Denton (Caroline County) and a member of the National Jousting Association (NJA) Hall of Fame, is among the four national reigning jousting champions, all from Maryland, who were named the April Touch of Class Award winners on Saturday (April 18) by the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Awards were presented at St. Margaret’s Church in Annapolis.
In addition to Wooters, other winners included Vincent Reinhold, also from Denton (Caroline County); and Ian Flaherty and his older sister, Lily Fisher-Flaherty, from Lusby (Calvert County). They won their titles last fall at the NJA Championships at the Petersville Farmer’s Woods in Brunswick. NJA includes members from Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.
MHIB Chair Jim Steele and Maryland Jousting Association President Vicki Betts presented the award during the organization’s annual meeting to Reinhold and to Dorsey Wooters, father of Buddy Wooters. The Flahertys will receive their award at the Petersville Jousting Tournament in July.
“We are thankful that these folks and the Maryland Jousting Association keep our unique state sport of jousting alive and well,” Steele said. “Some of our current tournaments are nearly 150 years old and the tradition goes back to the colonization of Maryland by Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore.”
Modern-day, or ring jousting, became the Maryland state sport in 1962. It is a recreational equestrian sport in which riders of all ages and levels of expertise race their horses on an 80-yard straight track while spearing three rings suspended from arches. It is a timed competition that requires skilled horsemanship, athletic ability and excellent hand-eye coordination because the size of the rings becomes increasingly smaller as the level of competition progresses.
Wooters, 42, is the Professional Class national champion, riding his Arab-Pinto cross named Romeo. His nephew, Vincent Reinhold, 17, a tenth grader at North Caroline High School, also competed with Romeo, winning the Amateur Class title.
Ian Flaherty, 12, earned his title in the Novice Class on his Morgan/Percheron mare, Maggie. His older sister Lily, 18, won with her American Warmblood gelding, Sunny. It was the third straight national title for the siblings. They are coached by their mother, Viviane Fisher-Flaherty, who operates Tynwedd Stables in St. Leonards. She specializes in teaching jousting to folks of all ages.
MHIB initiated the Touch of Class award in September 2011 to showcase Maryland people and horses each month who achieve national and international recognition. Since the award’s inception, MHIB has honored 77 people, 29 horses, ponies, mules and donkeys from 14 different Maryland counties in 24 different equestrian disciplines. The award honors the memory of the Maryland-bred mare, Touch of Class, who won two show jumping gold medals in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
For more information, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at (410) 841-5798 or by email at: email@example.com.