Champion of champions: RenFaire’s second annual Boffing Tournament

Tenzin Uden, Campus Life Reporter

Photo by Chloe Collins.

On Oct. 15, the Renaissance Faire planning committee hosted its second annual Boffing Tournament in the amphitheater and on Ankeny Field. The tournament, in which competitors fought with foam swords, or “boffers,” featured more than 15 skilled participants and an enthusiastic audience. There was also an “Open Boff” ring where anyone could take a turn using the foam weapons. 

The tournament had several rounds: the main bracket to decide the “Queen’s Champion,” a losers bracket to decide the “Fools’ Champion” and, finally, an election and a short fight to determine the “People’s Champion” out of the people who were not in the main bracket but showed up for “Open Boff.” The general fights were held on Ankeny Field, while the semifinals and finals were held on the stage of the amphitheater. In the end, the three champions fought each other, with the “People’s Champion” taking home the title of “Tournament Champion.”

Senior philosophy major Ilse Spiropoulos is the co-chair of the Whitman Renaissance Faire planning committee (RenFaire), as well as the president of the Fencing Club and Martial Arts Club. Spiropoulos, who has been a part of RenFaire for four years, says that the club plans a variety of events each year, including the faire in the spring. The leadership board is made up of a variety of roles, such as chairs for entertainment, merchant, accessibility, fight, PR and budget.

Photo by Chloe Collins.

Spiropoulos described the various events they host as being the most exciting part of the club.

“I think it’s really fun to get out and for students who come to watch and engage in activities happening on campus,” Spiropoulos said. “Our murder mystery dinner is always a big hit, and it’s great to be able to do other events such as this tournament and the Winter Ball happening this December.”

According to Spiropoulos, her highlights of the tournament included being able to watch everyone compete and witnessing the joy of the “People’s Champion” as they took on the tournament.

First-year Vee Edwards was the “People’s Champion”, as well as the winner of the entire tournament. Vee said that the event was really fun, and they were cheerful about the victory. They appreciated the love that they received throughout the semifinal and final rounds. 

“I found out about it before it started and really wanted to be the ‘People’s Champion’ and fight,” Edwards said. “It’s wild that I got to do that and managed to win the tournament.”

Edwards said that they are very excited about the upcoming events that will be hosted by the Renaissance Faire. They described the highlight of this event as being the fight to be the “People’s Champion” against the other nominee.

“She was really good and aggressive, and [we got] into that strangle hold at the end of the match. [It was a] wild fight, and [I] wasn’t sure that I was going to win that,” Edwards said. 

Edwards was grateful for the effort the club put into setting up this event, and they said that they will definitely participate in the next one. 

Photo by Chloe Collins.

Junior biology major Lauren O’Rourke has been a part of RenFaire for three years and currently serves as the PR chair. The Renaissance Fair planning committee is very important to her — she started liking fantasy during her high school years and was excited about being in a club that would let her find people that did role-play, played Dungeons & Dragons and put on events like the tournament. 

O’Rourke said that she had always really wanted to go to a Renaissance Faire, and she joined the club during her first club fair at Whitman. She shared that she is proud of the club for keeping up the tradition, as the Boffing Tournament was started during her sophomore year. It kept the club occupied with something fun during the fall and helped them add more members after the pandemic lockdown.

“We have a lot of enthusiastic people who have joined the club to bring the energy to it,” O’Rourke said. “We are planning a first-time event, the Winter Ball. We are also hoping to bring the Renaissance Faire back to its former glory [from before the pandemic]. We are the longest-running Renaissance Faire in this region, so we are hoping to get that back up before we lose it.”

Coming up, the club will be hosting their first-ever Winter Ball on Dec. 3, followed by their annual murder mystery dinner at the beginning of next semester and the Renaissance Faire itself in the spring.

For further updates, the Renaissance Faire planning committee can be found on Instagram @wcrenfaire.