Some of the toughest warriors in the country will face off in "Full Metal Jousting," a new one-hour series premiering 10 p.m. Sunday on the History Channel.
"This is not a game or some theatrical sport. These hits are real and this sport is real," said host Shane Adams about the 10-part series featuring full-contact jousts with competitors going head-to-head on horseback. "This show brings that sport to life."
High-speed cameras capture every punishing blow as jousters collide at 30 mph. The winner takes home $100,000.
Adams has been passionate about this sport for years. He is the former president of the World Jousting Association and holds 17 international jousting titles.
"I've been dreaming for the past 18 years to see this come to reality," Adams said. "I want to see this sport accepted as a real sport and not just something from dinner theatre."
The combat in the show is not choreographed, and the athletes' traditional armor is replaced with modern suits of steel weighing 80 pounds. The fir lances are 11 feet long.
Living and training together, the 16 contestants prepare for battle. Their backgrounds vary from an ex-Marine stuntman and a pro polo player to a bull rider and someone with no jousting experience.
Adams said he would have loved to take part in the competition and knows that he could have done well in the century when jousting was popular.
"I could have kicked anyone's butt. This is all I do, sleep, eat and train," he said. "And I'm Canadian, so if I got hurt, I get free health care."