The spring fencing season began for Galveston fencers Kathy Machol, James Guthrie and John Trojanowski with a trip to Sour Lake, Texas. The event is a combination epee tournament and wine tasting social held at the Bruno & George Winery in the small community north of I-10 near Beaumont.
The tradition began last year with a coming together of fencers from Galveston, the Clear Lake Fencing Club, the Katy Blades and the Spindletop Cavaliers of Beaumont. This year there was a University of Houston presence, as well. Geddy Hamblen, of the Texas A&M Fencing Club and a former member of GFC also competed. Both Guthrie and Hamblen placed in the top eight, securing for themselves a complimentary bottle of wine.
The club now prepares to host the annual Naomia Abbott Memorial tournament on Saturday, March 23 in the gym at the O’Connell School. This is the only annually held women’s tournament in the state. Appropriately held in March, Women’s History Month, the tournament is named for Naomia Abbott, an active competitive fencer in Galveston in the 1950s. Interestingly, when she passed away in 2005 at the age of 85, she was living in Sour Lake and giving fencing lessons to seniors in Beaumont.
The Abbott Memorial tournament is also known for its awards. The first place winner in each of the three primary competitions receives a string of pearls. There are also competitions for girls aged 10 and under, girls aged 12 and under, and veteran (40 and over) women. As well, each year one woman is singled out for a special plaque in recognition of her support of “the art and science of fencing.” The public is admitted free of charge to the tournament.
The Galveston Fencing Club meets Monday and Wednesday evenings in the gym at the O’Connell School. Classes for fencers 12 and under are held from 6:15-7:15 p.m. Classes for older youths and adults are held from 7:30-8:30 p.m. The club consists of fencers and students as young as six to those in their sixties.
Students from the O’Connell School and Holy Family School may take classes free of charge. For information on tournaments, classes, fees and requirements you may email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.