Sturdy Beggars


(Left to right) Paul Barrosse, Casey Fox, Rush Pearson, Dan Deuel, Al Leinonen at the Texas Renaissance Festival in 1981.


(From top) Herb, Me, Jamie

In the summer of 1978, between our Sophomore and Junior years at Northwestern University, I and my two classmates, Herb Metzler and Jamie Baron began performing as beggars at King Richard’s Faire, a Renaissance festival on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin. Today, more than three decades later, our summer job is still alive and well — and The Sturdy Beggars continue to thrill crowds at Renn Fairs across the country with the legendary Sturdy Beggar Mud Show. For more information than you can shake a pit of mud at, click on

sc00012891 2Although many of my good friends continue to make a good living cavorting in the mud, I haven’t done it for years — though it was my great good fortune to share a mud pit with my darling Victoria (as the unsinkable Molly Bloom) in my father’s hometown of New Orleans for a couple years in the late 80’s.

The Reverend Ikey Noakes performs the infamous Mud Mass at a Faire in New York state.

Counting the beggar money, circa 1981.

Figgy (L) and Ikey (R) present Will'm (the Judge) with their earnings.

7 responses to “Sturdy Beggars

  1. Hail to you Pablocito, great blog. Does my heart good to see the old Beggar photos! Ain’t Yosemite grand! You can hear Old John Muir on the wind. Happy New Year. All the best to You and yours.

  2. Scotty!

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. If you haven’t checked out the link to the Sturdy Beggars website, do it. Lots and lots of great muddy pics to behold.

    And hey! Looks like the Rockmes will all be in Evanston this May 17th for a reunion gig at SPACE. Sure hope to see you there!

    Will the Prop have anything going on that weekend?

  3. Mr. Barrosse:
    Loving your stuff, no surprise — especially digging the Practical Theatre History, EXCELLENT to have that so artfully composed, superb for referring the uninitiated to when struggling to describe those halcyon daze of yore. Anyway, regarding your Sturdy exercise in brevity, don’t forget your marvelous summation published in our old “that damn Muddy Rag” newsletter, I believe in summer ’95, “A Shorte Historie of the Sturdye Beggars” (or somesuch), and the related story about the naming of the group (contributed by br’er Rush) — re-peruse at your leisure, and GOOD ON YA!

    • Thanks, John!

      Thanks for the good word — and for reminding me about the short beggar history in the Muddy Rag. I’ve made one of the links on the blog for those who seek more info on the marvelous muddy adventures of The Sturdy Beggars. But I intend to delve deeper into the mud (in print, at least) in future articles.

  4. John Pietrowski

    Hey, Paul:
    Just wanted to drop a quick hello. This is a great thing, even if Vehill writes on it.

  5. Anonymous

    Wow, is that John Pietrowski? The real John Pietrowski?

  6. Pingback: Playing in the Mud! | texasrenaissancefestival

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