This annual competition is held in each archery company to designate the best shooter of the year, called King. The participants shoot one after the other on a wooden bird called Popinjay or Papingo that is placed either on top of a thirty meter-high pole, or on a target 54,68 yards away. The King from the previous year, who has made the bird that will be used, shoots first. The others follow, most often according to a random draw. The first person to reach the bird is named King or Queen of the year, only if the bird is “mortally wounded.” The same rules apply for the “junior” category where people compete for the kinglet title. The winner receives a red scarf with his title and the year of his/her reign. He can then participate in the departmental shooting of the King and even the national Shooting of the King of France. If the same person wins the competition three years in a row, they are named Emperor and keep the title and its prerogative for life.
The King has privileges and duties that come with his title
Indeed, he is the only one that can go under the King’s door to enter the firing point. Walking in front during parades, he represents the company and has an advisory power with members of the board. However, the fines he receives are tripled.
By giving the King his attributes, the Captain of the company recites this speech:
“Silence and hats off! In the name of St Sebastian, martyr of archery, this noble game so forthright in which there is no deceit! Sire! You, who have placed the King shot, here is the prize, I present it to you. A knee to the ground you put and everyone will shout with me : Long live the King! This glass of wine, I give it to you, and fearing you might be poisoned, I will taste it first. And shout with me: Long live the King!”