I attended the World Championship Blacksmiths competition at the State Fair of Louisiana in Shreveport in late October of 2010. My good friend Ross Emerson of Emerson Horseshoeing Supply had a booth there and supplied the anvils for the competition. On Friday we watched the beginning of the competition starting with the contestants making a standard horseshoe in a ten minute time frame. What is neat about this event is how it helps each competitor to improve their speed in their day to day work.
The next event involved making two difficult shoes in one hour. The shoes were made by a judge prior to the competition and each contestant had to duplicate these shoes. To be able to accomplish this, each contestant was allowed a helper or striker. The craftsmanship in this event is of utmost importance. The first being to exact size as the pattern and next the overall perfection of nail groove, nail holes, top clips, heels and forge welds.
It’s always interesting to me how any competition, whether it be in knife making, artist blacksmithing or horseshoeing can help everyone raise the bar. We can all learn from one another and when willing to share some of the things we know, only helps us all to get better. Developing that awareness of where you are with your craft and where you want to go is so important. Friendly competition helps us to hone ours skills and continue to grow in the crafts we choose.