We had a great time at The Blade Show this year. Click through the gallery to see all of the cool things we got to see!
That’s a wrap and the monkeys are OUT!
Click through the slideshow below to see what we saw on Day 4 of SHOT Show!
Quick someone throw them a banana!
More from the monkeys in Vegas!
Let’s check in on the monkeys and see what they found!
The Monkeys kick off the SHOT show with some productive range time at Media Day. Check out the photo gallery below as well the Monkey Instagram page to see what they saw!
Sometimes when they say hard work pays off, you find out it really does. In fact that’s what Jessica Elias found out after putting forth a great deal of effort into her passion for promoting BladeSports this past year.
Jessica Elias, L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives’ Creative Director, has been sharpening her skills and it is showing. She went to the Jantz Knife Supply Cut in Davis, Oklahoma on September 19, 2015 for another BladeSports cutting competition.
She is sponsored by L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives again, but this time things are a little different. After being the first female to compete at the National and Worlds level, she recently took part in the first ever women’s only division competition on September 19th, 2015. By the end of the day, Jessica placed 1st overall in the women’s division.
Jessica traveled to Davis, Oklahoma to participate in the first ever BladeSports Women’s Division. She was greeted by a wonderful group of women who are sponsored by Jantz Knife Supply. There were five women competing over all. They were all very talented and have been practicing hard. The volunteers helped set the course up and this time the Women’s course was changed slightly. The obstacle course remained the same except for the 2×4 boards were switched to 2×3. The rolling tennis balls, rope, water bottles, and dividing a straw all remained the same. Precision and timing still stayed the same with participants earning points for each completed activity, which are deducted from overall time for a total score with the lowest score winning.
There was so much support and generosity from everyone at the competition. Everyone was excited that “Jessi Elias” was coming into town. They couldn’t wait to see her use her back hand to cut the water bottles! The ladies expressed how nervous they were, yet Jessica said she felt as if she was gleaming with anxiety.
This cut was held at Jantz Knife Supply there were 18 cutters overall, 13 men and 5 women. There were many knife makers there including Larry Pridgen who designed the knives for the Jantz competitors, Donavon Phillips, Dennis Mashburn, Dan Keffeler, and many more just standing in the crowd. They also had a fundraiser outside to help the local Chamber of commerce with delicious food.
This event was a great time to come out and show your support for the knife industry as well as supporting an amazing group of talented and skilled competitors. If you are in the area of the next event make sure you get out to see what all the talk is about. The next cut will be the Buckeye Cut located at L.T. Wright Knives on September 27th, 2015. You can find all the information posted at www.bladesports.org to watch or to find out how you can get involved!
About BladeSports International, Inc
BladeSports International, Inc., is a Texas non-profit corporation formed to promote knife safety, provide workshops, and cutting events for its members, and to inform and educate the public with regard to the safe use of a knife as a tool. For more information, visit www.bladesports.org
Jessica Elias, L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives’ Creative Director, is at it again! She will be traveling to the Jantz Knife Supply Cut in Davis, OK on September 19, 2015 for another BladeSports cutting competition. She is sponsored by L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives again, but this time things are a little different. After being the first female to compete at the National and Worlds level, she will take part in the first ever women’s only division competition on September 19th.
Jessica spent much of her time in Atlanta at the Worlds Cutting Competition promoting BladeSports. She even had fans there sporting her signature color pink and asking her to sign the tennis ball halves she sliced through. It is one of Jessica’s goals to be a positive role model and show young women that they can work hard and achieve their goals. She has spoken to different women’s groups about being involved in the sport and was featured on the Women’s Outdoor News site. She is passionate about promoting BladeSports and getting more women interested and involved in the sport. She is on the Board of Directors and is focused on spreading the word about the sport. She has worked hard to show that women can cut just as well, if not better, than the men.
Speaking of the men, a men’s only division will also be held that day with top competitors in both events earning points to qualify for the national competition to be held in Dallas, Texas in Spring 2016. Competitors run an obstacle course of events including cutting 2×4 boards, slicing rolling tennis balls, cutting thick rope, slicing water bottles, and dividing a straw lengthwise. Precision and timing matter with participants earning points for each completed activity which are deducted from overall time for a total score with the lowest score winning.
If you are not in the Oklahoma area and haven’t had the chance to see her in action, don’t worry you can check her out next week in Wintersville, Ohio with the rest of the LTWK crew! Her sponsor, L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives, will be hosting a remarkable day of competition during the BladeSports International Buckeye Cut on September 27th, 2015. So stop out and watch the competitors chop through wood, straws, and other items then come out to the shop on Sunday for an up-close look at all of the fun.
Photo Credits : Patrick J. Gibbs, William Echols & Vincent Tseng @2015
By Matt Hecker
When I was a young boy I was never allowed to have a BB gun, so I got a slingshot instead. I carried a slingshot almost everywhere I went for many years, and so did several of my friends. We spent countless hours in the woods, shooting anything that caught our attention. Over time, I began to appreciate unlimited, cheap ammo, the simplicity of the slingshot, and the satisfaction of hitting my target. I never missed that BB gun. I have very fond memories of those days, so when the opportunity to attend and cover the East Coast Slingshot Tournament for Woodsmonkey was offered to me, I gladly accepted.
The East Coast Slingshot Tournament is held annually at the East Huntingdon Sportsmen’s Association in Alverton, PA. This year, the event was held on June 5, 6, and 7, and my host for Saturday was Nathan Masters. He is the owner of SimpleShot Shooting Sports, a leading company in the modern slingshot industry. Nathan was accompanied by his fellow members of Team SimpleShot, a group of friendly people that simply love everything related to slingshots. He and his team traveled up from North Carolina for the event. My editor at Woodsmonkey, Tim Stetzer, met Nathan at PWYP (Practice What You Preach), which is a yearly camping retreat in North Carolina at which participants focus on outdoor survival and bushcraft practices. It was there that Tim found out about the yearly East Coast Slingshot Tournament. I contacted Nathan to get the details, and I began my research and preparation for the upcoming day. Much of what I read reminded me of my earlier days, and I quickly realized that slingshots are becoming more popular each year.
While talking to Nathan, I learned all about the resurgence in the popularity of slingshots. His company alone sells over 20 different types of slingshots, in addition to all different types of accessories. Modern slingshots are made of a variety of different materials, including exotic woods, micarta, G-10, high density polyethylene, and wood laminates. In the past several years, Nathan’s company has sold tens of thousands of slingshots, in addition to all types of accessories.
For the tournament, there were many events and happenings, but the 2 main attractions were the shooting range and the 3D walk-through-the-woods course.
The shooting range was for anyone who just wanted to relax and have fun shooting a variety of targets. Nathan walked me down to the range, where I met twenty or so people already shooting away. The range included many different types of targets to hit. There were large saw blades hanging from poles, a mechanically rotating set of targets, diamond-shaped spinner targets, traditional paper targets, and other random metal objects hanging from poles.
The first thing I noticed was the different types of slingshots each person preferred. There were large slingshots that extended forward from the shooting hand and a long brace that rested on the middle of the forearm. Others had more traditional models that were smaller and made in a “Y” shape with a regular simple handle. I also noticed that some shooters preferred to hold the “Y” vertically, while others held the “Y” at a 90 degree angle, or sideways.
For the ammunition, this group used steel ball bearings of varying size almost exclusively. They buy them in bulk, and reuse most of what they shoot. At the back of the shooting range, there were large sheets and blankets hung up to act as a backstop. Periodically, the group would stop shooting and retrieve the ball bearings using long sticks with magnets at the ends.
At the shooting range, I met several people that really have a passion for slingshots. Ray Bazonski, who has attended the tournament since 2010, traveled up from Georgia. He was the winner of the tournament in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Ray gave me some background information regarding the general style of slingshots. He explained that some shooters like slingshots that shoot the projectile through the “Y”. These are called “through the fork” slingshots. Others prefer a style called a “pickle fork” slingshot that has a very small “Y” fork, and the projectile flies over this small fork. Ray said he really enjoys coming to this tournament to be with others that share his passion and to learn from them.
Nathan also introduced me to Richard “Blue” Skeen, affectionately just called “Blue” by everyone there. He is considered to be one of the great legends in the slingshot community. “Blue” is from Virginia, and, even though he is in his early 80’s, he is still one of the best. “Blue” got his start in Michigan when someone at a conservation club introduced him to the slingshot. He says he got his greatest enjoyment from hunting small game with a slingshot. He told me he once harvested 57 squirrels in one year. Through the years, he was National Champion 5 times, appeared on the Wide World of Sports, and has attended countless slingshot tournaments and events. He has been shooting competitively since 1970. He also enjoys making traditional slingshots out of simple wood forks from branches.
I also met another slingshot enthusiast named Bill Hays, owner of a slingshot company named Pocket Predator Slingshots. Bill traveled from central Texas for this event, and this was his second year attending the East Coast Slingshot Tournament. He designs and makes all different types of slingshots which he sells and gives away. He also spent time with me talking about his passion for the sport, explaining that shooting slingshots provides a safer outlet for one’s desire to shoot. Bill invited me to tag along with him and a group of other shooters as they walked through the 3D course.
The 3D course and the other accuracy shoots were the main events for the competitors. The course consisted of 30 separate targets located at various points along a winding trail in the woods. Each shooter had to stand in the same location, and they had one chance to hit a metal target in the shape of a turkey, a pig, or some other animal. If they hit the target, they got a point. In addition, there were other events that were scored, such as 5 shots at 70 yards, 5 shots at 40 yards, a standard and expert target at 11 yards, a 25 yard target, and a timed can shoot at 11 yards. Points for the 3D course and the other shoots were added up to create a final score. Nathan Masters came in first place with a score of 135. Ray Bazonski came in second place with a score of 129, and Bill Hays came in third with a score of 128.
After our walk through the 3D course, I got to do some shooting of my own at the range. Nathan gave me some pointers, and away I went. Memories from my childhood came rushing back, and I couldn’t help but have an appreciation for this popular sport and the people I met. Overall, I had a great time. Everyone I met was friendly and laid back. I learned a lot from everyone who took the time to talk to me. If you are interested in anything related to slingshots and shooting, you should attend the next East Coast Slingshot Tournament in early summer of 2016.
Check out Nathan Masters and his company at www.simple-shot.com.
Bill Hays and his company can be found at www.pocketpredator.com.
Click through to see more pics from the Tournament
By Jessica Elias
You hear your name being announced and you step up to the table to grab your knife. Your palms get a little sweaty. You look around and see the hundreds of people in the stands. Everyone is cheering you on while you go to unsheathe your knife making sure it is clear to cut. Your heart starts beating faster as you take a step closer to the 2×4. All of a sudden you’re off, chopping away! Slicing through straws, ripping through rope, and hammering away at the 2x4s. You feel as if hours have passed, yet when you finish the obstacle a little out of breath you realize it has only been a couple of minutes.
That’s how it felt for me when I attended the 2015 National BladeSports Cutting Competition. It was a beautiful day at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. There were 7 competitors in this competition. It was a two round cut, so they averaged the points of each cut to figure the totals. There were 2×4 chips flying, rope swinging, water bottles breaking, and hockey pucks splitting! This was definitely an eventful day and amazing time. Donavon Phillips was announcing each contestant and talking to the crowd with questions and answers. Lots of spectators won prizes from the sponsors and were filled in with some interesting trivia.
This cut was a little different from the rest. There were world champions, record breakers and long time skilled cutters. One thing that was different this time around was they introduced something other than just a surprise cut. They introduced me, the first female to ever compete at a National level. Yes, that’s right as I walked up in my bright pink shirt with my LTWK sponsored logo on it. I was very excited and nervous all at the same time. It definitely could have been intimidating for me but I overcome that right at the start after I met the other contestants and saw how awesome they all were. They took me in like I was no different. I got a really good view of what BladeSports really is about. It is about helping one another enjoy what they are passionate about. Whether they are knife makers, love to cut, or just know how to make things look pretty like what I do. I found out it wasn’t hard to fit in with a dedicated crew that BladeSports represents.
So back to me, I ended up finishing and qualifying for the World Championship in Atlanta, GA during the 2015 Blade Show. I will be the first woman to compete at the Worlds level and I am so looking forward to it. I have been practicing and getting advice from fellow cutters. I really hope to make a stand and show that women can do this too. I would love to get more men and women involved in this awesome sport!
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about BladeSports please go to www.bladesports.org to find out more information on how to get involved.