Monday, June 19, 2006

The Irony of Farrier Competitions....International Role Reversal?

Is it me, or does anyone else see the irony in the announcement by the new corporate farrier competition group, World Championship Blacksmiths, and a recent report on a big competition in the UK?

WCB is promoting the fact that their regional competitions (and presumably their national championship) will be conducted in rounds, using ten "permanent" stations so farrier competitors can fly in and not need their trucks. On the education side, farriers not in a given round can watch the others, something that competitors currently cannot do when they all compete at once.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Billy Crothers of Handmade Horse Shoes boasts of more than 60 competitors at his recent competition. Impressive...but Billy didn't provide permanent forges and anvils. It was a "bring your own" affair, and what's more, everyone was hammering away at the same time, "American-style", from the backs of 64 rigs and vans.

The UK is known for competitions that stress the actual shoeing of a horse, along with the making of a specimen shoe, and the USA is known for shoemaking contests. Is that changing? Will American judges start wearing white coats next?