Thursday, June 15, 2006

What is "World Championship Blacksmiths"?

We'll soon find out!
June 19th is the day set for unveiling of the new member-based organization designed at upgrading farrier competitions in the United States. Headed by farrier Craig Trnka of New Mexico and AFA Education Director Jill Ballard, World Championship Blacksmithis (WCB) has an ambitious plan to run regional farrier qualifiers leading to a national championship beginning in 2007.

Until the name catches on, I am sure that this will be called "the competitors' association" but it is more than that.

Among their plans are to use stations provided by the promoters, a la Calgary Stampede's farrier contest, so farriers will not need to bring trucks and anvils to a contest site. The stations will be owned by WCB and moved from site to site.

According to Jill, "The organization is kicking off the 2007 season with a preview competition in Edgewood, New Mexico on September 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, 2006. The first year's regional competitions are slated for Bossier City, LA; Durango, CO; Dillon, MT; West Springfield, MA; and Atlanta, GA." A "Super Clinic" is scheduled for the weekend of January 11.

The Massachusetts event will be held as part of the Equine Affaire horse expo.

Principles of the LLC (Limited Liability Corporation--not a non-profit organization) are three farrier-and-wife teams: Craig and Chris Trnka of New Mexico, Jeff and Julie Ridley of Iowa, and Kyle and Jill Ballard of Nebraska.

Rumors that WBC intends to take over the AFA are premature, according to the authorities I interviewed this week.

I did question Myron McLane, chairman of the American Farrier's Association's Rules Committee, which makes him the de facto czar of the AFA's competition. On June 11, Myron said, "I can't tell you what (WCB's) plans are but I am the chairman of the rules committee and the rules committee runs the AFA contest. I can't comment on rumors. If anyone has questions about the contest in Albuquerque they can contact me at 508-678-0117. We also welcome new ideas and input on the contest from any AFA member."

AFA Acting Executive Director Mike Nolan told me on June 13, "I have been in touch with WBC and urged them to come to the AFA with specifics and how their plans impact the AFA."

A full article with information directly from WCB will be posted on in the next day or so.

By the way, Jill Ballard asked me to convey the important information that she is still working for the AFA, as well as for WCB.

The WCB web site will go live on the 19th; URL is