IKTHOF Inductees 2004

Instructor of the Year

Don Salyers was born in 1946 and got his first pocket knife five years later.  He started playing mumbly-peg with his older brother that afternoon.  Mr. Salyers has been throwing ever since.  After meeting Bob Karp in the 1990's, Don began to help with his seminars and according to Bob Karp, has taught at least 1000 people to throw knives.  In contests, he usually comes in 2nd or 3rd, but that is not his real area of interest.  Mr. Salyers enjoys working with beginners best.  He hopes to continue doing so for a long time.
Silver Life Achievement Award

Robert D. Karp-"Throwing for me began as a very young lad.  I watched my father, "Big Bob" Karp, pitch every conceivable throwing implement one might think of.  Naturally, I wanted to emulate Dad, and after over thirty years, his lessons on knife throwing, firearms safety and love of the great outdoors are ideas I am imparting to my son, who listens intently when his grandpa speaks.  It has been my great pleasure to help instruct students at IKTA seminars where we taught police personnel, military men, martial arts students and a variety of people with an interest in this sport.  The IKTA was formed in anticipation of competition.  I was pleased to participate in 1998 at Stateline, NV., throwing with people who shared our family's passion for the sport.  The participants were accomplished throwers, and the competition gets keener every year.  Some time soon I hope to throw with these gentlemen again, as I still love to throw.  Gentlemen, I very much appreciate your recognition for this honor, and rest assured, the admiration is mutual."

Knife Throwing Pioneer Award

Leonard Werner was born in 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He says that he has always had a fascination for knives.  Mr. Werner has been making knives since the 30's.  He first began with old files and butcher knives, but also carved knives out of wood and took them to a blacksmith for production.  Mr. Werner has made patch, Bowie, hunting and folding knives, all of his own design, sharpened and polished to perfection with handles made of water buffalo horn or quality wood.  He makes each knife from scratch, cutting his own designs from spring steel then tempering the metal to his own specifications.  In 1971, Mr. Werner was exposed to Mountain Man Rendezvous.  He began making throwing knives and learning to throw.  His first throwing knife had handles made of synthetic durable material tough enough to handle the wear and tear of throwing.  Later, he used thick shoe leather for handles to comply with authenticity of the Mountain Man historic period.  He worked to find the best shape, weight, and balance for throwing.  He took advantage of the natural beauty of rust that pitted the metal rather than sharpening and polishing the knife.  He began to experiment with the shape and weight creating an unusual but functional and balanced throwing knife.  Mr. Werner says, "I have enjoyed making and throwing knives for many years.  It is people like Bob Karp who make throwing and making knives a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor.  Thank you for considering me for the IKTHOF.  It is truly an honor."


State Champion of the Year Award

Johnny"Hogback" Poole-"With the purchase of an old log cabin high in the Rocky Mountains, I had the good fortune to cross the path of Mike "Ironpost" Kolisch in 1994. With my own respect for the Mountain Man era, it wasn't long before he had me throwing knives and tomahawks.  From his helpful hints, I've been able to be in the money in every throw since 1999, topping off with 2nd place Overall Rocky Mountain Challenge 2000, 2nd Overall Texas State Champion 2004, and 1st place Overall Rocky Mountain Challenge 2002 & 2004."

International Knife Thrower of the Year

Mike "Alamo" Bainton, Ph.D.-In 2003, 2004, and 2005, Dr. Bainton was the uncontested Overall Knife Throwing World Champion and missed the 2006 World Championship by one point (won by Bob "Old Dog" Pyle).  In addition to the three World Championships, as of March 10, 2007, he has 35 first place wins and numerous second place wins, making him the most prolific thrower in the history of knife throwing.  He is the only thrower to make a PERFECT score in impalement while at the World Championships in Claremore, OK.  He is listed in the 2008 Guiness Book of World Records as the Most Knife Throwing World Titles Won.  However, Dr. Bainton's greatest pride comes from the 130+ children that attend his award winning after-school martial arts program.  Now in its 15th year of successful operation, South Austin Karate has become a touchstone by which other martial art schools and after-school programs are judged.  By teaching the students life long values like respect for family and responsibility for education, he is creating a reward for himself and the community that will outlive any other honor he has or may achieve in his life.


Outstanding Female Competitor Award

Erica Weems was introduced into knife and tomahawk throwing when she was 15.  She started throwing in the backyard with her father for fun and with his encouragement, she decided to enter into professional competition along with him.  Starting in 2000, she entered the Rocky Mountain Challenge in the professional women's division and won second place.  At her next competition, she won first in the knife and second in the hawk and was overall winner as the Women's Texas State Champion in 2001.  Since that time, she has become a three-time Texas State Champion winning again in 2003 and 2004.  She is also two-time champion at Fort Martin Scott in Fredericksburg, TX., in 2002 and 2003.  She's been runner-up at the Rocky Mountain Challenge for four years.  Erica primarily throws in Mountain Man style competitions and enjoys traveling the different parts of the country to compete along with her family and friends.  She is a member of the Cedar Creek Knife and Hawk Club of Malakoff, TX., which hosts the Texas State Championships each year.  Erica is a sophomore at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, TX., where she is a member of the Seven-time National Champion Cheerleading Squad.  She also enjoys spending time with her fiance', Cody Molock.


Knife Maker of the Year Award

Jeff Koch-"I began my serious interest in knife throwing in 1976 at the age of 24 when I attended a black powder shoot and observed some buckskinners throwing axes.  I obtained one and after learning to stick it, I wanted to throw a knife.  My first experience with a high quality throwing knife came the following year when I ordered some Tru-Bal throwing knives from Harry McEvoy along with his book and instructions.  This set the stage for many years of throwing satisfaction.  In 1981, I saw Paul LaCross throw at our local Cattle Congress Fair.  In 1991, I saw Dan Dennehy and Harry McEvoy throw at the Blade Show in Knoxville, TN.  In 1995, I got some equipment and made some designs of my own.  In 1996, I attended an AKTA contest organized by Bobby Branton.  There I met many dedicated throwers and witnessed an awesome knife throwing performance by Che Che Whitecloud.  In 1999, I retired from John Deere in Waterloo, IA. after many years of chipping, grinding, hammering, and machining tractor parts.  In 2000 and for a period of time I sold knives on Scott Gracia's "The Great Throwzini" website and my hobby blossomed."


Golden Lifetime Achievement Award

Richard Haines began to have an interest in throwing about the same time that his mother noticed her butcher knife handles weren't made the way they used to be.  His dad figured it out when he noticed his favorite cherry tree was leaking.  Dick had seen Sylvester and Barbara Braun on tour with a very impressive act.  Dick's show experience includes producing many coliseum shows as The Haines Family Circus.  Their show included The Sky Merchants High Wire with Mr. Haines in the back of the pyramid, his magic act, fire eating, whips, and of course, knife throwing.  Mr. Haines' show was the very first circus show in the convention complex in Columbus, OH., with his talents as well his sons' unique show, jugglers, and animal acts, etc.  Having studied and practiced several different professional throwing styles he is able to coach whichever technique seems to be best suited to each student; whether it is McEvoy's thumb on top, Bob Karp's blade shift, Joe "Brokenfeather" Darrah's low crouching throw and his "dart" throw, as well as other great throwers.  Years ago, Dick was sending some of his better throwers to the late, great, Harry McEvoy for throwing knives and some free lessons.  In the previous year Dick has given lessons to over 130 different people, most of who were Boy Scouts.  Dick uses the Wheel of Death, throws from a rola-bola, and throws through his own lariat loop, and sometimes all three at the same time.  He has also thrown for "The Great Throwdini" to practice his blade catch.  Dick says that his visit with Pat Minter may have made him the most stubborn thrower that Adamovich has ever seen.  McEvoy and Burl Carl have had a great influence on his designing knives, and Che Che Whitecloud has him convinced that there is no time to ever give up.  Dick would like to thank "Brokenfeather" for the nomination, and the IKTHOF for this great honor."


Knife Throwing Pioneer Award

Lawrence "Chief Whitecloud" Pierce was born on the Seneca Alleghany Indian Reservation at Salamanca, N.Y..  The Pierce homestead was comprised of family Native American entertainers.  It was there Lawrence learned the skills he would use throughout his life.  He later became better known as Chief Whitecloud and performed feats of sharp shooting:  battle axe, knife and tomahawk throwing at human targets.  He was also well known for his skill with whips, rope spinning and trick riding.  He was the teacher of Che Che Whitecloud and his sister Diane, who have continued the traditions of making their living performing these dangerous arts started 225 years ago.

Outstanding Knife Thrower of the 20th Century

Kenneth "Che Che Whitecloud" Pierce is known nationwide as a true pioneer of knife throwing.  With over 68 years of professional performances including throwing in early film, stage performances, the "birth" of Las Vegas, and before thousands of audiences.  "Che Che Whitecloud" is a third generation professional impalement artist who began throwing before the age of 10.  A guiding force in the world of knife throwing, Mr. Pierce has donated his time, money and energies into his commitment that the art of knife throwing should be preserved and taught in the USA.  He tours the nationa ll year promoting the arrt and the sport-at his expense-for the preservation of the art.  Kenneth Pierce is also a distinguished citizen in the state of New York, receiving the special "KNIFE1" license plate from the governor of New York.  Even at the age of 77, "Che Che Whitecloud" is still a professional impalement artist.  "Che Che Whitecloud" is also receiving the 2004 Knife Throwing Pioneer Award.


Special Recognition as a Thrower and Performer Award

Thomas "Thomi Hawk" Hickey was born October 6, 1962 in Mt. Vernon, N.Y.  As a child, Thomi played army and cowboys and Indians with his buddies, mimicking the knife throwers they saw in movies.  This would all be nothing but play until Thomi turned 13, when he joined a reenactment group where he learned to throw real knives and tomahawks.  Thomi spent many years honing his tomahawk throwing skills.  He constantly entertained his friends, family, and spectators who attended the many reenactments.  After winning most every contest he entered, Thomi decided to take a break from competitions.  Thomi spent ten years expanding his interests in raising wolves, riding Harley's and trying his hand at cowboy action shooting.  One day the phone rang with yet another opportunity to showcase his many talents.  Thomi then found himself performing with a Wild West Production Company, the Frontier Riders.  It proved to be a very busy year in 1996 with his new career and the birth of his first daughter.  In the last nine years, Thomi has performed all over the US and upon the high seas.  During this time he has had the opportunity to meet and befriend some of the best performers in the Wild West and Knife Throwing World.  Constantly traveling and doing shows, Thomi cherishes his time at home with his wife Geryl and their two daughters, Jessie and Lacey.  It seems grass does not grow under Thomi's feet; he is always practicing and adding new skills to his already perfected stage performance.  As well as knives and tomahawks, Thomi also throws stars, throwing rings, spikes, hatchets, axes, and steel cards and is skilled in trick and fancy gun spinning, bull whipping, fast and fancy Hollywood draws and trick shooting.  As if that is not enough to take up his time, his girls want to learn all of these skills.  Thomi is very proud to teach them and strongly feels that these skills must be passed on to the next generation so none of the old Western skills become a dying art.  Che Che Whitecloud has been quoted as saying, "Thomi Hawk is the best tomahawk thrower I have ever seen."


Knife Thrower of the Year

Bobby Branton-As a young man growing up in rural South Carolina, Mr. Branton developed a passion for knives that has stayed with him throughout his adult life.  In his younger years, knives were tools for skinning game, filleting fish, and for throwing as a means of entertainment.  In 1983, he discovered some custom knives in a local shop and was amazed by the beauty and craftsmanship of those handcrafted blades and started his own collection.  After constant reading, research, and collecting knives, he reconstructed his shop in order to create these treasured handcrafted knives.  Bobby met legendary blademaker Harry McEvoy in 1987.  Mr. McEvoy taught him the fine art of handcrafting throwing knives and he also helped design Bobby's first series of throwing knives.  Mr. Branton has since designed several models of throwing knives that have been used to win major knife throwing competitions across the country.  In 1996, with the help of Stephen McEvoy, Kenneth Pierce, his wife Nancy, and a few close friends, Bobby reorganized the American Knife Throwers Alliance and held what has been arguably the first knife and tomahawk "only" contest in over 20 years.  Mr. Branton has been promoting the art of knife throwing by giving seminars on the subject since 1996.  Also in 1996, Mr. Branton was awarded the South Carolina State Folk Heritage Award for work in bladesmithing and for preserving the traditions of South Carolina.  Mr. Branton has handcrafted knives for such greats as Paul LaCross, Che Che Whitecloud, Larry Cisewski, former South Carolina Carroll Campbell, and former Texas Governor and current President of the United States, George W. Bush.

Golden Life Achievement Award

Douglas "Chief Thundercloud" Waldorff was a charismatic leader who influenced tens of thousands of admirers in several different fields.  Whether lecturing to an audience of university professors about Indians, performing on stage, or telling a story to a group of kids around a campfire, Waldorff took center stage with enthusiasm, authority and dignity.  As he spoke, he put the listeners into the midst of the action with a voice that was deep, strong, and clear as a bell.  His attention to detail was amazing, his accuracy of facts was impeccable, and his concern for Indians and environmental issues ran very deep.  Here was a man who knew where he was coming from and where he was going.  If you didn't hold onto your seat, you'd get swept along, too.  Mr. Waldorff rose to national prominence in the 1960's as "Chief Thundercloud," one of the nation's top Wild West Show Performers, right up there with Lash La Rue, Chief A.J., and Che Che Whitecloud.  He stunned audiences with his knife throwing, bull whip tricks, trick shooting with both bow and arrow and guns, and other feats.  Waldorff was also a superior knife thrower, performing all the standard tricks, including outlining his cute Indian assistant while she stood with arms outstretched against a circle of wood.  After the throwing, she would step away completely unhurt and the audiences would go wild.  He never had a mishap.  Doug also threw multiple blades.  He'd start with one, showing his accuracy, then 2, then 3, 4, and finally 5 at once, all sticking.  Few throwers today can do that.  In addition to his work as "Chief Thundercloud," Doug Waldorff also wore various hats of firefighter, conductor of a concert orchestra, a rodeo trick rider, a radio and TV announcer, a minister, a High Priest, a scoutmaster, an archeologist, an actor, the director of two living Indian Village/Museums, an author, and a multi-media technician and programmer.

National Champion of the Year Award

Bob "Sourdough" Pyle started throwing in 1995.  First competed in the Rocky Mountain National Championship held in Alpine, WY., placing second.

1997   Rocky Mountain Overall Champion
2001   Texas Champion-Hawk
         Rocky Mountain Champion-Knife
2002   Texas Champion-Hawk
         Rocky Mountain Champion-Knife
2003   Fort Scott, Texas Champion-Overall
         Rocky Mountain Champion
2004   Rocky Mountain Champion-Knife

Dale Tate is a pioneer knife thrower, throwing and competing for well over 20 years.  He has won more competitions than can be listed, an indication of his finely honed ability.  Mr. Tate is a driving force behind knife throwing and is responsible for keeping the Rocky Mountain Championship throw alive.  He is also a knife and hawk maker in his own right.  He truly has kept the spirit of throwing alive for many a mountain man reenactor and rendezvouers.

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