IKTHOF Inductees 2006

Pinnacle Award of Success

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, Ohio, with his talents as well as his sons' unicycle 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 whom were Boy Scouts.  Dick uses the Wheel of Death, throws from a rola-bola, and throws 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 not time to ever give up.  Dick would like to thank "Brokenfeather" for the nomination, and the IKTHOF for this great honor.


Native American Patriarch of Knife Throwing

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 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.
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, where he was going, and if you didn't hold onto your seat, you'd get swept along, too.  Doug 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 out with one, showing his accuracy, then throw 2, then 3, 4, and finally 5 all at once, all sticking.  Few throwers can do that today.  In addition to his work as "Chief Thundercloud," Doug Waldorff also wore various hats of firefighter, a conductor of 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 later,  a multi-media technician and programmer. 


The Che Che Whitecloud Native American Achievement Award

Joe "Brokenfeather" Darrah was born in 1957 in Bryn Mawr, PA., and was introduced to knife throwing at the age of 5 by his father, who as an ex-Airborne Ranger with the 101st Airborne was pretty good with his M-4 trench knife.  At the age of 7, his brother-in-law gave him a set of 3 throwing knives and I was off to the races with throwing.  He took the knives everywhere and when sleeping they weren't very far away.  Joseph Darrah has been throwing ever since.  At the age of 19 he was hired as a Knife Thrower and Bullwhip artist with a small traveling circus.  "This was also about the time I contacted and stayed in touch with Harry McEvoy, who helped me design the first knife I had marketed," related Darrah.  "I also became the area director of the AKTA with a charter for my knife throwing club (True Flite Knife Throwing Team) granted by Harry McEvoy.  I had never competed in a knife throwing tournament until visiting with John Bailey and David Adamovich.  Both of them said I was a good thrower and that I should compete.  I went to my first tournament up in Maine in September of 2002 where I took several first places in different events and since then I have traveled all over the country competing in tournaments and doing pretty well with mostly 2nd or 1st places."  "Brokenfeather" started making his own line of knives and has enjoyed the opportunity to have made some lifelong friends and met some of the nicest folks in the world.  "I am honored by being nominated for IKTHOF and I would like to thank everyone who I've ever thrown with and all of the people present for this historic occasion."


Knife Maker of the Year

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.
Dan Dennehy Mountain Man Award

Roy "Moses" Neal has been involved in knife throwing for 4 years, but his love for the history of the knife has gone on for many more than that.  He has yearned to know the history and lifestyle of the early pioneers of our nation.  His expertise centers around the Mountain Man era and rendezvous' of this time period.  He loves teaching and passing on the traditions of the pioneers of knife and hawk competition.  Roy has been actively competing in knife throwing for 4 years, participating in area, state, and national competitions.  Among his accomplishments is the title of 2001 Rocky Mountain Challenge Champion.  Also in 2001, he won top honors at the Thanksgiving Challenge held in Fredericksburg, TX.  The year 2002 brought several new titles, including Texas State Knife/Hawk Champion, first place in the Central USA Hawk competition, and second place knife in the Central USA Knife Throwing Championships.
International Knife Throwing Champion of the Year

Bob "Sourdough" Pyle started throwing in 1995.  First competed in the Rocky Mountain National Championship held in Alpine, WY., and placed 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
2006  International Knife Throwing Champion

Pinnacle Award of Success

Scott "Throwzini" Gracia is the proprietor of "The Great Throwzini" website as well as editor of "The Great Throwzini" newsletter.  Mr. Gracia says, "I was first introduced to throwing when I was about 10 years old.  I used to love watching the old karate movies with the bad acting and dubbed voices!  Quite a few years later when the Internet took off.  I found tons of other people, just like me, that loved to throw!  After soaking up as much knowledge as I could, I decided to start a website of my own about the sport to share all the things I was learning.  Soon I was getting so much information I had to find another way to share it so I started an online newsletter.  Upcoming events, new clubs, tips, tricks, techniques and games are some of the topics covered.  Since all of this began I have met some of the best people in the world!  Knife throwers are a rare bunch of folks who are always willing to share information and advice.  Thank you ALL for everything!  Knife Throwing is good for the soul!!!"  Scott Gracia's role as an outstanding instructor, retailer and publisher has made him the recipient of the 2003 "Knife Promoter of the Year."  101 Free Knife Throwing Tips  www.throwzini.com


National Knife Throwing Entertainer of the Year

Todd "Jack Dagger" Abrams-Growing up in Baton Rouge, LA., Todd made a backyard hobby out of throwing screwdrivers into the dirt.  Eventually, he obtained his first real throwing knife from the master designer Harry McEvoy in 1990.  As a recreational backyard thrower, Todd has organized both the Baton Rouge Knife and Axe Throwers Club and the LA Daggers.  Many of his students are very young, and he teaches knife throwing as a fun, safe, confidence building exercise.  Since he moved to Los Angeles in January 2003, Todd has performed in hundreds of shows, made several international television appearances, won several national championships, and holds the current record high score in both the tomahawk event and speed knife throwing.  Watch Todd throw an array of pointed implements within a hair's breadth of his beautiful assistant, finishing with his signature flower-cut.  The legendary Carol Ballantine, after seeing Todd perform at the Steve Allen Theater in 2005, turned to the resident director, Amit Ittleman, and said, "Now THAT's Vaudville!"
Pinnacle Award of Success

Bob "Master of the Blade" Karp began his love of knife throwing at a very early age.  His first knives were actually bayonets that his father had accumulated from different countries after WWII.  The bayonets were all different lengths, weights, and shapes, which accounts for his ability to accurately throw with a blade, including axes and tomahawks.  Over four decades later, Bob has earned the respect of his peers for his knowledge in the art of the blade.  He is well admired throughout the martial arts industry, in which he also teaches and performs.  His students are as different and unique as his throwing.  They range from judges to cowboys and children to movie and television personalities.  In Bob's opinion, there is nothing more gratifying than teaching others the art of knife throwing.  Bob has spent many years designing a line of knives that, in his opinion, are the ultimate in throwing knives.  Bob Karp is a director of the International Alliance of Knife Throwing, a member of the Arizona Knife Collectors Association of Phoenix, Arizona, and a member of the Wild West Arts Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.
National Mountain Man Competitor 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 it off with:"
2nd Overall-Rocky Mountain Challenge 2000
2nd Overall-Texas State Champion 2004
1st Overall-Rocky Mountain Challenge 2002, 2004

National Knife Maker of the Year

Norman Schenk began forging Damascus steel in his garage in 1993.  His business produces the largest supply of hand finished Damascus steel blades in the country.  Schenk's passion for knife making began at Brigham Young University in 1973 while working on his B.S. degree.  During his college years, he had the opportunity to work with some of the top knife makers in the world.  These knife makers strongly influenced his knife making passion.  In 1992, he was mentored by Ed Fowler of Riverton, WY., who is the current field editor of Blade Magazine, a prestigious publication in the industry.  Additional mentoring was given to Schenk by Devin Thomas of Nevada, the top Damascus smith in the world at the time, according to Schenk.  For Schenck, a life of training by some of the best custom knife smiths and makers, has sharpened his edge in his industry.  In 1992, Schenk began setting up the company by collecting all the old blacksmithing equipment he could find, steel, and the necessary forge tools.  Currently, Two Finger Knife is the world leader in finished Damascus blades.  Schenk recently partnered with Wayne Campbell, a local businessman and they moved into a new building in early April.  Annually, Schenk says they produce between 10 and 15 thousand blades.  In 2003, they won an award at the International Cutlery Show in Atlanta, GA.  The "Best Sword of Show" is a prestigious international award.  Two Finger Knife has 12 associates with plans to expand production after moving into the new spacious manufacturing plant.  Two Finger Knife does more than make knife blades.  Orders for sword blades, salt-bath heat treating services, knife sharpening, knife repairs and free advice are given out daily.  They also sharpen jointer and shearer blades on their new automatic grinder.


National Competitor of the Year

Chuck "Walking Eagle" Weems has been throwing for about 7 years, working primarily in the Mountain Man style and participating in primitive rendezvous.  Over the past 5 years, he has began promoting, teaching, and demonstrating the art of knife throwing.  Chuck Weems organized the Texas State Knife and Tomahawk Championship in Canton, Texas.  He is now the current President of the Cedar Creek Knife and Hawk Club (CCKH) and coordinates and promotes the State Championship in Malakoff, Texas.  Since his beginning as tournament promoter, the State championship has escalated into one of the finest in the nation.  The CCKH does various demonstrations for service groups and organizations.  Chuck Weems has also done demonstrations for places like Traders Village in Houston, Texas and Grand Prairie, Texas.  "Walking Eagle" enjoys teaching and introducing new members to the sport of knife throwing.  He enjoys knife throwing in general because it is something that you can do at home in your backyard, and because it is a family sport that can be enjoyed by anyone.  In fact, his daughter, Erica Weems, is the two-time Texas State Champion and the current Texas State Champion and the Fort Martin Scott Champion of Fredericksburg, Texas.


Golden Life Achievement Award

Capt. John Painter, Ph.D. is one of the pioneers of Chinese internal martial arts in the United States.  He has been learning and practicing Jiulong Baguazhang, Taijiquan and Xingyiquan from the Li family's system as far as back as 1953.  That is long before the general public had heard of karate or judo.  Chinese martial arts were almost totally unknown except to a select few Chinese living on both coasts.  There were few, if any, books written on oriental martial arts of any kind in the United States when young John began training with his instructor, Master Li Longdao.  John Painter was born in East Texas during the 1940's.  He almost died at birth from serious medical complications.  Until the age of 13, John suffered a series of one illness after another.  As a weak, sickly child, he was unable to participate in many of the sports that other boys engaged in.  Shortly after his 13th birthday, John was introduced to the teachings of an elderly Chinese gentleman.  It turned out that this gentleman was a Chinese internal martial arts master.  His family had moved in next to the Painters.  Mr. Frank Li (Li Longdao) had been well respected in China's Sichuan province as a scholar and martial arts bodyguard before the Communist revolution.


Golden Lifetime Achievement Award

George E. Vaughan-George was a Cherokee born in Tennessee.  He lived and worked as a lumber jack, hunter, guide, actor, stunt man, and as a Sergeant of the famed "Moccasin Raiders" in WWII.  In the years after the war, he worked in a very successful construction business with his knife and tomahawk act as a side line.  He finally went on to work full time as a very successful knife thrower.  George's Native American name was "Grey Otter" but everyone called him "Skeeter."  When he was 12, he was already working as a lumber jack in Oregon.  One day, a 225 pound foreman held back a 10 dollar bill from the 110 pound George, telling him to come and take it if he was man enough.  George turned and started to walk away, but turned back and threw his belt knife into a tree-just 3 inches from the foreman's head.  As the foreman pulled the knife from the tree, George pulled his boot knife.  The frightened foreman threw the 10 dollar bill on the ground and left.  One of the other lumber jacks who had seen the whole encounter laughed and said, "For a little Skeeter, he sure carries a big stinger."  "Skeeter's" roll in WWII earned him the honor of the longest successful combat knife throw ever recorded.  His job was to take out a German bunker sentry.  It was do or die, and he did it!  His team walked each bunker, pulled the pins from their grenades, and gently knocked on the door of each bunker.  The soldiers inside opened their doors only to find their rooms full of exploding grenades.  His throw was measured the next day as a miraculous 87 feet!  As a result of his heroic action, thousands of American lives were spared.  He became Chief of the Federated Indian Tribes.  He died on March 8, 1989.  He has been inducted into the "Stuntman's Hall of Fame."  We are proud to honor him with induction into the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame.


Western Performing Arts Family of the Year

Dan, Kim, and Cody Mink-The Rhinestone Roper Show features the Mink family (Dan, Kimberly, and 9 year old Cody) from Jerome, Idaho.  The Minks have thrilled audiences from coast to coast with their award winning trick roping, bullwhip cracking, knife throwing, gun spinning, and quick draw shooting.  The show also includes amazing tricks by Lucky Joe the Trick Horse.  Some of the Minks' notable achievements include Kimberly's three-time World Championship and current Guiness World Record in the Women's Big Loop and featured appearance on Ripley's Believe It or Not! spinning a big loop around 15 steers at one time.  Nine year old Cody was named Most Promising Young Roper at the 2003 International Wild West Arts Competition in Las Vegas.  Dan was chosen by the Fox Network to appear on the TV show 30 Seconds to Fame in Hollywood, CA.
Special Recognition Award

"SpEcIaL Ed" Imperatore-Ed Imperatore has been throwing knives since he was a kid growing up in South Jersey.  At a young age, he-like many other throwers and would be throwers-had gotten into trouble by taking Mom's kitchen knives out and destroying them by throwing them at any piece of wood that wasn't nailed down and some that were!  Mr. Imperatore also spent alot of time as a team member in both Pool leagues and Dart teams, excelling in his inimitable style as his exceptional eye-hand coordination set him apart from the average player.  Ed has been throwing competitively now for the last few years and has distinguised himself as an excellent thrower and an integral part of the knife throwing community as well as a very active member of the Board of Directors of the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame Association as well as the Director of the N.J. SATE IKTHOF Knife Throw held in Netcong, N.J.  More recently, Ed turned his talents towards design and manufacture of some really fine designs in throwing knives.  His Jersey Bowie is a true state of the art Mountain Man style thrower worthy of the name Bowie.  He is also working on some other designs and is going to be an influential part of the IKTHOF moving well into the 21st century!


National Knife Maker of the Year

Tom Enos was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, where he graduated from the University of Tampa.  He earned his B.S. degree in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics and went to work in the Aerospace Industry at Cape Canaveral in the early 1960's.  He worked on the Saturn Rocket Engine and later the Moon Launch Project.  He also worked for:  Martin Orlando, TCA, Chrysler, STL, and ILS.  One day, while on a break from an overseas project, he stopped in at Randall Made Knives in Orlando to purchase a Randall knife.  His old friend, Pete Hamilton, who was the shop foreman, invited Tom to come to work for Randall, the requirement being that Tom would be able to grind a straight line on a round wheel.  It took Tom a few weeks but he finally learned the art and worked at Randall Made Knives for about a year then decided to give knife making a try on his own.  Tom converted his airplane hangar into a metal-working shop.  In 1973, he began marketing his own knives under his trademark:  his name inside a Bowie outline.  He considers knife making an art form; he likes creating unique designs and making everything from throwing knives to swords, and miniatures to hunting and kitchen knives.  Over 1760 knives of every type have been made and sold under his trademark.  This trademark, the year, the steel type and serial lifetime guarantee are acid etched on the right side of all his work.  He has never had any returns except for repairs which he is happy to do for his customers.  Now he only does a lmited number of special requests as he has slowed down on knife production to enjoy his other hobbies.


Pioneer Award

Paul LaCross was billed as the "World's Fastest, Fanciest Gunslinger, Knife and Tomahawk Thrower."  Paul's interest in knife and hatchet throwing and sharp shooting began in the Boy Scouts.  His turning point came when his father took him to a sportsmen's show.  There was an act with a cowboy showing his skills with guns and knives.  Paul told his father, "I'm just as good as he is, Pa."  His dad replied, "You're better, Son," and Paul was on his way to an exciting, profitable life that took him to many countries all over the world.  Paul's television credits include:  The Merv Griffin Show, Thrill Seekers with Chuck Connors, The Mike Douglas Show, What's My Line, To Tell The Truth, and Circus of Stars, in which movie actress Linda Blair was his assistant/target.  Paul's act is the only one of its kind ever to perform in Carnegie Hall in New York City and Massy Hall in Toronto, Canada.  Paul's major foreign performances included:  Russia with the United States Circus under the Cultural Exchange Program between the United States and U.S.S.R., Expo 70 in Japan, The Major Arena attraction at the 1977 Auckland, New Zealand Easter show, and numerous locations throughout Canada.  Paul was also a strong advocate of getting people to learn the art of knife throwing.  In the 1965 special issue of The Knife Thrower, the Tru-Flite Knife Thrower of America official bi-monthly newsletter, he wrote an informative article on the basic fundamentals to become a proficient knife thrower.  Paul LaCross passed away in August 1993 at the age of 78. 


International Achievement Award

James "Cetan Mani" Ruffley was born in Liverpool, England on December 22, 1944 into a fifth generation family of performers with roots in the Buffalo Bill Wild West show.  Known to his friends as Jay, he has been in show biz since the age of three.  His interest in knife throwing grew after a trip to the circus at the age of eight.  As soon as he returned home, he acquired a set of fish knives and began to throw them at cardboard targets his father made.  Jay also became a master of the English Long bow and went on to win many championships including an acknowledgement by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1983.  Jay found a way to incorporate knife throwing, archery, and comedy into his impalement act, which he has performed all over the world from England to Europe to the Middle East.  The English Entertainers Stage newspaper once described his act as the Charlie Chaplin of knife throwing.  He has also appeared in numerous television shows and movies.  Jay and his family moved to Florida in 1990, where he still resides, to perform in the Wild Bill's Wild West Dinner show where he performed seven nights a week for ten years throwing knives and shooting arrows at his children Wayne, James, and Sian Alexandra.  In the year 2000, Jay became the president of the Kissimmee Old Timers Rodeo Ropers Association and in April 2006, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Wild West Arts Club.  Today, Jay shares his skills and knowledge with many up and coming performers and works hard to preserve the art of knife throwing.


Knife Throwing Promoter of the Year

Kirk "Geronimo" Bass first started throwing knives about 1985 when he was 14.  He saw his brother Tim throw his knife and wanted to do it, too.  As soon as he was old enough he got his own knife and started throwing at the shed wall.  His dad was very happy with all the little holes in the shed.  He wasn't very good and other things soon started taking up his time.  He didn't pick up a knife again until the WWAC convention in Oklahoma in 2005.  Again, it was his brother Tim who lead the way.  He had been cracking whips for a few years and decided to go to Oklahoma with Tim.  Tim said he was going to throw knives and Kirk still wanted to do it so he borrowed Tim's knives and entered the contests and he was hooked all over again.  Not long after Oklahoma he was given a set of knives from Joe Darrah and started throwing all the more.  He set up a range in his backyard, much to his wife's annoyance at first, and that was it.  While working with a friend, Gery Deer, on the 2005 Ohio WWAC event, we realized we didn't have anyone to run the knife throw so Kirk told him he would do it.  He took down his range and put it up again in Greenville.  There were about 15 throwers that year and he had a great time.  It was right after that event that Kirk joined IKTHOF.  He claims it felt like family right away.  The following year he was able to have the Ohio event sanctioned by the Hall of Fame.


International Knife Maker of the Year

Harold Moeller-With formal training in tool and die making in his native Germany, Harald brings a total of over 40 years of advanced metal work to his current efforts.  He is forever striving for the highest degree of craftsmanship.  He has also been making knives for over 25 years.  This skill and training was not forgotten when his long standing infatuation with knives drew him away from his more secure machinist trade.  He attacks his knife projects with the same careful planning as he did his tool and die projects-researching what he wants to achieve in a particular knife when planning its execution.  His desire to elevate his craft to an art form has been assisted by his careful precision.  This allows him to offer, even in a working knife, a finely crafted tool that is a thing of beauty while still being able to accept all the tasks it was designed for. His one of a kind pieces become a testament to his skill in overcoming unusual design problems and difficult materials which he has selected to make them truly unique.  Articles on Harald's craft have been featured in many knife magazines over the years, as well as being featured on a few television programs.  Harald continues to be one of Canada's more successful custom knife makers with a product mix that ranges from matched precision presentation daggers to bowies, battle axes, swords, survival and hunting/skinning knives and lately he elevated his skill into the very fine folding knives that he enjoys making today.  Harald has won a total of six major awards, usually "Best Art Piece of Show" and "Best Overall of Show."  It's no wonder some of his pieces are to be found all over the world.


Pioneer Award

"Texas Slim and Montana Nell"  Robert and Pearl Collins-"Robert Walter Collins was born and raised on a ranch in Texas and from childhood he developed a specialty when he picked up a knife and a whip.  He started throwing knives in shows by 1900 and in 1910 he was on the payroll of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.  In 1915, Robert was with the 101 Ranch Rodeo and the Wild West Show.  Pearl Kathern Miller was born and raised on a farm in Ohio and from an early age enjoyed riding horses in every spare moment.  She married Seamor Russell in 1923.  They had a daughter named Doris in 1924.  Seamor died of an illness in 1925.  In 1928, Pearl met Robert and were married on January 21, 1929.  This began the traveling act in which they went by the show names of "Texas Slim and Montana Nell"-Slim and PR to their friends.  Doris was back home on the farm being raised by her grandmother Mabel Miller.  She quickly developed a love of horses.  At age 16, Doris was on the road with her parents as a horse trick rider and sharp shooter using the show name of "Little Miss Peggy."  Slim and PR continued to perform up until about 1950 when they retired to their 68 acre farm in Hilda, Missouri.  they have a Wild West display in the Ralph Foster Museum next to Buffalo Bill Cody's display at the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri.  Texas Slim and Montana Nell are resting in peace at the Ozark Memorial Park in Branson.


IKTHOF Board Member of the Year

Dr. Jay Dunbar-Dr. Jay is the founder and director of The Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School.  He began Taijiquan studies with Ruby Blaurock.  In 1976 he traveled to San Francisco to study with W.T.R. Chung and Kuo, Lien Ying and met Henry Look, his primary Yiquan teacher.  In 1978, he began a discipleship with Jou, Tsung Hwa for the next 20 years, until Master Jou's tragic death in an automobile accident.  Dr. Jay has also studied with Dr. John Painter, and taken workshops with many other teachers.  He graduated summa cum laude from Colgate, received an M.A. in English Literature from Duke, and a Ph.D. in Education from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1991, with a dissertation entitled "Let A Hundred Flowers Bloom:  A Profile of Taijiquan Instruction in America." In 1982, with Almanzo Lamoureux, Pat Rice, Steve Rhodes, Cas Overton, Kim Ragland, and others he founded the Southeastern Taijiquan Society to promote sharing among players from all schools, and served as editor of its newsletter, "Changes," for six years.  In 2001, he established the Jou, Tsung Hwa Memorial Dantian Challenge in honor of his teacher of 20 years, and designed and produced the bronze medallions which are awarded to those who meet the challenge.  He has served as judge and referee in numerous tournaments including ATOC, USWKF, USCKF, and the Taiji Legacy since 1989, and has developed tournament rules for form competitions.  He was technical editor of Tai Chi for Dummies, and contributed the foreword to Exploring Tai Chi by John Loupos.  He has presented courses or workshops at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the NY Open Center, the American Dance Festival, the Guang Ping Annual Conventions, etc., teaching knee safety, qigong, Yi Jing divination, straight sword, and Chen and Wu/Hao styles of taijiquan.


International Achievement Award

John "Little John" Taylor devoted thirty years of his life to law enforcement in the United Kingdom as a police officer.  Upon retirement, he became involved with paintball and knife throwing.  Upon arrival in America, John was introduced to many different facets of the sport of throwing weapons.  Knife and tomahawk throwing is not a widely or well known sport in the UK, but John has taken time to visit the United States to learn about, study, and embrace the rules and regulations of the IKTHOF Association to take home and introduce to his fellow countrymen.  Since his arrival, Little John, as he is known by his American knife throwing friends, has proven to be an apt student of all aspects of knife and tomahawk throwing and has plans to throw in his first ever Bob "Master of the Blade" Karp Gold Cup Challenge along with all the other contests being held at IKTHOF headquarters.  We are sure "Little John" will be taking all he learns back to the UK with him.  He will certainly miss the time spent and friendships made in the US.
Special Recognition for Promotion of Mountain Man Events

"Papa Joe" Blackwell- Born in North Texas in 1928, Billy Joe Blackwell is a true native-born son of the great state of Texas.  A polio survivor, he went on to box in the Golden Gloves, where he went from the state fights to the nationals.  After school, he went into his apprenticeship doing electrical work in IBEW Local Union 116 in Fort Worth, Texas.  He married Ruth Yoder in 1950 and they raised three children.  Due to health problems, Papa Joe moved to the Cedar Creek Lake area in 70's, where he continues to live today.  He is active in the community and in the Mountain Man club he belongs to.  Even though his eyesight is failing, he still participates in several knife and tomahawk throwing events every year.

Western Arts Promoter of the Year

Mark Allen is not only an extraordinary performer, accomplished gun spinner, trick roper, trick rider, and whip cracker-he's dedicated to keeping western arena arts alive.  Director of the Wild West Arts Club, Mark was instrumental in bringing the WWAC convention-international competition to Claremore last year and in the return here this April.  "On behalf of the members and staff of the Wild West Arts Club, I would like to say we are thrilled to be back in Claremore.  The Claremore Expo Center is a great facility and the people of Claremore have opened their doors and hearts to this event.  We are looking forward to another great year in Claremore."  The first convention was held at the Will Rogers Ranch State Park in California.  Organized by Allen and a staff of volunteers, it has grown to more than 600 members from 26 countries, all the United States and four Guiness Book records.  The convention-competition was in Las Vegas until moving to Claremore.  Allen's wife, Jo Benson, a whip cracker and trick roper, is also key to the program of events scheduled in Claremore.  Mark is president of Western Stage Props, a mail order company with an inventory of props from guns to blank ammo, whips, trick riding saddles, knives and tomahawks and all types of ropes.  His customers include movie and television studios, theme parks, stuntmen and individuals from all over the world.  Mark and Jo came to Claremore for the November 2005 Will Rogers Days and have made several trips to Oklahoma in preparation for the Will Rogers Wild West International Expo.


Pioneer Award

Arlan D. Lothe is a world renowned tool and knife designer of the Firestone Sport Axe, the Condor Throwing Axe, two sizes of the Condor Wing Throwing Knife, and has another model in the works.  He is also more well known for his design of the Ginsu line of knives that were sold world wide through various television promo programs.  He is one of the few designers out there getting some higher quality throwing knives commercially made and the designs are legal in competition use.  Arlan has been instrumental in the development of many types of commercially used cutlery as well as new and better ways of marketing several products.  His new line of commercially manufactured throwing knives and tomahawks will soon be available through Condor Knives.  His new line of tomahawks was given a real workout this past June at the Atlanta Blade Show by World Champion knife throwers Mike "Alamo" Bainton and Joe "Brokenfeather" Darrah.  His hawks and knives are some of the toughest around and his Firestone Hawks have been used to win several competitions and continue to be used in tournaments today.  We are not only proud to call Arlan friend, but also admire and respect him for the innovative knife designer he has become.


Western Arts Promoter of the Year

Mark Mulligan holds the record for speed and accuracy in the Wild West Arts Club whip cracking competition.  He will crack his whip down Will Rogers Boulevard during the upcoming Will Rogers Days Parade and will be back in town for the 2006 Will Rogers Wild West International Expo.  "I just love Claremore for what they did for us last year.  We owe Claremore a lot," he said.  Mulligan became involved in WWAC shortly after it formed, competing in the trick roping, whip cracking, and later, knife throwing.  He has held the whip cracking record since 2000-in which he competed using tin cups spaced two feet apart at different heights while being timed.  He bested his 12.15 second record recently with a score of 7.38 seconds.  Having earned the record, Mulligan is ready to take on a new challenge and is involved in knife throwing.  "They tell me I'm pretty good, but I can't know until I win."  He said knife throwing has become a strong event and more people are "expanding their talents, adding to their repertoire...There were 18 competing in Texas this year.  Previous years there have been one or two."  Mulligan has traveled extensively in the United States and Australia as a whip cracker and trick roper  and with his wife, Carole, hosts the Texas Regional WWAC Convention at their Cleburne ranch.  Australian born, he came to the United States in 1999 as a horse trainer.  He trains horses for show or under saddle and trick riding horses.  He is working with a horse for Anita Withers of Colorado, who will bring her horse to Claremore in April.


Outstanding Male Competitor

Cliff "AWOL" Hill

2005   Third Place Knife, Annie Oakley Days, Greenville, Ohio
          Second Place-Novice Knife, Central US
          Second Place-Novice Tomahawk, Central US

2006   Third Place-Expert Knife, Annie Oakley Days, Greenville, Ohio
          Fourth Place-Tomahawk, Annie Oakley Days, Greenville, Ohio
          Third Place-Expert Knife, Che Che Whitecloud World   
          Second Place-Tomahawk, Che Che Whitecloud World

2007   Third Place Knife, Vick Russell Mountain Man Throw
          Third Place Tomahawk, Vick Russell Mountain Man Throw
          Second Place Intermediate Knife, Southern US Championship
          Third Place Expert Tomahawk, Southern US Championship
          First Place Expert Knife, Northeastern US Championship
          Second Place Expert Knife, Annie Oakley Days, Greenville, OH
          Second Place Knife, Fredericksburg Thanksgiving Throw

2008    Second Place Expert Knife, Northeastern US Championship
           First Place Frontiersman, Northeastern US Championship
           Fourth Place, Frontiersman at the Alamo

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