Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekend at Ethan's II

This past weekend, Ethan Becker again hosted a get-together for users of his BK&T brand of outdoor knives and gear. People came from as far away as Iowa, New York, and New Hampshire to attend the event, which began taking shape on Thursday, October 13th, and ran through Sunday, the 16th. For this gathering, Ethan stepped up his game with the aid of part-time event coordinator, Moose. At the hilltop camp site on Half Moon Ridge, Ethan built a large covered pavilion as well as a giant fire pit. Also, Ka-Bar, the manufacturer of Becker knives, paid to have some excellent Wagyu beef and tasty jerky flown in from Johnson-family-owned (including Steve Johnson of Johnson Adventure Blades) Nebraska Star ranch. Invited attendees included none other than knifemaker extraordinaire Jerry Fisk, who has been named a National Living Treasure by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and whose work has received all manner of accolades over the years. Jerry provided expert advice on knife sharpening and also conducted a “knife rodeo,” a popular knife testing and cutting event often held in conjunction with bladesmith meets.

On Saturday, I arrived at Ethan's in time to have a bite of breakfast that included Jerry's tasty crabapple butter. I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking with James Gibson, a practitioner of numerous outdoor skills and a journeyman knifemaker. Soon thereafter, I participated in the knife rodeo—failing miserably at most of the challenges but having a great time nonetheless. James, a veteran of quite a few such competitions, eventually took first place, with a borrowed knife no less. Later that evening, John Becker and his girlfriend Megan proffered some excellent table fare, including the Nebraska Star steaks, alongside camp dishes created by other attendees (thanks Kay, Derek, and Zach!). After a giant communal gorging fit for royalty, fireside conversation ran late into the night. The next morning, John and Megan delivered biscuits in a basket along with apple butter, and folks enjoyed breakfast before breaking camp. My conclusion? Ethan is the host with the most, and a giant thanks goes out to him, Moose, John, Megan, Ka-Bar, and Jerry Fisk for making this camp meet a great success.

I was talking, watching, participating, and having too much fun to take many pictures. But Iowa surgeon, averageiowaguy, documented the entire event. His six-part series of YouTube videos shows off the gathering in fine fashion. Enjoy.

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