Held in conjunction with the men’s 14th Annual BLADE Show World Championship Competition, the women’s title event, as well as the men’s, will be conducted by BladeSports International in “The Courtyard”—the parking lot of the show’s host hotel, the Renaissance Waverly. Festivities will commence at 4:15 p.m. the Saturday of the show, June 4, under a huge outdoor tent new for this year sponsored by Burr King.
The tentative list of women who will compete includes Jessica Elias, who became the first woman to vie in the men’s World Championship last year, Shanna Kemp, Jessica Hinton, Terri Lynn and Nicole Warden. The winner will receive a fully engraved championship belt buckle similar to the one awarded to the winner in the men’s World Championship.
The BLADE Show World Championships consist of a series of cutting tests performed by each contestant, including chopping 2x4s in half, cutting free-hanging rope, cutting rolling golf balls in half and other tests, including seeing how many water-filled plastic bottles standing all in a row the contestant can successfully cut. To add to the drama, exactly which cutting tests will be included in the event are usually kept unknown to the contestants until right up to when the Championships begin. Points are awarded via a system that considers the most successful cuts in the least amount of time. The contestants must use fixed blades that cannot exceed specified blade and overall lengths, pass stringent BSI safety courses and observe other requirements.
In the men’s World Championship, Dan Keffeler is expected to return to defend his title. He has won the BLADE Show World Championship three years running, a record for consecutive titles, and will be attempting to win an unprecedented fourth straight. The only other person to win three World Championships is Reggie Barker, though he did not win them consecutively. The tentative list of men expected to compete includes two-time world champ Gary Bond, three-time national champ Donavon Phillips, Daniel Coldiron, Jerry Kemp, Jo Smith, Christoper Warden, Brad Stallsmith, Luke Stallsmith, William LaRue, Dwight Schoneweis, Mark Elick, Andrew Blanchard, L.T. Wright, Dennis Mashburn, Russel Cain and Mike Eubanks.