2024 BLADE Show Texas: Big Show with a Small Show Feel

2024 BLADE Show Texas: Big Show with a Small Show Feel

BLADE Show Texas makes the “impossible” look easy.

“BLADE, it seems, has done the impossible—having a successful knife show in Texas!” exclaimed Bill Ruple, BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member and “The Maestro” of custom slipjoint knifemakers. “All of the South Texas Slipjoint Cartel guys had excellent sales. I can’t wait till BLADE Atlanta!”

The fact Bill brought 10 knives to the 3rd Annual BLADE Show Texas in the Fort Worth Convention Center and sold them all pronto would seem sufficient to bear out his observation, but selling out is pretty much routine for the big friendly Texan. No, it was more than just brisk knife sales that made the third rendition of the show February 23-24 so appealing. It was also the number of people—and agreeable people at that—attending.

“The attendance at the show was off the chart,” noted exhibiting knifemaker Roger Green, who sold six of the eight knives he brought—including four push daggers to one customer—and happily entertained a number of selfie requests from show patrons. “It seems both days were equally busy.”

Blade Show Texas award winners
Most of the factory and custom knife winners proudly display their trophies after the award presentation at the Hilton Hotel Fort Worth. From left: Phil Jacob; Harvey Dean; Mark Winburn; Evan Nicolaides (ESNYX); Jason Knight (behind Nicolaides); Princeton Wong; Jared Oeser; Jim Rodebaugh; Mike Quesenberry (behind Rodebaugh); Karis Fisher; Les George; Allen Elishewitz; David Deng (Reate); Joe Vero (Vero Engineering); Anthony Marfione (Heretic); Franco de Souza (behind Marfione and Ramm holding up his three awards); Peyton Ramm; and Tim Robertson.

The atmosphere in and around the show itself impressed ABS master smith Brion Tomberlin. “I like that this show is more laid back than BLADE Atlanta. It’s easy to get to. We stayed at a nice hotel with decent room rates. There are plenty of restaurants within easy walking distance. It’s a good set up,” he wrote. “It is a big show with a small show feel, if that makes sense.” The show hall indeed was bigger, with an additional 100 exhibitors over the previous year bringing the total to more than 400, plus an additional 28,000 square feet of space. Added Brion, “More space is good.”

The mix of show patrons was all over the board. Diane Carver of Fox Cutlery in the factory section indicated about 75 percent were sophisticated knife enthusiasts “willing to purchase expensive knives.” Set up in the custom section, Tomberlin broke it down even more: “About 10 percent were seasoned collectors and enthusiasts and about 30 percent were buyers who know what they want and come for the latest trends. Sixty percent were newbies who want to see what a knife show is all about.”

The seasoned buyers and those who know what they want no doubt helped make it a successful show for many exhibitors. In addition to Ruple a number sold out, Duane Dwyer and Bobby House among them, Fox Cutlery and Pro-Tech reported brisk sales and many did more than well enough to return. Among them was Burt Flanagan, who in addition to selling his award-winning slippies also sold three heat-treating ovens in his role representing Paragon Industries. Tomberlin brought five knives and sold two, a mix from high end to lower price. “Not a fantastic show for me sales wise but not horrible, either,” he observed. ABS master smith Harvey Dean sold his slicing knife, winner of Best Kitchen Knife, for $6,400 and took four other orders in the four-figure range. Smiled Harvey, “A lot of those orders will develop into more down the line.”

Sword at Blade Show Texas
Swords were hot at the Valiant Armoury booth.


To open up the custom and factory knife judging segments to more knife styles and contestants, show officials made several improvements.

To provide an award avenue for tomahawks, swords, innovative designs and other “specialty pieces,” the category of Best of the Rest was added to both the custom and factory segments. Also in the factory segment, the categories of Best American Made and Best Imported were added, with Best Tactical being dropped.

Finally, in an effort to recognize knives that came within a whisker of winning but were edged out for one reason or another, a new award called Best Contender was introduced to the custom segment, with three makers earning the new honor. For the list of all the award winners, see sidebars.

All in all, it was a most rewarding show for most everyone who came. Next year’s show will return to the Fort Worth Convention Center March 7-8. See you there, partner.

Check Out Previous Custom Award Winners:

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