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Arkansas Knife Show • Middle America • TOP of the WORLD!

Discussion in 'Custom & Handmade Knives' started by SharpByCoop, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    What a terrific show this has continued to be. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Held at the spacious Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock Arkansas, it is RIGHT next to the Old Statehouse Museum, and trendy/vibrant downtown Little Rock.

    My wife Susan joined me this year, and I am SO glad she did. She is top-notch on the clerical business side and is a cheery presence in her conversations with our friends/clients. :)

    We got in early on Thursday and walked for almost two hours out and about, in downtown, in Cafe's, and on all manner of riverwalks and bridges. We were whupped that night!

    Logan Pearce had us set up IN the Show Hall behind dark partitions and it was perfecto! (For us. "What's that flashing?!" Was probably asked by many.) Started by 1pm on Friday, and finished at 4pm on Saturday. Non-stop action in that arena from beginning to end.

    The AKS Banquet was FABULOUS. I was VERY relieved to see two photographers: young Josh Royer and Heather McClean, both in the room taking DSLR photos and vids to promote the people and the event. (I had no bandwidth and less skills at this point!) :confused: I hope there will be a thread or even posts RIGHT HERE to show you. Josh was very skilled and polite. Another Royer family standout. :thumbsup:

    We were SO overwhelmed with incoming work on Saturday, Susan had no time to GET knives to me awaiting at tables (We ask to pick them up.) In came the Texas Cavalry: Donna Horrigan was watching our tasks and immediately offered to help out on this and more. For the ENTIRE Show! Knife People look out for each other, you know this. Thank YOU!

    Logan runs this show with a loose attitude and a TIGHT grip on what it needs. He's doing it right. Others will share on this.

    There are 15 classes of KNIFE Awards, also including the Cutting Competition Champion: Jake Rhea (Josh? PLEASE show photos from this contest somewhere!)

    I got to photograph the Award Knives. Some of them were photographed before entry into the banquet, some had no plaque offered, some did. It all happens so quickly the visual layout isn't perfect, but the KNIVES were!

    Closing my prologue I want to say that the clients and friends, once again, make this SO gratifying for us. Susan LOVES you guys. People are genuinely happy to work with us and we in return. I allow I do not get a chance to speak personally with each client as I am SO busy backstage, yet you are all our friends.

    Let's begin. Next post.

    Jim & Susan Cooper
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  2. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Best of Show / Best Fighter - John Horrigan, MS

    Best Art Knife - John Horrigan, MS

    Best Dagger - Kyle Royer, MS

    Best Damascus - Kyle Royer, MS

    Best Bowie - Ben Seward, JS

    Best Hunter - Shawn Ellis, JS
    kuraki, Dusty One, 3fifty7 and 5 others like this.
  3. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Best Traditional Folder - Tommy Gann, JS[​IMG]

    Best Folder - Scott Gallagher, JS

    Best Chef Knife - Dave Lisch, MS

    Best Collaboration - Johnny Stout with Owen Wood (Blade steel) and Julie Warenski (Engraving)

    Best Sheath - Kenny Rowe (Jerry Fisk knife to be shown later...)

    Best Historical Cutlery - Matt Parkinson, JS

    Collectors Choice Award - J. R. Cook, MS
    mknife, kuraki, Dusty One and 7 others like this.
  4. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Beginning my client's Portfolio work, here's a start--A GOOD start!

    Scott Gallagher, JS is doing terrific work. See for yourself.



    mknife, kuraki, Dusty One and 11 others like this.
  5. Steven65

    Steven65 Traditional Hog Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    Amazing knives, brilliant photography.........as usual Coop.:)
    Dawkind likes this.
  6. Dawkind

    Dawkind Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    Thanks buddy!!!! Only thing better than these fantastic photos are if I’d of been there....sure wished I would.
    kuraki likes this.
  7. john april

    john april KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 27, 2006
    they all deserve applause ! awesome.
  8. Ebbtide


    Aug 20, 1999
    Great work Coop. I wouldn't expect anything less :D
  9. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Thanks, Coop! You know I would think that Logan would arrange to have Josh, or someone shoot stills and videos of the whole shootin' match and then get them posted on this and other sites as a way of promoting next year. The Arkansas show was one of the MAJOR events but it has been lack luster the past couple of years as far as effective promotion is concerned. Show come and shows go and lack of promotion and excitement is the way to make one go. Just my personal 2 cents.

    kuraki likes this.
  10. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    Incredible knives and photos. I especially like the best dagger and best Bowie pieces.
  11. Darth_Blader


    Oct 18, 2016
    Thanks for posting. Some of those are absolutely stunning.

  12. Logan Pearce

    Logan Pearce Awesome Sauce Smith (A.S.S) Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 21, 2012


    I arranged for Garden and Gun magazine's photographer to be there. She covered the banquet, show, and cutting competition. She was the woman in the suit with a camera. If you were there. They are currently working up a deal for the show, plus I am getting all of the media to use.

    As far as promotion goes.

    Radio Stations: I set up 36 different radio stations around Arkansas and the surrounding states, running ads and doing interviews with maker and collectors that wanted to go on air. Circling Little Rock with half a dozen of those interviews and making it's way out to the largest populated cities within as reasonable of a driving distance as I could imagine. As my budget allows, I ran them for 3-4 days before the event rather than the week like I did last year.

    Knife Magazines: Blade/Blade Show and Knife magazine. Knife Magazine itself has been running ads for the last few months for us, in different sections, but around the show calendar to boost awareness. Blade has a full page ad for the show at their show, plus they run us amazing coverage of winners of the show every year.

    Magazines: nationals magazines, regional magazines, and then local magazine. At the show, there were magazines being given out by just a few of the ones that either did articles before hand of the show or are doing articles about the makers that attend/the show for in the future. One of them being a state wide magazine 'About You Magazine' that goes by AY Magazine, did a great article on various makers in Arkansas and promoted the show. Which many of the attendees who came to the show, commented on seeing the show in there before coming to it. Also I hit Arkansas Living and Arkansas Life, but one of them didn't really care too much for us, so they just let us have a small online thing. However, I'll take whatever I can get, even if it is them just putting us in the event calendar.

    Newspapers: From there I hit 3 national newspapers, and 7 regional newspapers. Who ran an ad for me before the show, then will be running a small insert about makers or the show afterwards. I prefer them to run it about a specific maker after, since I think it's wasted space to promote the show a year and a month before the next one. I think it would be better right after to promote the people who support the show.

    Billboards: I picked the 4 highest traveled roads and put up billboards for the show, about 20 miles out from the show. From there, I came close to the show and had small billboard/signage, being ran on and inside of metro buses. Simply because I wanted to see my knife on the side of a bus. :p But also, because they go a different route everyday. In the end hitting hundreds of thousands of people. The minimum order for those signs is 26 signs, in which I order 52 small across a fleet of buses to be inside and outside of them

    TV: I hit the Channel 4, Channel 5, and Channel 7 before the show. For those of you that came to the show and saw some guys going around with large cameras that was Channel 4 and THC11. They did come in the middle of the show, rather than at the beginning of the cutting competition, which was an annoyance. But! I'm just happy that they are willing to support the makers and the show. My continued relationship with them will help the show and hopefully timing much better in the future. However, we were taken care of very well by all networks.

    Social Media: For the entire year, I have had someone posting up content from makers that are either coming or have come to the show. Since Facebook and Instagram continuously get harder and harder for promotion for knives, I had to do paid ads through other influencers rather than just a normal ad for the show. For that, I choose people with no less than 200k people to 2 million people. Ranging from people from the state of Arkansas to just nation wide. I had to resort to Google Ads and everything from that point, since the policy of Facebook and Instagram state that I can not advertise for a place of sale of a weapon. Instead of trying to fight that and potentially lose what public appearance of the show it has on those two social platforms, I just continuously post work and other events of the show on it throughout the year.

    Forums: I did post the show us what you are bringing post on here. But most of the makers posted on their own instagram, rather than participating on here. I think that's bad marketing for their business. You really shouldn't be putting all your eggs into one basket. I find that I keep saying that to people who are 'great marketeers', yet they keep doing these things. That's their business though. If they don't want to help their sales as much as possible, then that's on them. I posted about the show and a good number of knives that I photoed for other people before the show on hunting, fishing, archery, outdoor, and art forums. One per category really. Varying from state to national on that as well.

    Flyers/Brochures: So this time around, I paid to have 5,000 brochures for the show sent to addresses of Arkansas that frequent archery shops and outdoor stores. In addition to that, all of the people that signed up for the door prizes last year were sent a flyer a week before the show.

    To that degree, I also make sure that for sure each maker has a single ad that is just for them. That way in the end, that maker is for sure promoted. First and fore most, before the show. That way even if their sales aren't amazing, they at the very least had advertising done for them specifically, plus the rest that I do for the show.

    I will agree that it seemed like when Kerry had the show before me that the advertising of the show was lack luster, but since I have had it that is a completely false statement.

    I know that every spot of advertising helps a maker and the show. It keeps knives on the minds of people that normally wouldn't think about them, which helped the community and in turn helps all of us.

    I think the only thing that I did not do was advertise the show at other shows. I refused to take money for tables at other shows and all of that as well. Mainly, because I didn't want to be unethical about the promotion of it. I know that a lot of places would work with me, because even here at the show we put up passes and flyers for other shows.

    We help promote other shows like ICCE and the Central States Show to paying customers of our show. I don't ask anything in return or try to promote the AKS there. I do it to help the community. Because that is what it is about right? It's about being positive, not negative. It's about creating hope and inspiring. It's about doing everything you can to make sure that this community has the best chance of not just surviving, but thriving.

    I agree that shows come and go. But as long as I am here, this show will be here. And I will do whatever I can to make sure that it is a success. Thankfully, hundreds of people feel the same way. Too many people want this to succeed for it to end. More than enough people are doing their part to lift this up.

    Honestly, I think I actually forgot a few places and things of advertising I did for the show.

    Oooh! I should say that we did have more foot traffic this year as well. All of that is in my review thread that I will be posting soon of the show. I can prove thousands of people came to the show. Not only from our door sales, but the convention center too. They keep up with it for my insurance. So I can show the bills from all that for proof. Same for all of the advertising. :D

    Guys. I didn't advertise in Madison, WI. You won't see a billboard for the show there. I apologize for that. :p loool.

    What I can't do is blanket the whole country. First I am working on blanketing Arkansas the week of. Which is something I truly am working towards. A blanket of Little Rock, then Arkansas as a whole, and the edges of the surrounding states. Plus making sure that I keep the ads running on a national level. Some one in Madison, WI said that they didn't see advertising for the show.

    Also, part of this is from my review post that I am about to post. So, I totally copy and pasted half of this. :cool:
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  13. 155440


    Aug 7, 2012
    All of the knives you posted are truly special. The Kyle Royer Dagger could have won best Damascus and gotten no arguments from me.
  14. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Hi Logan! Thank you for your 'work' and including your concise report. Far more involved than I was aware. Now we ALL are. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Back to the knife visuals. Wow!!!

    David Lisch, MS

    What an inspired stand!

    A Lisch 'ring guard' classic

    The steel, the gold, the carved blackwood = Mastersmith level.

    Continuing excellence....

    Johnny Stout auto (with engraving by Alice Carter.)

    Tony Hughes, JS - Superb mosaic steel from this expert!
    mknife, kuraki, Dusty One and 3 others like this.
  15. parfums95

    parfums95 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Thanks for the formidable piCs , I've seen Kyle Royer's wip from editing his dagger, how to make it simple, very complicated things ...
  16. i4Marc

    i4Marc KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2011
    Great stuff Coop. Talented crowd.
  17. DanGraves

    DanGraves KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 5, 2006
    Thanks Jim for sharing the stunning pictures. Eye candy all the way.
  18. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    ^^^ Thank you guys. :) The makers thank you even MORE. :thumbsup:

    When I think of Arkansas makers many come to mind. It's in the heartland of the American Bowie and hunting experience.

    Jerry Fisk is a standout by every measure. Always sharp work, ALWAYS teaching, always humble. (Follow his Instagram fisk_knives and see!)

    Hi wife 'Bob' (Lorraine) made some southern cookie biscuits (name?) and brought a handful to select recipients (I asked!). SO yummy!

    She created a fine integral bowie. It was a HIT!


    The 'Sendero' is renowned worldwide. I believe the stag hunter with the 'dogstar' pattern is a Gamemaster? I thought they'd look great as visual siblings.

    Sendero has that little ring of copper? It's from The Statue of Liberty scraps. ;)

    THIS has it all.

    That blackwood sendero was a gift which replaces the model a US military vet acquired on his entry and continued through his service when he retired. See both here. That's Jerry.

    He's earned 'National Living Treasure' in Arkansas and the US.
    mknife, Logan Pearce, BFS and 3 others like this.
  19. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Cliff Parker is ALWAYS making us look closely. His folders are small, yet they are JAM PACKED with good stuff.


    Karl B. Andersen, JS surprised all of us with his perfectly executed quillon dagger with flutes and wire wrap. He's got his eye on a LARGER prize, I can see!

    More tomorrow. Still awaiting some approvals and I spent most of the day at my other job putting in docks for the Spring. Success.
    mknife, Lhpanther, kuraki and 5 others like this.
  20. Dusty One

    Dusty One Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Thank You for putting this together !!!!
    Logan Pearce likes this.

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