A big piece of the Battleship Texas is coming to the April 1-2 Texas Select Custom Cutlery Event at the Austin County Fairgrounds in Bellville!
Phenix Knives, the originator and host of the annual Texas Select Event, is coordinating with the Battleship Texas Foundation to promote public awareness of the history and current restoration project of the famous veteran of WWI and WWII. The Foundation will bring authentic historic relics from the ship, including one of the actual 20mm anti-aircraft guns on a trailer for children (and grown-ups) to explore. It is a unique opportunity for families to share a piece of this national treasure with the next generation!
The Texas Select Event will recognize many of the exhibiting knifemakers who are donating their skills and time through the “Battleship Texas Artisans” program, creating new artwork, knives, and swords using materials reclaimed from BB-35, to help raise funds for the restoration project.
In the early morning of August 31, 2022, the Battleship Texas got underway from the San Jacinto State Historic Site. She performed excellently as she was towed to Gulf Copper Galveston later that afternoon without difficulty. That night she was lifted out of the water by the dry dock. Battleship Texas is now out of the water for the first time in 32 years and only the second time since she became a museum in 1948. The mission of the Battleship Texas Foundation is to preserve and enhance the Battleship Texas and develop this historic ship into a premier museum and visitor attraction.
In 2015 Cowboy Szymanski was invited to compete in the first season of the History Channel’s competition “Forged in Fire”. Through this experience, he gained new friends in the knifemaking industry. In 2018 he had the idea to invite the competitors from around the state to the Blacksmith Shop in Bellville so that fans of the show could meet them in person and watch them work and hear their stories. That first year he hosted 18 bladesmiths from 5 states at Texas Select from Forged in Fire Event and saw about 2,500 visitors come to the backyard event.
This family friendly annual event, always on the first weekend of April, has continued to grow each year due largely to the support of our community and the popularity of the Forged in Fire show. The event has expanded to include reputable knifemakers through the professional guilds beyond just the Forged in Fire bladesmiths. It also outgrew the backyard at the Blacksmith Shop and moved to the Austin County Fair Expo Center and adjacent covered showbarn. In April of 2022, they hosted 108 knifemakers from 20 states plus 26 additional vendors, and were featured in Knife Magazine! And the 2023 registrations have already exceeded that, with 130 knifemakers coming from 24 states across the nation!
The Texas Select Event benefits the local community in many ways. Each year, Cowboy has donated a custom knife to the local BEST Booster Club, which is raffled off to raise money for their scholarship program and summer science camp. To date, the knife raffle has raised $22,500 in scholarship awards for BHS graduates focused on science studies. Partnering with the Bellville Lions Club to be the primary food/beer vendor for the event keeps those dollars right here in Bellville benefitting the Lions’ charities in our community. And Scout Troop 36 benefits from serving the Awards dinner to the knifemakers. For more information go to TexaSelectEvent.com.