From American Farrier’s Association – No Foot, No Horse Newsletter, March/April 2016 Issue
Author: Josh Tompkins, CJF
Reprinted by Permission
Hi, my name is Josh Tompkins, and I live in St. Petersburg, FL. I have been shoeing horses for about four years. Last year, Convention was in Overland Park, Kansas, and it was the first time I had ever attended. When I got there, I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a great time. I enjoyed learning from the competitors and lectures. I was amazed at how many competitors there were in one room and the abundance of talent under one roof. It was very exciting when the timer went off and all 70 hammers began striking a tool at one time. I told myself that next year, I will be competing.
This year I registered for the Convention, as well as the competition. I practiced just like any other competitor and had my good friend and boss, Robbie Hunziker, look at my practice shoes. He gave me advice as to what I could do to enhance my shoes. A year had passed since the last Convention, and the competition was about to start. All 70 hammers, including mine, were about to strike. I had a goal to make the top three. I thought that would be a good goal. It was such an honor and a privilege to be able to win the 2016 Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division.
I think the Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division is great for the competitor not quite ready for the Open, but who would still like to compete. It gives the young, or new competitor somewhere to start, but is still difficult. Having the AFA team open judge the Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division is really good for helping us understand what we could have done to place better. I would really encourage anyone thinking about competing to just jump in and do it. At the end of the day, the only person that you should really try to beat should be yourself while learning from your mistakes.
The lectures and live demos are extremely good and cover a wide variety of topics. It takes more than a lifetime to learn how to shoe horses, so any knowledge that we can learn or share is very important in this industry. The Convention is a great way to learn in many different aspects. This year, I watched a lot of live demos of shoeing horses and making shoes. I also watched Chad Chance, CJF lecture on business. It was very informative. I was unable to make the lecture Steve Sermersheim, CJF, TE, AWCF gave because I was competing, but I heard it was a tremendous presentation.
I’m thankful I had this opportunity to learn more and compete in a craft I thoroughly enjoy. Thank you for making these events possible.