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Unconventional competitions

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Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/28/19 11:56 AM

Unconventional competitions

I'm usually not a fan of TV "reality show", most of which bears no resemblances to reality.

But I must confess I'm occasionally fascinated by a few unconventional make-for-tv competitions. The biggest and best known are "Jeopardy"! Although this one had been around for so long I don't actually "follow" it (probably after a few shows), mostly because I don't have the time to watch it day after day.

A while back, I started watch a show call something like "Sharp Shooter". Each episode have a bunch of people who thought they're good at shooting. They compete over several round of shooting different weapons. There's always one round that shoots something other than guns. And also one gun that's way older than anyone alive. What I found interesting is how the "competitors" learn quickly how to handle a weapon that operates very differently than the "usual". It's hugely entertaining to see them succeed or fail. I'm pretty sure the participants enjoy playing with at least one weapon they otherwise won't be able to get their hands on.

Lately, I've been watching another one call "Forged in Fire". It's a group of blacksmith (yea, probably a relatively niche hobby) being asked to make some quirky sort of knife, often time needing to harvest their metal from some sort of weird object like a motorcycle! Again, it's entertaining to watch them choose different technique, with various degree of success. The fun part for us watchers comes when the knives being "tested" on objects such as apples or steel pipes!

Although these make-for-tv competition are similar to all other "reality" shows, with a nice purse (maybe $10K), the participants don't seem to take themselves too seriously. That makes for a more enjoyable program to watch.

Reminds me watching a lumberjack competition some time in the past. It's all for fun of the participants and those watching.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6396
Location: Maine

6/28/19 3:50 PM

You like lumberjack competitions....

You should go to the Fryeburg Fair in Maine. Stuff like Chainsaw, Unlimited Division

Seriously a fabulous agricultural/woodsman fair. And good riding around there too - I used to ride a tt that started and ended at the Fairground. And the White Mountains are right there.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4650
Location: Nashua, NH

6/28/19 5:50 PM

April, I think you're referring to "Top Shot", which is indeed a pretty interesting show, especially if you're into shooting sports. I've only seen a couple of episodes, but it's pretty cool!

I also find "Forged in Fire" totally fascinating. The evaluations of the weapons created can be a bit over the top, but it's entertaining nonetheless.

There's a really interesting episode of "A Craftsman's Legacy" (on PBS) where they forge a knife that starts with iron ore bearing sand. They literally smelt the steel from sand, then forge a knife using it. This series is really interesting, as it covers a broad range of crafts, from metalsmithing, to wood working, to various types of weaving, to cheese and chocolate making and more. If you like to know how handcrafted products are made, you'll probably really enjoy it.

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Joined: 04 Mar 2004
Posts: 500
Location: Doylestown, PA

6/29/19 4:26 PM

A Craftman's Legacy did a show about Steve Bilenky.

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Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/29/19 9:08 PM

Yes, I think “top shot” was the name. I haven’t seen it for some time as my current cable package doesn’t have it.

I used to shoot small caliber rifle for competition. So yes, some interest in shooting sports! I think guns, or knives, are often well developed engineering work of art. At the minimum, beautiful craft.

I’ll have to look up Craftman’s Legacy. Yes, I enjoy that kind of things.

And Dan, I’ll look into Freyber’s Fair too. You make it really tempting, cycling and woodsmen fair just sounds like a perfect destination.

Speaking of competition, there’re “Code Camp” for computer programmers too. Last year, one pf the camp had a competition to use machine learning to do something useful during the Texas flood. A couple of groups came up with working programs that can successfully identify people standing on rooftop and trees. Help planning for the rescuers.

Probably not ready for TV though.

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