Thank you so much for your part in putting this together Jeff! I really enjoyed sitting and smoking a pipe in the smoking tent watching this. What an entertaining experience. I am sure that it was no easy feat to pull this off and you all made it look easy and effortless but I know you and Steve and many others put a lot of hard work into this event. Thank you.
Thanks for the comments Papamique and all of the other contributors to this thread. And I know that I worked hard over the several days of preparation. Yes sir, it was tough chugging down those huge slices of Chicago pizza in order to stay out of the way of all those young strong guys who were moving all that equipment, etc., into the room for the competition. But hey, somebody had to eat all that pizza so I was glad to be of help. (-:
As for the competition itself, it was great to see those young pipe makers challenge themselves by turning a block of briar into very nice pipes in one hour's time. And Jeff hit the nail on the head with his comments: "The objective of the Battle was to demonstrate just how talented these makers are--if they can make these in an hour under pressure, imagine what they can do with a pipe in 8 or 16 hours! Were these 'high-grade' pipes of the first quality? No, of course not. We don't have the time or equipment to do that, not to mention that it would hardly be an 'exciting' event to watch that happen. These were high grade pipemakers challenging themselves to see what they could do in an hour and they were all great!
In my prior career as a sports broadcaster for 25-years, many of the sporting events I covered like football, basketball, horse racing, etc., were entertaining due to the speed in which these athletes performed. And what made this particular pipe making event so exciting was that one hour time limit. Hey, I love pipe makers but would fall asleep quickly if I was among the crowd watching them make their usual high grade pipes for 16-hours! The event was live on YouTube and in the smoking tent, and I sure heard from a lot of very impressed observers who were, like me, fascinated at how those pipe makers actually came up with very nice smoking pipes in an hour's time. And long-time pipe enthusiasts like Sykes Wilford (president of smokingpipes.com) and Rick Newcombe (pipe collector and multiple pipe books author) were as entertained and in awe as I was at what took place in that one hour time period. I was very proud to be a part of that first-ever Battle of the Briar, and can't wait to see what Jeff and the Chicago Pipe Show crew come up with for an encore in 2024!
Have a great weekend everyone,