Former Monroe Native Drew Goodson has been interested in blacksmithing as far back as he can remember and his smithing dreams recently came true on Tuesday, May 1, when at 18 years old he became the youngest ever champion on The History Channel's “Forged in Fire.”
“Forged in Fire” is a blacksmith competition with three rounds. In the first round contestants must forge a particular blade, in the second they must make their blades into full weapons adding the necessary equipment such as handles, and in the third round the last two contestants are sent to their home forges where they must forge a difficult to make weapon with their own tools in five days.
There are usually four contestants with one eliminated in each round. The winner receives $10,000 and the title of Forged in Fire champion.
Goodson, an architecture student at Louisiana Tech, has always been interested in smithing and this show got him even more intrigued. The judges: J. Neilson, David Baker and Doug Marcaida became some of his role models. He met Neilson who persuaded him to apply for the show.
“I answered a questionnaire and did a few Skype interviews,” he said.
He was selected for the show and competed in Episode 9 of Season 5 against Jason Nass, James Reichow and Larry Metcalf.
In their first round they had to forge a Damascus European Dagger blade, one of Neilson's favorites. In the second round they had to make the fluted handle and guard. In both of these rounds the smiths were given three hours.
In the final round featuring Goodson against Jason Nass they had to make an African Zande Spear using their own tools and were given five days to do it. According to Goodson, it wasn't easy.
“It was my biggest challenge going home with my primitive tools and trying to make the biggest weapon I had ever made,” he said.
In the end, Nass's could not be tested so Goodson was declared the champion.
“At first I didn't believe it,” he said. “It was so unreal I didn't fully comprehend it until I got home the next day.”
Goodson said he had a very memorable time on the show that he will never forget. He said one of his favorite parts of being there was talking with and getting to know the other contestants in the waiting room and mentioned that once they got so bored they made a game of golf. He also loved meeting the judges he had come to look up to.
Goodson was up against three other smiths, all who were quite a few years older than him, but after racing against the clock and coming up against his own weaknesses he doesn't fully see the other contestants as the real competition.
“ “Forged in Fire” isn't really a competition against other blacksmiths,” he said. “It's a competition against yourself.”
Now that the competition is over he is continuing with his smithing and tries always to create tools for others that are useful.
“It's nice knowing that people will benefit from what I make,” he said.
Goodson said he is proud of what he accomplished and is grateful for the opportunity to accomplish his dream of being a blacksmith.