As a young man growing up in rural South Carolina, Bobby Branton developed a passion for knives that has stayed with him throughout his adult life.
In his younger years, knives were tools used for skinning game, filleting fish and throwing as a means of entertainment. Then in 1983, edged weapons took a different perspective in Bobby's life when he discovered some custom knives in a local shop.
He was amazed at the beauty and craftsmanship of these handcrafted blades and started his own collection. His interest grew so readily that he read every book he could locate on the subject and decided to try his hand at knife making.
After constant reading, research and collecting of knives, Bobby reconstructed his shop in order to create these treasured handcrafted knives
Through his research he discovered one common factor, a man named George Herron. He was a master craftsman who had a seven year wait for his custom knives.
Mr. Herron soon befriended Bobby and soon a close bond formed between the two craftsman. Bobby purchased knives from him while gaining much advice and valuable pointers.
Bobby makes his working knives by the "Stock Removal Method" and by hand forging various metals.
His style has obviously been influenced by George Herron and Walter Brend along with forging techniques from well known Master Bladesmith, James Crowell.
Bobby has become an expert knifemaker and was awarded his "Journeyman Bladesmith" stamp at the 1992 Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia by the American Bladesmith Society.
Bobby met legendary blademaker Harry K. McEvoy in 1987. McEvoy taught Bobby the fine art of handcrafting throwing knives, he also helped design Bobby's first series of throwing knives.
Bobby has since designed several models of throwing knives that have been used to win major knife throwing competitions across the country.
Another turning point in his career was when Bobby met knife throwing legends Paul LaCross and Kenneth Pierce (Che Che Whitecloud). LaCross was billed as "The Worlds Foremost Knife, Axe and Tomahawk Thrower". It was Paul who taught and motivated Bobby to put together a throwing exhibition which he performs throughout the south east.
LaCross retired in 1990 due to health reasons and passed away in 1992. In 1996 with the help of Stephen McEvoy, Kenneth Pierce and his wife Nancy and a few close friends, Bobby was instrumental in reorganizing the American Knife Throwers Alliance and held what has been arguably the first knife and tomahawk throwing only contest in over 20 years.
He has assisted numerous individuals in starting knife throwing contest around the world. In contest Kenneth Pierce still comes down to visit Bobby and his wife Brenda once a year to assist in preparations for the American Knife Throwers Alliance National Championships each year and is one of the clubs biggest supporters.
Bobby has been promoting the art of knife throwing by giving seminars on the subject of knife throwing since 1996. Also, in 1996 Bobby was awarded the South Carolina State Folk Heritage Award for the work in Bladesmithing and for preserving the traditions of South Carolina. While promoting knife throwing to the general public, Bobby has taught thousands of Boy Scouts and even a number of Army Rangers as well as few celebrities the fine art of knife throwing.
Over the years Bobby’s knives have been featured in most of the Knives annuals and he and his work have been featured in other publications such as Knife World, Blade Magazine, Tactical Knives, Knives Illustrated and South Carolina Wildlife.
Bobby has handcrafted knives for such greats as Paul Lacross, Che Che Whitecloud, who is billed as "The Fastest Knife Thrower in the World", Knife Throwing great Larry Cisewski and Former Governor of South Carolina Carroll Campbell and The former Governor of Texas George W. Bush, who has gone on to be President of the United States .
Bobby's knives are sold and exhibited all over the world with avid consumers in England, Germany, France, Israel, Australia, Japan and Canada. One of Bobby's throwing knives now resides in the world famous Randall knife museum in Orlando Florida.
Over the years, Bobby has been a consultant to a number of production companies who sought out his expertise in knife throwing for shows such as Guinness book of world records, Fear factor, That’s Incredible, Maxim magazine and Men's Health magazine. Bobby has authored four articles on the subject for Blade Magazine® and one article for The 5th annual Levine's guide to knives.
In 2004, Bobby was hired by a production company to be a technical advisor and to train actress Salma Hayek for a role in a new movie "Bandidas" to be released in January, 2006. Bobby was flown to L.A. to train Miss Hayek for the role of a bank robber who happens to be an expert with knives. After the training in L.A. Bobby was flown to the movie set in Mexico City to further train Ms. Hayek and to act as a technical advisor during filming.
A couple of weeks later after leaving Mexico City, Bobby was then flown to Durango, Mexico where he performed the actual throwing on location for the more difficult throwing scenes. Bobby also designed and crafted some very special throwing knives for Miss Hayek and actor Sam Shepard to use in the film.
In addition to making and throwing knives, Bobby has become an "aficionado" of the western arts of whip cracking and traditional archery. As a result of the deaths of Paul LaCross and Harry K. McEvoy, a great loss is felt in the brotherhood of knife throwing and traditional archery. Therefore, Bobby vows to preserve and promote the dying arts of the old West. In his career Bobby has become involved in promoting his craft and keeping tradition alive.