Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West Hosted a Free Blacksmithing Demonstration in Cody, Wyoming, August 16 - 18, 2013

History and modern art met at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West August 16, 17, and 18. Museum visitors stepped back to the time of the blacksmith with four professional blacksmiths who forged a horse sculpture using only tools of old time settlers: iron, fire, hammers, and anvils. They heated iron to a glowing orange and shaped it on the anvil with hammers of different shapes and sizes. As the iron bent and twisted, the blacksmiths chiseled it into pieces and reattached them with rivets and collars, all without modern electric tools! Over the three days, these artists in iron reheated the 4 by 4 foot horse sculpture over and over until it satisfied their artistic vision.

And now, you can buy this unique art piece and assist the Education Program of the Northern Rockies Blacksmiths Association

Horse Sculpture, hand forged from mild steel, about 50 x 44 x 20 inches, at "Blacksmithing is Art" Event, for Sale, $4000.

The artists in action. Not a single power tool was used to create the entire sculpture.

Forged by Frank Annighofer, Steve Fontanini, Duane Bomar (left to right, above), and by Annette Lavalette (below), during the demonstration at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, August 16-18 2013


Assist the NRBA Education Program by owning this fine sculpture. Contact either Frank Annighofer ( ) or Steve Fontanini ( ).

The blacksmith trade dates to before the discovery of the Americas by Europeans and remained critical well into the 1900s when machinery began to replace much of the blacksmiths’ work. Even Lewis and Clark brought their own blacksmiths along their famous expedition to take care of horses and to shoe them. On the Lewis and Clark Expedition, blacksmiths also made tools, repaired ships and carriages, and forged tomahawks for Indians in exchange for food. Blacksmithing went through various stages of development but is now most popular and common with sculpture and art. The weekend demonstration at the Center of the West revealed that age-old techniques of blacksmithing can be used to create contemporary art.

This three-day public demonstration was sponsored by the Northern Rockies Blacksmiths Association (NRBA), a non-profit organization that preserves the old art of blacksmithing. They support blacksmith education for new blacksmiths, continue professional development of working smiths, and raise public awareness for this old trade by setting up demonstrations.

The demonstration in Cody, Wyoming hosted blacksmiths Steve Fontanini from Jackson, Wyoming; Frank Annighofer and Annette Lavalette from Roscoe, Montana; and Duane Bomar from Sheridan, Wyoming. All four have many years of experience in forging metals from steel, copper, and bronze. They all create metal art and sculptures that can be found in private homes and galleries across the country. They also produce architectural forged iron like railings, gates, fire place accessories, light fixtures, and furniture.

For more information about the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and its public programs, visit

Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association.   Joel Machler, Treasurer, 5121 Foster Lane, Belgrade, MT 59714

NRBA Home   Blacksmith News   Board of Directors   Past Conferences  Future Conferences   Library  Touchmarks   NRBA Articles  Membership Application   Links  

Web editor: