Ben Secrist: Where is the Forged in Fire Winner Now?

History’s ‘Forged in Fire’ season 9 introduced us to thrilling new challenges and a collection of talented blacksmiths. The competitors are tasked with creating robust and elegant weapons that can pass judges’ appraisals and the stress test of being swung against targets made of iron, stone, and wood. In the fifth episode of the season, ‘Blades Gone Wild,’ a relatively new smith from South Carolina, Ben Secrist, emerged as the underdog winner with his durable Parang Nabur. The good-humored contestant was ecstatic about having won the coveted title of Forged in Fire Champion and returning home $10,000 richer. With some time having passed since his memorable victory, fans of the show may seek to uncover the path chosen by the fresh blacksmith.

Ben Secrist Continued Improving His Smithing

Ben returned to Saint George, South Carolina, under the legal obligation to keep his victory to himself before his episode aired on the History Channel. He went back to his two part-time jobs as a salesman for a Clarks shoe store and Brodbeck Ironworks. Having fairly recently started on the blacksmithing journey, Ben had also joined blacksmithing guilds and forged some knives in his downtime, which is what led to his opportunity to join up with Brodbeck Ironworks and sell grinders. Along with owners Ryan Brodbeck and Vince Molina, he traveled to the Blade Show in March 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. By early April, he attended the S.C. Custom Knifemakers’ Guild meet, which had its own two-person knifemaking challenge.

When the ‘Blades Gone Wild’ aired in late April, Ben was overwhelmed with congratulatory messages and support. He took to social media to thank all those who had helped him on his journey, especially his friends John Medlin and Matt, who lent him the equipment he needed to forge the Parang Nabur. Inspired by his creation on the show, the ‘Forged in Fire’ star began a personal project of making a sword. Sword-making was one of the reasons Ben had gotten into blacksmithing in the first place. His wife, Amber, was fascinated with collecting replicas of Lord of the Rings swords and encouraged him to take up the hobby in order to forge some of the replicas that were never made.

Ben Secrist is the Customer Service Manager at Brodbeck Ironworks

May 2022 saw Ben leaving his job at Clarks and joining full-time as the Sales and Customer Service Manager at Brodbeck Ironworks. He really began immersing himself into the welcoming smithing community and spent a lot of time with new craftsmen friends in the June 2022 Blade Show. He also raised awareness of Critical Congenital Heart Disease along with his employers, donating a CPM 154 paring knife with bog oak and red g10 liners to a set that was raffled off at the Shaker Run Golf Club. After continuing to practice various metalworking styles and techniques, Ben attended the Quadstate event as a representative of Brodbeck Ironworks with Coal Iron Works in Troy, Ohio in September.

The ‘Forged in Fire’ winner bolstered his passion for smithing when he traveled to Madison, Georgia, to attend the SBA Madison conference with smith Todd Elder, representing South Carolina with the Philip Simmons Artists Guild. Their collaborative Damascus knife won the Best Knife award at the conference. In the following month, the star blacksmith spoke with Brute de Forge, explaining his journey to ‘Forged in Fire’ and talking about his work with Brodbeck Ironworks.

When asked about how he joined the company, Ben said, “Vince and Ryan had had their thing going with the grinders, and at the time, a different ‘Forged in Fire’ guy was involved, John Medlin—a great friend of mine. He and I started working on building a guild in South Carolina with the help of Dan Eastland. We had the guild going and set up in John’s shop, and Vince and Ryan came down.” He explained further, “They started telling me they needed some help with customer service. I had been working in shoe sales previously, which I had done for about fourteen years. When they mentioned that to me, I saw it as an opportunity to get into the industry I was already very interested in. So, that was a big draw for me, and I took the job.”

Since his time on the show, Ben Secrist has continued to advance his career and passion towards blacksmithing. He continues to hone his craft with new smithing skills and techniques, including mosaic Damascus, but has yet to complete his dream sword project. Ben’s journey exemplifies his dedication to the art of smithing and his commitment to supporting and growing the community around it.

Read More: Matthew Shirey: Forged in Fire Winner is a Social Studies Teacher Today