Ira Houseweart: Where is the Forged in Fire Winner Now?

‘Forged in Fire’ is a reality competition series that puts bladesmiths through tests of skill and ingenuity as they recreate esoteric weaponry after a few rounds of eliminations. The History show combines elements of history, craftsmanship, and competition, with season 9, episode 4, culminating in a thrilling challenge to create a serrated Indian saber. Colorado smith Ira Houseweart forged the finest of the serrated swords, which held up under stress tests, and went on to help him secure the grand prize of $10,000. The confident and humble champion gained much appreciation from fans of the show, who may just be asking themselves how Ira spent the prize money and what he is up to these days.

Ira Houseweart Bought a Coal Iron Works Press

Ira Houseweart, the victor, returned to his hometown of Hotchkiss, Colorado, and quickly settled back into the daily demands of his business, Ira Houseweart Metalworks LLC, a company he has run for 23 years. As he was not allowed to disclose the details of the show’s result, Ira kept the big reveal to himself and hosted a viewing party for his episode at the Memorial Hall. After having watched him ace the sheet metal challenge on TV, congratulatory messages and appreciation poured in as he celebrated with friends and family at the hall.

Ira’s ornate metalworking was already recognized in his town and even parts of the state, with his signs, fences, and benches sprucing up public spaces and business venues. However, the show cast light onto his personal interest in bladesmithing, something which he pulled off with equal intricacy.

His inclination towards experimenting with the craft of historical weapons captured the imagination of many and led to an increased demand for special commissions. Besides the money and increased popularity he received on the show, Ira took home an admiration for the Coal Iron Works Hydraulic Press. He, therefore, used part of the prize money to finance the purchase of one such press for his workshop, which allowed him and his apprentices further creative freedom in their projects.

After showing off an awe-inspiring Integral Cu Mai, Ira concluded his years-spanning project at Paonia River Park in June 2022, where his company installed sculptures of animals, ornamental fences, and signposts. His streak of introducing mind-blowing sculptures continued in July when he set up a stainless steel triceratops bike rack in Golden at the Origin Hotel Red Rocks.

With a job well done, the ‘Forged in Fire’ winner went on a weekend fishing trip with his teen daughter, Cece, leading a pack of mules through the idyllic wilderness. The family enjoyed a calming swim in a lake surrounded by mountainous alpine landscapes. The blacksmith’s work often took him to picturesque countryside houses, parks, schools, and farmsteads, providing refreshing relief from the heat of the workshop.

Ira Houseweart is an Inspiring In-Demand Craftsman

A common thread among all the comments clients and fellow professionals have made regarding Ira is a true appreciation of the man’s creativity and mastery of his craft. In May 2024, the fifth-generation Hotchkiss resident made a gigantic antler bike stand, the latest in a series of installments for the local Colorado government’s bicycle infrastructure project, inviting much praise from officials.

“We are truly blessed to have Ira Houseweart right here in Hotchkiss, a small mountain town in Delta County,” said Delta County Commissioner Don Suppes. “He’s not just a blacksmith; he’s an artist who breathes life into metal, shaping it to tell stories of beauty and function. His work is more than mere utility; it’s a testament to craftsmanship and creativity.”

The Forage Sisters, a catering and events service, were extremely pleased with the craftsman’s delivery and took to social media to thank him. “Our live fire events would be nothing without (Ira Houseweart),” wrote the Forage Sisters online. “The Forged In Fire Champion created our mobile grills with options for grills, flattops, and hanging. We also needed them light enough to break down and move everywhere with us. He went above and beyond, and we definitely have more custom metal work we’d love to collaborate on with him!”

At the Blade Show 2024, held in Atlanta, Georgia, fellow blacksmiths and professionals recognized his skill, with some calling him the “most talented blacksmith they know.” Ira is married to Cynthia Houseweart and involves their daughters in his craft, enriching their experience with insights into the business while also taking them on rejuvenating wilderness retreats. From what we can gather, Ira Houseweart is a model father, a creative professional, and an absolute inspiration.

Read More: Jesse Hu: Where is the Forged in Fire Winner Now?