Before Cal Poly alumnus Jordan Kepler had even realized it, he became the winner of season 8, episode 10 “Head Hunters Revenge,” of the History channel’s competition “Forged in Fire.”
“They even said ‘Jordan, you’re smiling,’ or ‘you can breathe now,’ because I was just laughing and holding my breath at the same time,” Kepler said.
Forged in Fire is a competition among bladesmiths who attempt to “recreate historical edged weapons,” according to the History channel.
In his episode, Kepler was challenged in each of three rounds with time constraints. In the first round, contestants make a blade, in the second they turn the blade into a weapon and in the third they recreate a historical weapon.
In the final round, the remaining two competitors are sent to their at-home workshops. Once finished, the “more elaborate weapon” is brought back to the show to be tested for strength, sharpness and skill, according to Kepler.
Encouraged by his friends to go on the show and put his money where his mouth is, Kepler said that being on set and completing the challenges himself was a lot different than watching the show on TV.
“The stress level was unbelievable,” he said. “Everything was thrown to the wall and you just had to react to what was thrown at you.”
Kepler said that small mistakes can be detrimental timewise.
As a former industrial technology major, Kepler said he has been making knives more seriously for the past four years. He began making some for friends and eventually turned it into a business, Lost Sasquatch Provisions.
The business’ name and slogan, “Be Like Sasquatch,” were inspired by Kepler’s love for keeping public land clean.
“Sasquatch does it best because he never leaves anything behind and always cleans up after himself,” he said.
Kepler’s fiance and “elementary school sweetheart” Katarina Devine, who is also a Cal Poly alumni, works on the business side of Lost Sasquatch.
She described Kepler as very authentic and always 100% himself.
“Winning was a huge accomplishment and the best surprise,” Devine said in a message on Instagram to Mustang News. “I had faith in his abilities but it was a hard competition, so it was very gratifying to watch him take home the champion title.”
Kepler said his experience as a teacher’s assistant at Cal Poly, as well as grandparents who supported and bought him tools through the years, helped him get to where he is now.
“Really getting my hands into all that stuff was a big proponent to be able to get to some higher levels in metalworking and sparked that interest for sure,” he said.
Looking to the future, Kepler hopes to expand his business as well as become more detailed with his knife work and patterns.