ELKHORN, Wis. — A screeching electric guitar opens the trailer for "Knife or Death," a new show debuting April 17 on the History Channel.
In the video, Bill Goldberg, a beastly former wrestling champion, tells the show's contestants, "This is the most utterly (expletive) knife competition ever created."
The video cuts to skilled knife experts competing for $20,000 by slicing through raw meat, boxes and fruit on a fiery obstacle course inside a warehouse. Goldberg describes one male contestant as "Robin Hood crossed with Rambo."
The Janesville Gazette reports that Pat Biggin is among the contestants. Along with being a shop teacher at Big Foot High School in the village of Walworth, he forges knives for his business, Howling Wolf Knife Works, which he runs out of his Elkhorn home.
Biggin didn't think he would be on the show. He applied for a spot in September, and the producer teetered between inviting him and telling him he didn't make the cut.
But one Sunday night in February, Biggin got a call letting him know he was accepted, and he hopped on a plane to Atlanta the next morning.
Biggin was given little information about the competition, but he was told to bring one knife.
"I was really interested how far my knife would go — what the use would be, how good my skills are as a maker," he said. "See if I come out the other side with a blade in one piece. It was a very good test."
Biggin has been working with knives since 2005. His grandfather handed down his great-grandfather's knife from World War II, and the craftsmanship piqued his interest.
"I ended up doing a lot of reading. Did informed guesswork after that," Biggin said. "And I learned more as I went."
Since then, Biggin has probably forged 3,000 to 4,000 knives. He works on them periodically throughout the week.
Forging is both technical and artistic, he said, and involves molding metal and combining leather, copper and bronze.
"It's about as close to magic as you can get. I'm able to do anything that comes into my head as long as I have enough metal to work with," he said.
Biggin said he's just as excited as viewers to watch the debut of "Knife or Death." Although he can't legally disclose much information about the show — such as, for example, if he wins — he said it was solid practice in an "outlandish" scenario.
During the few days of shooting, the contestants shared some camaraderie during their off-screen time, he said. Also, the trip was paid for, so it was like a free vacation and free advertising, he said.
"It will make me more recognizable on a knife floor," he said. "It'll be a nice marketing thing I can say I was a part of."
An AP Member Exchange shared by the Janesville Gazette.