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Blade-throwing, death-defying feats at Pine-Moore

The Rhinestone Roper Show is a family affair. Dan Mink (center), aka the Rhinestone Roper, gave up a career in law to become a cowboy entertainer. He roped wife Yvonne (right) and daughter Emilee into the show, which includes him throwing knives at them. They will entertain during the Pine-Moore Blade Throwing Extravaganza on Saturday-Sunday, May 25-26, at the Buggy Barn Museum, 1915 Main Street in Blanco. The event features knife and tomahawk throwing workshops and competitions. Courtesy photo

The Pine-Moore Blade Throwing Extravaganza in Blanco is at the cutting edge of its featured competition.

“It’s never been done before,” said Dan Mink, a knife and tomahawk throwing competitor. “Nobody’s every held a mounted knife throwing championship.”

World championship, which takes place during the Extravaganza. The two-day event is Saturday-Sunday, May 25-26, at the Buggy Barn Museum, home of Pine-Moore Town and Pine Moore Old West Studio. It runs 10 AM-7 PM Saturday and 10 AM-6:30 PM Sunday.

Along with the mounted competition, the weekend also includes the Mountain Man Knife and Hawk Throwing Contest as well as workshops by Mink and Melody Joy Cuenca, an 11-time world knife and tomahawk throwing champion and winner of the 2018 Texas state women’s division.

Wild West entertainment includes the Pistol Packin’ Paula Show and the Rhinestone Roper Show, featuring Mink, wife Yvonne, and daughter Emilee.

Tickets for the show are $15 each day or $25 for a two-day pass. Entry fees for the throwing competitions are $50 each.

Mink didn’t start out as a trick ropin’, bullwhip crackin’, knife and tomahawk throwin’ cowboy. His path first led to a career in law.

He recalled the moment he decided to turn in his attorney’s briefcase for a bag of rope tricks and blades.

“I was at a trial in some town, and, during lunch break, I was walking down the street,” the Idaho resident said, “and I saw this reflection of a man losing his hair and looked like life was just getting past him. It was me. That was my reflection.”

So Mink became the Rhinestone Roper.

Several years later, Mink and his wife and daughter tour the country eight to nine months out of the year performing shows and giving demonstrations.

The Rhinestone Roper started with his feet planted firmly on the ground. But, as a performing cowboy, Mink realized his horse needed to be part of the show. He began honing his blade-throwing skills in the saddle, a challenging feat.

Mink pointed out that a good relationship between horse and rider is a must. The animal has to maintain a steady line as it carries the thrower toward the targets, usually three in a row during a competition.

“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Mink said.

He’ll go over the basics during his workshop.

Mink’s wife Yvonne and daughter Emilee are also part of the act, showing off their rope and bullwhip skills as well as their nerves of steel. During the show’s Wheel of Death act, they’re strapped onto a giant, spinning wheel as Mink throws knives at it, creating an outline around the two women.

“There’s only on spot on the wheel I can see, and it’s the one I’m focused on,” Mink said. “That’s where the knife will go.”

The other big show at the event features Pistol Packin’ Paula, a three-time world champion gun spinner.

For a full schedule of events at the Pine-Moore Blade Throwing Extravaganza, visit the Buggy Barn website.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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