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Last September, Craftsman launched MAKEcation, an inaugural event honoring master makers and Craftsman Club members. Guests joined celebrity MAKEcationer Rob Riggle at Lake Arrowhead Resort in southern California to hone their current skills and learn new ones. In addition to instructional sessions in cigar rolling, whiskey distilling and wood carving, MAKEcationers were treated to a private concert by 90’s rock band Everclear.
Set in the lush San Bernardino National Forest, the Lake Arrowhead resort treated MAKEcationers to incredible views, service and amenities.
Our MAKEcationers boosted their skills with sessions from masters in blacksmithing, woodworking, whiskey-making and more. They hung with uber-celeb Rob Riggle, took home exclusive Craftsman loot and bragging rights to last a lifetime.
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Rob Riggle is a very famous human.
The actor/writer/producer/director has played unforgettable characters in 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, The Hangover, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers and The Other Guys. Riggle will soon be seen in Let's Be Cops and Dumb and Dumber To.
Rob's also a host for FOX NFL Sunday, currently plays the President of the Nav on Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV::, held a corresponding stint on The Daily Show and hosted the 2012 ESPY award. Riggle's also contributed hilarious cameos on 30 Rock, The Office, Arrested Development, Modern Family and New Girl.
Prior to comedy, Rob was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, serving 22 years — 9 active — and earning over 21 medals and ribbons before retiring. In 1997, while still a member of the armed forces, Rob joined the Upright Citizens Brigade, earning a stint on one of comedy's biggest stages — Saturday Night Live.
Founding members of Community Woodshop LA, the Stevens brothers originally set out to create beautiful wood toys. In seeking a home for their operations, they established a fully equipped woodshop, with classes beginning in early 2013. A successful venture to say the least, the Community Woodshop has been covered extensively by LA Weekly, LA Times, Woodworking Network and Cabinet Maker.
A 30-year-old Kansas native, Chef Rocco Romeo got his start selling vegetables at the very root of freshness — the farmer's market. During culinary school, Romeo landed a gig at the most heralded Farm-to-Table restaurant in Kansas City — The Farmhouse — dabbling in whole animal butchery and charcuterie. He then became a member of the American Culinary Federation, moving to Los Angeles and working under renowned Chef Miles Thompson at Allumette. In January 2014, the hard work finally paid off, as Chef Rocco was named executive chef of Horse Thief BBQ and was chosen to lead the MAKEcation pitmaster session on how to properly cook a steak, grill a burger and make delicious homemade BBQ sauce.
Beth specializes in historical reproduction from the Iron Age and 19th century and has been teaching intermediate blacksmith classes for 10 years. A blacksmith on the Ladby Viking Skip project in Denmark, Beth aided in the reconstruction of a 10th century Viking ship — the only known buried Viking ship in Denmark — which will set sail later this year. She also forges and smelts iron at various Viking events and finished second at the prestigious Nordic Viking nail forging championships at the 2011 Moesgård Smedetræf. Beth will be an instructor at MAKEcation, teaching attendees blacksmithing and metalsmithing techniques as they craft personalized copper monogrammed money clips.
A certified chainsaw artist, Curtis honed his talents by hand carving and oil painting before finally picking up a chainsaw in 1999. Boasting an impressive BA in Studio Arts, Curtis excelled at chainsaw carving, being commissioned for carvings near his home (Southeastern Minnesota) and as far away as Japan. Known for his aggressive carving style and refined finishing, Curtis placed 2nd at the US Open Chainsaw Sculpting championships in 2013 and 4th in 2012. And speaking of Minnesota, he's carved pieces for notable Minnesotans, the Minnesota Wild, the Ordway Theatre, Bemidji State University and Forecast Public Art. Continually pushing the artistic limits, Curtis draws inspiration from his lifelong love of fast cars, sculptures and nature.
Murtaza Ahmadi has been in the cigar industry for nearly two decades and has owned The V Cut Cigar Lounge on Melrose since its opening in 1997. Working closely with some of the best cigar manufacturers and most sought after brands, Murtaza personally makes sure that the products he carries meet his standard in premium handrolled cigars. Quality and detail are both important traits to the business. In 2012, Murtaza and his brothers opened The V Cafe just a few doors down from The V Cut.
The President and Chief Instructor of Survival Training School (CA), Thomas is more than qualified to lead this course, teaching survival skills since the age of 16. Serving as a highly specialized wildland firefighter and professional rescuer for the U.S. Forest Service and Kern County Fire Department from 2001-2008, Thomas was a first responder for many of the nation's most devastating fires. Serving as a leader and other mission-critical positions on various fire crews, Thomas has every qualification you'd expect a survival expert to have — and then some.
Todd Paul, a partner at FEW Spirits (Evanston, IL), wears a number of hats to keep things running smoothly. Whether it's mashing grain or managing business operations, Todd's focus on making great whiskey is unwavering. With a background in both wine and beer making, Todd is most passionate about whiskey and particularly rye. After spending several years in Kentucky for graduate school, Todd began shaping his interests toward bourbon, gin and rye, and enjoys exploring the complexities of all aged spirits. His passion is evident at FEW, a grain-to-glass distillery that makes some of the finest spirits around. FEW's peerless formula starts with a passion for creating new and unique products and ends with spirits that please the palate and critics.