When Ed Fowler moved to Riverton, WY in the 70s to help his ailing father, he didn’t expect to rekindle a childhood passion. Cowboy State Daily, recently featured Fowler and his journey to becoming a world-class bladesmith.
Over the ensuing decades, Fowler has built up a workshop, hired an apprentice, and now sells his knives all over the world. His custom blades, made from raw steel from Pennsylvania, can fetch more than $2,000. Fowler was self-taught and forges his knives with utility and function in mind.
What started as a hobby bloomed into a life-long craft and career, and Fowler’s residence in Riverton was the perfect place to pursue his passion. Riverton is a city that pays more than lip service to entrepreneurs. The city’s Bootstrap Collaborative is a unique program that offers startup funding, accounting and marketing services, financial advice, and educational resources for small businesses.
Spearheaded by Central Wyoming College, the partnership, which also includes County 10, Maker Space 307, and Wind River Development Fund, brings together several services and organizations within the Fremont County region to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in the local community from manufacturing, and construction to local clothing boutiques, dance studios, and nonprofits.
The college not only supports local businesses through the Collaborative, but also educates future business owners. CWC offers degrees in unique trades like agriculture, welding, and entrepreneurship, which all impact the local job market and economy.
“In Wyoming, I’ve been free. The most important aspect of this state is the freedom,” Fowler told Cowboy State Daily in his interview.
That freedom continues to draw people to Wyoming, where they find the support of a community that has enabled generations of Riverton residents to follow their passions and succeed.