Pictured Above: Dakota Bayless of Lockwood, Mo., forges a shoe in May 2015 during the Heartland Horseshoeing School 20th anniversary contest in Lamar, Mo.
Metal glows hot, as a hammer pounds away in a Lockwood garage, this is where Missouri’s youngest blacksmith is being forged.
Dakota Bayless is 13 years old, and every day after school, this is where you’ll find him. This summer, you can’t pry this kid away from his anvil.
He started a couple years ago with help from Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo. He hopes to make a career out of it.
“I really don’t like just sitting around doing nothing,” Bayless says.
He admits he’s smashed a few fingers along the way.
“I picked up a hot shoe with [my] hand ... I won’t do it again, probably,” Bayless says.
By mowing lawns, he saved up money to buy his own welder which he uses to forge everything from decorations to boot and coat racks.
His mom and sisters help paint the art, which Bayless sells through his Facebook page. You can find him by searching for DB Blacksmith Shop.
Bayless’ goal is to become the youngest to become a certified journeyman farrier, and make a living shoeing horses. The youngest journeyman was 15 years 9 months, so Bayless has a couple more years to become skilled at shoeing horses and pass the journeyman test.