Second Annual Made in the South Awards

by Haskell Harris, Elizabeth Hutchison and T. Edward Nickens - Dec 2011/Jan 2012

The 2011 award winners prove the best things are made in Dixie


Photographs Stacy Newgent

Bobby Denton Rifles; Morganton, NC
With its tapered-and-flared octagonal barrel, baroque and rococo relief carvings, and sterling silver stock inlays, this .54 caliber flintlock takes the heralded “long rifle” to artistic heights Daniel Boone couldn’t fathom. Guitar and gun maker Bobby Denton makes one rifle at a time, to custom specifications, at his small workshop in the North Carolina foothills. And although his rifles are built along the lines of the 1740s–1770s Lancaster-style muzzle loaders, Benton doesn’t build replicas. Each one is original, historically accurate, and built to shoot. And guaranteed to turn heads. Price upon request;

Merrimack Canoe Co.; Crossville, TN
Maintaining a balance between technology and tradition is tricky, but after fifty-seven years in the boat-building business, the folks at Merrimack Canoe Company have it down. Each canoe is built by hand in their Tennessee workshop. Craftsmen reinforce the carbon-fiber, Kevlar, and fiberglass hull with wooden ribs made of Tennessee-sourced cherry, and finish up with hand-laced seats and brass hardware. The result is a beautiful yet durable boat. “You’ll never have to buy another canoe,” owner Jim Watkins says. “It’s the kind of thing that will be in the family for generations.”  $3,105–$3,345;