About Us

Who runs CombatCon?

The Founder

Jared Kirby is the President of CombatCon. He has been here since the beginning after creating the idea with Tim Ruzicki. There are many things he loves about the event. Right now he is impressed by its ability to continue to try new things. Every year we seem to incorporate new ideas. Some succeed, some fail and the people who come back every year are extremely supportive either way. We have some of the best human beings on the planet attend this event every year!

His happiest memory changes every year, but the theme stays the same. He hears at least one story from someone whose life has been changed forever. There are people who train regularly with an instructor now that they met seven years ago at the first CombatCon. There are several people who are married now because they met that special someone at CombatCon. That’s amazing!

He loves the staff. They come together to run CombatCon every year and do a kick-ass job. Jared learns more about each person, every year. At CombatCon 2018 one of his funniest memories is finding out that someone does not have a thyroid. This meant that without food it took only one drink to become extremely drunk. I will never forget our walk to find food. Even intoxicated they were such a kind hearted person! Moreover, 15 minutes later (and a slice of pizza) they were stone cold sober. It was like nothing ever happened.

Jared thinks people should come to this event because it’s a blast. It doesn’t really matter what kind of combat art you’re into. You’ll find a bunch of other people that are into that too. You could be in the HEMA, TSL sabers, modern personal protection, classical fencing, stunt fighting, stage combat, writing about combat, and more. There’s a bunch of other people into that who are ready to hang out and get to know you. What a great excuse to visit Las Vegas!

Jared continues with CombatCon because of the people who come. As the years go by there is an ever-increasing number of passionate people attending. It doesn’t matter what they’re passionate about, passionate people love hanging out with each other. So what if you’re into full armored combat and they’re into cosplay; if you’re both passionate about it then that passion is contagious. Maybe they’ll try on some armor or try out a cosplay.

The Architect

Tim Ruzicki handles the programming and stuff. He has been at CombatCon since the beginning. Tim is busy with the programming so couldn’t write this.

The Showrunner

Kris Meden has been volunteering with CombatCon since the very beginning back in 2011. In 2016 she took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator and in 2017 moved to Director of Operations. For Kris the work she does for CombatCon is a labor of love as she cares so much about the group she works with and the event they put on together. What she loves most is the opportunity for anyone to be turned on to new and cool things they otherwise might not have been exposed to.

One of Kris’s favorite memories from CombatCon is the time, as a volunteer, she got to assist Richard Hatch (from Battlestar Galactica) with Audio/Visual set up while she was dressed as a modern series Starbuck. At CombatCon you never know what opportunity will present itself next, and to Kris CombatCon is about sharing the unique things we love with other who have similar yet varied interests.

The Face

Rockit, as she is known to the family of those who make CombatCon happen each year, is the Director of Finances and Participant Relations. She assists with questions throughout the year and you’ll find her on-site at the main registration desk during most of the convention. Rockit started volunteering for CombatCon back in 2014 after meeting CC President Jared Kirby, and other volunteers and instructors at Art of Combat’s NYC Stage and Screen workshop in 2013. She has loved time with this amazing group of people so much that she comes back to the “family reunion” every year.

Rockit’s happiest memories of CombatCon (beside spending time with all the staff members and instructors from all over the world) are from her favorite class: Cruel and Unusual Weapons (or as she calls it “Group Therapy with Swords”). There is nothing quite like smashing a piece of furniture with a sword and the elation and relaxation you feel afterwards.

She believes people should come to CombatCon because there is nothing else quite like it. It is inclusive of some many different types interests. Do you like swords? Maybe you prefer hand-to-hand styles better? Do you like acting or stunt-work? How about history? Cosplay? Writing? Meeting people from tv shows or movies? Do you like to compete and show off your skills? There are so many different reasons for this crazy, awesome group of people to come together in Vegas for a weekend and share and explore new ideas together. And that’s the main reason Rockit comes back year after year. (Also, Tim and Jared are pretty cool, I guess…)

The Trophy Bear

Christopher Nelson is officially in charge of Sponsors, Vendors, CombatCon Experience Hall, Tournaments, and all bear affairs. He has volunteered for CombatCon for 4 years, and enjoys spending time with a his friends the most of all.  

His favorite memory so far was impossible to say as there are just too many fun times at this event and with all the incredible experiences that present each year how can you afford to miss out?

The Wrangler

Kari Miller assists in getting information for classes & panels to help create the program/schedule. She has been with the family of volunteers since 2013.  When asked what did she love the most about CombatCon she exclaimed “MAH PEOPLE!”

Kari’s most treasured moment was when Paul McDonald said “Stir the soup” while demonstrating stabbing someone in the “Storming the Castle!” class.

Kari believes everyone should give CombatCon a try as it is the most unique event you could ever attend and you will meet people who will change your life.  And you will make some amazing friends!

The Swordsman

Julian is the head of the HEMA tournaments in Combat Con. Julian has been teaching internationally and competing in HEMA since 2011, and has been a regular at CombatCon for the last 3 years. CombatCon is his favourite event due to the high quality cutting tournaments, and high focus on martial validity in all the events. Currently studying to be a kinesiologist, being able to see a wide array of people apply their understanding of biomechanics to their style has been invaluable. His favourite part of the event is the focus on high martial standards across a large variety of weapon sets, as well as being able to see and fight his international friends.

The Saberist

Terry Roland Birnbaum II has 8 years experience in Saber Combat. He’s the President/CEO/Co-Owner/Co-Founder of TSL, and lives by the motto of “United Through Sabers”. When TSL had the opportunity to connect with CombatCon, Terry jumped at the chance to join the growing family. The growth of TSL in the past year has been a hard-earned source of accomplishment, and he is looking forward to many more years of this partnership.

Terry has been influenced heavily by these individuals to push the sport of Saber Combat to the next level – Aaron Rieley, Charley Cummings, Jared Graham, Richard Marsden, Kay Sakuae, Tom Amoroso and Tom Badillo. Each one of these people have helped pave the way for saber combat. He wishes to express his thanks to everyone.