Then have a beer.
➼ Betsy Robbins was a little hesitant when friends invited her to a night at Mountain Man Axe Throwing in Westover. Throwing axes and drinking beer didn’t sound like such a great idea.
She was surprised. “It was really safe,” she says.
The safety wasn’t the only thing that surprised her. “It was a lot harder than I thought.” She joked with her friends, “‘Watch this one—bullseye!’ And then it would land on the floor,” she laughs.
Opened in September 2018, Mountain Man Axe Throwing is designed and operated for safety and fun, says coach Anthony Kechter. Trained coaches spend time with each person and group. “We demonstrate the three ways to throw,” he says. Then they hang out during sessions, offering advice and correcting form to ensure a good time for everyone.
In addition to the presence of coaches, the facility itself is designed for safety. Fencing surrounds lanes so that axes cannot be thrown across the room. There are guidelines for where to stand so that, if an axe ricochets, the thrower won’t be hit. The facility enforces a no-open-toed-shoe rule.
Kechter remembers an incident when he was coaching and an axe did go flying, resulting in a feat he would not have believed without having seen it. The participant threw the axe two-handed, and the ax flew up and hit the ceiling and came down at an angle—the perfect angle: It landed in the bulls-eye. “It was the coolest thing,” he says.
Typically, it takes people 10 to 15 minutes of throwing to get the ax to stick in the wooden target board. It’s a good workout, too. One regular customer who practices yoga for fitness skips yoga once a month in favor of ax throwing to vary her workout routine, Kechler says.
The drinks do flow, but just a little. Mountain Man’s BYOB policy limits customers to one beer if throwing for one hour or three if throwing for two hours. Robbins and her friends showed up with the limit, but learning the sport and playing various suggested games kept them so entertained, they didn’t finish the drinks they’d brought.
For avid throwers, Mountain Man Axe Throwing hosts league nights, following the rules of the World Axe Throwing League and entering individual league high scores as part of the official WATL record. “It’s kind of a more competitive scenario,” Kechter says, as opposed to the date night, friends’ groups, birthday parties, families ages 12 and up, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and other groups who throw for the fun of it.
“We can also bring ax throwing to you,” Ketcher says—their mobile unit is available for weddings, graduation parties, and other events. “I suggest everyone try it at least once.”
Robbins recommends it, too, even for those who don’t think they’ll be good at it. “You don’t know until you try,” she says. “You might surprise yourself.”
30 Commerce Drive, Westover, 681.209.7501, mountainmanaxethrowing.com
written by Aldona Bird
photo courtesy of Mountain Man Axe throwing