The spread of competitive axe throwing is in full swing as locations continue to spring up throughout the U.S. Originally from Pittsburgh, LumberjAxes, an axe throwing facility, opened a new location in Tempe just this year. They welcome any and all seeking to hurl sharp objects with their friends. Housed in a former warehouse, this axe throwing range offers plenty of lanes to accommodate any party size.
Supervisor Tim Aldridge details the inspiration behind the establishment, the pricing structure and the experience patrons can expect.
Alfred Varela: If you've ever wanted the chance to compete against your friends in an axe throwing competition, but have never found an appropriate venue on campus, rest assured that within the Tempe vicinity lies the Valley's go-to competitive axe throwing facility, LumberjAxes.
Tim Aldridge: LumberjAxes Axe Throwing was started by a couple of brothers and friends in Pittsburgh. This is the first location outside of Pittsburgh. It is an axe throwing facility, where we have competitions, we have leagues. We just teach people how to throw axes, and it's a heck of a good time.
So my name is Tim, last name is Aldridge, and I'm what you'd consider the Axe-pert here. I started here not really knowing too much, but I've thrown probably ten thousand-plus throws and I'm a little supervisor here at LumberjAxes.
Alfred Varela: Considering the uniqueness of an establishment such as this, one has to wonder, what was behind the inspiration to bring axe throwing to the greater Phoenix area?
Tim Aldridge: From just the first month, anybody that tastes axe throwing loves it. It's like a habit. I get people coming in here once a week (saying), "My day off is Wednesday afternoon. I will be in here every Wednesday afternoon just to blow off steam from the week." That’s the best part about it. You're mad at something? Throw a little bit harder. It'll stick, but it feels good when you whump into that wood.
It is immensely gaining traction in the United States. It started off with just a few, they're spotty, but now it's a phenomenon. We have never had somebody come in here and say, "Nah, it's only okay." We always get people coming in here thinking, "It's going to be somewhere between a five to seven maybe. I'm not good. I'm not a physically athletic person. I can't do anything like that." It doesn't matter. I've had a six-year-old stick a bullseye. I've had an eighty-five-year-old – this lady was a tough old bird – she just kept sticking bull's eye after bull's eye, and she says, "I like doing this.” We get people from all over the state coming in like, "I heard there's axe throwing in Phoenix, so we actually came down. We're doing something else, but we wanted to make this part of our trip down here because we want to experience it." We get stories like that nonstop. With something like that, I would call it sort of a phenomenon.
Alfred Varela: But how does this all work in practice? What sort of experience should you expect when you visit?
Tim Aldridge: I hate having people throw by themselves. If you were to come in by yourself, generally if there's enough axe coaches available, or if there's enough free time, an axe couch will get you set up. After you get the handle of that, we'll step up and show you how to do a couple of trick shots. If you're coming in by yourself, because you do have a lot more throws individually, you have an opportunity to rapidly advance. If you come in by yourself, we’ll show you how to throw one handed, then we'll show you how to do a spinning shot, and then there's cool rotations. There's double rotations of the axe before it hits the wood, there's a one and a half rotation – there are different things. Basically, when you come in by yourself, you have a lot of throws. So when you get them down, we like to help you advance your technique, so that way you have a good time.
It doesn't matter age or sex, you can stick an axe because it's actually a physics-based sport. So as long as you stick to the proper movements, you will stick that axe. That's part of the beauty of it: anyone can do it. As far as coming in for small town events, those last about an hour. Those are $20 dollars a person for that hour, and the second hour is half price. It's very reasonable.
As far as a group goes, when you're tasting it, you always want more. It's never enough time when you come in for only an hour at $20 a person. The group has an axe coach with you, monitoring your scores, keeping track of them, hosting a giant March Madness-style tournament bracket where these two face off, these two face off, and then the winner of those two will face off. (That's) $35 a person for a six or more party with an axe coach with you the entire time.
Alfred Varela: And for any students still on the fence about giving competitive axe throwing a shot, Tim leaves you with this.
Tim Aldridge: As far as ASU students go, they realize that it's not like every other sport -- everyone can do it. It may seem like axe throwing is out there, and it's a hard reach, but it's not. It's similar to darts, where if you know how to throw it, you can do it. Axe throwing is a hell of a lot of fun, and you're just missing out on an opportunity that's right in front of your face. It's just right down the street. If you're going to take a small trip just to check it out, see what it's like – couldn't hurt.
Alfred Varela: For The State Press, I'm Alfred Varela.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com and on Twitter @avstatepress.