Hatchet Job: Bad Axe Throwing Comes to Denver

photo-courtesy-bad-axe-throwing-facebook

Photo courtesy Bad Axe Throwing/Facebook

Tired of darts, pool, shuffleboard or video games? Looking for a social pastime with a little more, well, heft? It’s time to channel your inner Lizzie Borden, Gimli or Jack Torrance (OK, without the violent tendencies) and wield an axe on your next night out.

Bad Axe Throwing, 845 E. 73rd Ave., an urban axe-throwing club, just opened in Denver, where axe throwing coaches will teach the skill to walk-ins, leagues, private parties and at team building events. Founded by Ontario-based Mario Zelaya in 2014, the company has expanded across Canada and the United States with 11 locations. We caught up with Zelaya to learn more about the axe-throwing trend.

So, what, exactly, is axe throwing?

“Axe throwing is what we call bowling 2.0. We see it as the future of entertainment. Axe throwing is literally what it sounds like: It’s picking up an axe and throwing it at a target—but it’s a lot more fun than what I make it out to sound like. The concept of axe throwing has been around for decades and decades. We’re the founder of urban axe throwing, so we’re the company that essentially has made the sport popular and has brought it to the mainstream to where people now want to celebrate corporate events, birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties and divorce parties.”

How did the club start?

“It started as a backyard pastime … with a group of friends having fun in their backyard. That’s where we figured we could make the sport popular and mainstream. I believe we can take this and make it into something that’s awesome, cool, fun and mainstream that people will want to do indoors. We were getting a growing list of people who wanted to essentially throws axes with us in our backyard. We took that and created the first axe throwing club … The first location was here out of Burlington, Ontario.”

Who does axe throwing appeal to?

“People think that it’s these hipsters with beards but they’re actually not the main type of people that it appeals to. We have people that come in and join our league that are professionals—from doctors coming to lawyers. Axe throwing is accessible to everyone; everyone loves it.”

Does the club offer lessons or instructional opportunities?

“The world axe-throwing league is the governing bodying for urban axe throwing. When you go into a WATL certified location like Bad Axe Throwing Club you sign a waiver, receive general instruction and rules, go through a full training, breakdown, as well as safety precautions and then create competitive teams. All of the locations (six in the United States by the end of the year) have axe-throwing leagues and are part of the world axe-throwing league. The leagues connect worldwide and crown an axe-throwing champion each December.

What is the core message? 

“We want to show people how axe throwing is such a great and social sport where you can meet people, be outgoing, be active and, surprisingly, it is a phenomenal workout. The core message we want people to leave with is a sense of excitement and bringing them these unforgettable experiences. That’s ultimately what we’re in the business of being in. We’re in the business of showing people a great and unforgettable time.”

Is there a crazy axe-throwing story you can share?

“We have had a ton of celebrities come through. Whether it’s guys like The Chainsmokers, NBA players, football players, I think the craziest thing about it is a lot of these guys, are unassuming. We’ve had rock stars come in and you never realize who they are until you find out afterwards or unless they make a special request. This is going to be the big new celebrity thing to do. … I think the craziest thing is that we’ve gotten that popular and that celebrities are looking to us to show them a good time.”

Learn more about Bad Axe Throwing at the club’s website.

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