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Axe Throwing Livens Up Winter Social Calendars

The Answer to 'What Should We Do Tonight?'

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Article by Rachel C. Murphy

Photography by Ashley Elwell

Originally published in Northland Lifestyle

Come Friday night, many of us need to blow off a little steam. Sure, you could hit the gym and grind it out with some weightlifting, but that doesn't exactly scratch the social itch. This winter, there's a new option for a little physical activity--axe throwing. 

Yep, if you've ever walked through the renaissance fair and thought that you could nail that target pretty handily with a hatchet, then you have a new destination in the northland. Woodchux KC opened in January of 2019 in Liberty and is offering an indoor answer to the perennial question of 'What should we do tonight?"

Axe throwing is gaining popularity across the globe. Similar to competitive dart throwing in gameplay, ax throwing is based on a points system. There's a World Axe Throwing League that unites competitive throwers in 19 countries, and leagues are available similar to bowling. 

Woodchux Kc founders Jonathan Barton, Kyle Wilson, and Gary Campbell are neighbors that had experienced the sport at some other Kansas City facilities but wanted something closer to their homes. 

"We went to a mutual friend's birthday party at a similar concept and had a really good time, but we noticed a few things that were missing that would have made it a little more fun. Fast forward a few months, and we were sitting around a fire in my driveway, drinking and complaining that there wasn't anything to do in Liberty. We all have families, and we are past the party stage. We wanted something more adult-oriented but not crazy and close to home. We wanted to make it more than just throwing an axe. We wanted to do it better," says Barton. 

To that end, they found a space off of 291 Highway in Liberty and created a place where young and old alike could gather to throw axes, play yard games and have fun. There are 15 lanes for throwing a variety of different weapons from hatchets to throwing stars. For those that want just to hang out, patrons can grab a beer, cider or soft drink from the bar, bring in their food and relax at the wood hewn tables or throw some cornhole. 

Barton says that axe throwing is a sport that nearly anyone can do. He's had kids as young as four years old, and people in their 90s participate, although the recommended age is 12 years old to start. As long as patrons have closed-toe shoes and the ability to throw, they are welcome. 

Barton says that one of the more surprising things he's discovered is that about two-thirds of his clients are women. 

"We've had book clubs come in to throw, mom groups. . . We have a wedding reception coming up. It appeals to everyone," says Barton. 

Axe throwing is about precision, not strength. Weapons can be thrown overhand or underhand, depending on physical limitations. To make the sport safer, Woodchux has eliminated rubber mats to decrease the chance of bounce and separates lanes with a strong chain link fencing. Axe masters are also on hand to help novices become seasoned pros and have fun at the same time.  

While axe throwing may not help build up your woodpile, it will give you a change of pace from the standard pint at the bar this winter.  

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