Lumberjax Axe Throwing: the hidden gem of local sports

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Life in the axe lane. Mr. Bottle (Flicker)

“Axing” all the right questions.

Since December, 2016, Lumberjax Axe Throwing has been a building filled with full-body laughs and valuable, humbling lessons. It was started by Danny Ritz, now the regional manager, whose interest in axe throwing was sparked by some competitive axe throwing videos he’d seen online. It’s been a quickly growing sports for many years and several reasons, most of those reasons centring around it actually being a sport anyone can do. 

It can be competitive, or not, depending on what type of experience you’re looking for. You can bring friends and make a game of it, have it as your me-time/self-care activity of the week, or join their throwing league and compete in tournaments around the country. Ritz said the youngest person who’s thrown with them was three-years old, and their oldest was an 88-year old blind man – there is no limit on age with this sport. Another major benefit brought up by Ritz is that you don’t need any sort of “athletic” body type or in-depth sports knowledge to be successful, which makes it available to a much wider variety of people. There’s also not a lot of equipment required to participate; really all you need to bring is close-toed shoes to avoid getting wood splinters from the targets in your feet. As far as outfits, Ritz said they’ve seen people show up in everything from sweatpants to business suits, and that you’ll have the best experience wearing whatever’s comfortable to move in for you. 

If you’d like to throw by yourself, as a pair, or you have a group of less than six people, you can book a slot of an hour for $25 per person. If the group is six people or larger you can book a two-hour slot for $40 per person. These bookings include coaching by the staff at Lumberjax Axe Throwing on how to throw safely and correctly, as well as the opportunity to try your hand at throwing. Ritz mentioned that there is no single proper way to throw that works for everyone. That’s part of why the staff are always supervising – to help people tweak their grip or throwing styles and find what works best for them. 

This is where those valuable, humbling lessons come in. To have the best experience, Ritz said it’s essential to come in with a “willingness to learn and have fun.” If a staff member is taking the time to point out areas you could improve in and is taking the initiative to show you how, they’re genuinely doing it for your benefit. If you go in with an “I already know everything” attitude, chances are you’ll perceive the coaching as belittling, which is in no way where the staff are coming from. If you’re not willing to learn then you’ll only ever be as good as you are now, so it’s important to keep yourself in the proper headspace. Your attitude going in will largely dictate the experience you have, so if you can remember to check your pride at the door and you don’t take yourself too seriously when you goof up, those full-body laughs I mentioned earlier will happen naturally. 

The demographics of their clients vary depending on time of year, according to Ritz. They’re a popular choice for wind-up parties of various sports teams, for staff holiday parties, team-building events, and even for date nights. When you think about it, it’s actually a really good idea for a date night, especially if you’re just getting to know the person. You’ll have the opportunity to see how they act when they’re out of their comfort zone, how they take (or refuse) direction and advice from people more knowledgeable than they are, and possibly how they react when they’re not immediately really good at something. Whether they’re closed to new experiences, refuse to take direction because they insist they know best, or have an adult hissy fit because they’re losing in a game, you’ll have an opportunity to see those red flags early on. Life, much like learning a sport, is all about trial and error, and if someone can’t handle the “trial” of losing or being coached, chances are they won’t handle life’s trials much better.

On a more positive note, Ritz happily mentioned that the competitions and the sport itself is “heavily community and family based.” Even though the point of the competitions is to best your opponents, everyone cheers for everyone because they genuinely want to see others do well even if it means they personally don’t do so well. This makes for a supportive, collaborative atmosphere where every person wants to learn more, and share what they’ve learned so far.

To bring that atmosphere locally, Lumberjax Axe Throwing hosts league nights once a week where people can compete in games of three-rounds each. If you’re intrigued by the competitive aspect and want the opportunity to attend tournaments, this is the best avenue to take as it introduces you to more of the “sport” aspect of the activity. You’ll also have the opportunity to throw their larger axe – not the hatchets used normally – In the event of a tie, which really helps build suspense and adds a new layer of difficulty. 

Building their local impact, Lumberjax Axe Throwing also hosts fundraising events, which can be booked through their website just as their regular bookings are. In the past they’ve hosted fundraisers for the Humbolt Broncos, Regina Cat Rescue, and various sports teams who need money for their own equipment and tournaments. The profits from the event are split fifty-fifty between Lumberjax Axe Throwing and the organization fundraising, which is a higher percentage than many other common fundraising opportunities offer. It’s important both to Ritz and his employees that they make the opportunities to give back to their community and to those who’ve helped them get this far.

Holly Worby

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