As I walked into Johnson County Axe Throwing, the thoughts of judgment from other, more experienced, axe throwers, and the feelings of fear from throwing a sharp object overwhelmed me. Yet, as I was greeted with warmth and smiling faces, my nerves were quickly calmed. I talked to the owner, Chris Engel, before I picked up my first axe, questioning him on the safety and why he had chosen to bring axe throwing south of Indy. He reassured me that, while all activities come with their dangers, axe throwing wasn’t anything to be afraid of. He told me, on a scale of one to 10, one being the least dangerous and 10 being the most, axe throwing is a one or two. As for why he had chosen to bring axe throwing to Whiteland, he stated he wanted to bring more of a family-oriented atmosphere to the hobby.
With the reassuring comments in my mind, I thought I would be left to my own devises to try out throwing an axe. I was happily surprised when Chris told me they give everyone the basic tips before doing their first throw. He began by showing me how to stand and going over the two ways to throw. The first being an overhead throw where you use two hands. The second is a single-handed throw using your dominant hand.
As I expected, I was not very good at axe throwing. For the first throw, I chose to do the two-handed overhead technique. I was self-conscious and unsure of myself despite Chris’ helpful guidance. As I let go of the axe I felt like maybe, just maybe, I would hit the board, but as I saw it bounce off and topple toward the floor, I realized this was a lot harder than Chris made it look. I continued to practice and fail before I switched to the single-handed throw, where I found more control.
After a few more tips from Chris, I eventually landed my first – and only hit – of the night. I was thrilled about the achievement as I had probably thrown the axe a hundred times before I landed that single throw.
With the small amount of experience, I had gained in the hour of throwing, I felt more comfortable (and more sore) in my right arm. While I may have become frustrated in my repeated failures, the success it brought towards the end was worth it. It is a sport that requires a bit of know-how and determination, for those of us less skilled in the athletic department, but enjoyable nonetheless. I would highly suggest starting off your axe throwing adventures at Johnson County Axe Throwing to have a comfortable and supportive environment. Bringing along a friend or your family is a sure way to have a good night.
Johnson County Axe Throwing is located at 6001 N. U.S. 31, Whiteland. The cost is $20 per person per hour for walk-ins, or $30 with reservations for a two-hour session. For more information, call 317-809-7401 or click here.