Right on target: Axe throwing range opens in Westover

Visit https://www.mountainmanaxethrowing.com/ for full details on prices, booking and age requirements. You can also call 304-290-5654 to find out more.

MORGANTOWN — Nothing like edging your inner Paul Bunyan on a rainy afternoon while your wife is at the baby shower.

Thunk. “Whoa, what was that? Too much wrist.”

Thunk, CLATTER. “Horrible, horrible.”

Thunk, SPLIT. “That was on the line, right? Looks like it. Maybe.”

Thunk, SPLINTER. “Yeah, baby. Stuck it. Bull’s-eye.”

That’s what it sounded like last Sunday at Mountain Man Axe Throwing, a new business in Westover that focuses on just that.

Chris Atkins opened the place three weeks ago.

It’s located in a strip mall on Commerce Drive, right next to a Vietnamese restaurant and a salon.

Atkins, 28, came up with the idea after visiting several axe-throwing bars — and yes, there are such establishments — in Pittsburgh recently.

“I was looking for a side project,” said Atkins, who grew up working in City Neon, his family’s business, “and a buddy told me about these places.”

Not that he had ever frequented one before.

He wasn’t stubborn, though, like, say, Babe, the Blue Ox.

He went in, took the safety instruction required before any toss and let one fly.

“I got into it,” he said. “It’s addictive.”

Sounds like a plan, eh?

According to lore, the whole pursuit got started, naturally, in the Land of the Lumberjacks — Canada, where a bartender aspiring to be an actor opened the first axe-throwing establishment in Toronto in 2011.

Mountain Man Axe Throwing doesn’t serve alcohol, but you can bring your own, Atkins said, provided you behave.

That means strict rules on imbibing (for insurance reasons), he said.

Participants must also sign a waiver and undergo the 10-minute safety training session, while leaving the open-toed shoes at home.

All in the rotation

When Tim Persaud found out about Mountain Man Axe Throwing, he thought it would be a good tie with what was going on with his life (and wife) that particular weekend.

He is the husband of Ali, who was the honored guest at the baby shower, in that she’s expecting their son, Tanner, on Nov. 16.

“Gettin’ close,” the dad-in-waiting said, with a grin.

He could have been talking about his axe-tosses, along with his pending fatherhood.

Persaud and his buddies, as said, were collectively doing their best Paul Bunyan, as they stood in the throw zone, encased in cyclone fence, and hefted their 1.25 pound axes across the 12-foot expanse to the target circled on the sheet of wood.

All those dimensions and weights are regulation — and yes, there are regulations — said Andy Ketcher, who works as a throwing coach there.

You need not have a lumberjack’s bulk to effectively throw an axe, the Michigan native said.

“People throw ’em overhand,” he said, “but just as many go underhand. It’s really all in the rotation.”

It’s also like golf, said Tyler Sayre, who was part of the Sunday group.

“When you finally stick one, that keeps you going,” he said.

Atkins plans on keeping the enterprise going — wherever clients want him to go, in fact. He’s now crafting a mobile unit that will bring the axe-throwing to a tailgate or team-building exercise near you.

“I’ve already got a couple of engagements lined up,” he said.

No axes to grind

In the meantime, there’s the main Mountain Man Axe Throwing establishment on Commerce Drive.

Atkins’ daytime gig is sign-making at City Neon, and you can see his skill (and sense of humor) on display at Mountain Man Axe Throwing. The walls are lined with fanciful depictions of pop culture icons wielding axes, even the ones you normally wouldn’t associate with such a thing.

Especially the ones you wouldn’t normally associate with such a thing.

Oh, and about that location? Atkins made sure to outfit the place with extra layers of interior walls, so as to dampen both the noise and the impact.

He didn’t want the establishments that were there first grinding an axe with him.

“You have to be a good neighbor.”

Tweet @DominionPostWV. Email jbissett@dominionpost.com.

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