Once largely the domain of the nearest Norseman, Algonquin Indian or Wild West Showman – Axe Throwing and Tomahawk Hurling are finally coming into their own. And if not exactly “going viral”, at least it’s becoming unexpectantly “Avant Garde” … and the Richmond Area is no exception.
The Virginia Axe Company, opened in Rockville in May 2019, is only an axe throw from Short Pump. It is locally owned and family run by long-time friends Kathy Ullmann and Tami Pegg. Their husbands were the initial “throwers”, but it was these two savvy businesswomen who opened the shop. Tami’s husband, Dan, has competed in the bladed sports arena for several years and has placed in both National and International competitions, but it was his wife who decided this sport needed to come to Richmond. Kathy and Tami are both mom’s who volunteer at Moody Middle School – but hand them an axe and watch out!
In fact, it turns out that their clientele is evenly split between male and female, with folks coming not only for date nights and boys’ nights out, but also for sorority events and bachelorette nights. Parties and anniversaries are also big draws, and you can even cut the cake with an axe (appropriately sanitized) if requested! Axe-throwing is the biggest draw (no open-toed shoes and you must sign a waver). After being cordially greeted at the door, you are assigned an Axe Coach and are on your way to an
“axe”tremely innervating experience! The effect is visceral as you are coached in throwing style, correct positioning and safety. Then begin throwing in one of six pits at 24 inch diameter tree rounds with bark still intact. These may be poplar, pine or gum (not oak – too hard), and give a most satisfying “thunk” when hit – not the jangling “whack” you get from throwing at mere plywood!
It’s like playing darts on steroids. Only regionally repurposed trees cut naturally or already downed are used, and they are recycled responsibly. It is a true adrenaline rush, with throwers as young as ten, (accompanied by a parent or responsible adult) or as mature as 70, taking their turns. You begin with “One Rotation Axe Throwing” then move into more complicated venues with tomahawks or knives.
The facility is ADA compliant and wheelchair-friendly, and if large groups desire they may serve moderate alcohol with an ABC banquet license.
The average stay is 1.5-2.0 hours, but corporate events can go longer. The cost/per is $35.00/one and one half hours but “First Responder Friday’s” offer significant discounts to these brave men and women. Supervised mobile units are available, “Throwing “ is big with Team-building Company
Events (corporate rates available), and full catering options may be arranged. League competition will begin in early 2020 – so grab your favorite peeps, grandfolks and in-laws and join the party. Throwing is already a big sport in countries such as Germany, Sweden and Canada, and it is trying for Olympic status.
Can this happen? Perhaps! But just for now, as Kathy and Tami so well put it: “This is something that builds relationships and fosters camaraderie. In a very real way we see people bond together over the experience. It feels good to help change people’s lives, even a little, and to find others who are passionate about what they do. Sometimes it truly is the unexpected that can make the difference.”
And, might we add, an “axe”ceptional time!
The Virginia Axe Company is located at 2305 Commerce Center Drive, Rockville VA.