by Victoria De Souza
Axe Throwing is a new urban sport that can help you relieve stress and unleash any pent up anger and aggression.
While axes have been around since the Stone Age as a hunting weapon, modern society has found an interesting way to implement axes as an entertainment activity.
The sport became official in North America in 2011, when Matt Wilson opened what is presumed to be the first axe throwing bar in Toronto, Canada.
In 2016, the National Axe Throwing Federation was founded to establish the rules and safety standards to the sport. It also is responsible for the international and inter-league competitions.
In axe throwing, the competitors throw an axe at a target to attempt to get the closest to the bullseye. The outer ring is worth one point, the middle ring is worth three and the bullseye is worth five points.
The owners of Bad Axe Raider in Lubbock-Säge Gallaway, John Bankston and Brooke Hughes- say they wanted to provide a new form of entertainment to Lubbock.
The idea started from Gallaway, who graduated with an art degree from Texas Tech University and wanted to figure out what to do next. When he saw the sport becoming more popular in the United States, he decided to take the risk.
“I wanted to do something that would facilitate my art and give an outlet but that would also be able to bring in some money,” said Gallaway.
Starting with a few axes found on the internet, Gallaway opened Bad Axe Raider on 134th Street in November of 2018. With growing demands, they soon needed a bigger location.
In February of 2019, they opened a new facility at 1408 Avenue F. Sessions are $30 per person for one hour. The facility also is available to be booked by groups, and there are parties packages.
Not long after the reopening, the growth and uniqueness of the business caught the attention of a local collector, Ram Campos, who helped the new business increase the variety of axes on display.
“He started showing up frequently and bringing his axes,” Gallaway said, “and with time, he let us use them. A vast majority of the axes that are for display come from his personal antique collection.”
Currently available for throwing are a variety of hatchets, tomahawks of all sorts, modern throwing axes and custom modified. They range in weight from 9 ounces to 3.5 pounds.
Recommended for anyone age 14 and older, there is no need for previous experience in the sport. But everyone is required to sign a waiver that informs them of safety rules and precautions. Young customers must have parental consent and be accompanied by an adult. Although there are no governmental safety requirements, the owners follow safety guidelines outlined by their insurance, as well as personal safety rules that they came up with themselves.
The instructors are well trained to teach and guarantee safety while you learn the different techniques for each type of axe.
“It is hard to describe in words, but the process is more ‘finess’ and less effort,” explained Bankston. “It is a natural movement, so it is not necessary to overthink the process.”
The axes and tools available for throwing require a different technique.
“Most items are either one or two-handed,” Gallaway explained. “There are multiple advanced forms that are not needed to know when starting out.”
Gallaway added that the busiest time is during weekends because of the rising popularity of the sport in the media. Also, word of mouth from customers who have been there sharing their experiences helps in the promotion of the business.
“A lot of people that walk in come after searching online about axe throwing in town and ended up finding that now there is one here,” said Gallaway.
Bad Axe Raider also has a space for art. Besides having a fun time throwing axes, you also can enjoy the personal art gallery and handicrafts on display.
Bad Axe Raider is a strong supporter of the Lubbock community.
They currently support fundraisers for organizations such as Saving Grace, United Valor and others.
“We are very big in being part of the community, and more than just our presence as a business,” mentioned Gallaway. “We want to foster Lubbock as a good place to be.”
On October 26, they will be holding a second car show as a fundraiser for the United Valor organization that works to provide support to military veterans in the Lubbock community with financial help and transportation.
To boost their visibility, Bad Axe Raider was a site for The First Friday Art Trail, with small tryout sections. They also host a trivia night, a mini session during lunch time of axe throwing and live music. In the future, they hope to be able to offer art classes.
Sarah Looten recently was at Bad Axe Raider with her friends celebrating a birthday.
“I found this place in ‘Lubbock in the Loop,” Looten said. “It is exciting to see new things coming to Lubbock. It seems to be something out of the ordinary and fun to do.”
Supporting stress relief for the students in Lubbock and surrounding areas, Bad Axe Raider offers a 20-percent discount to students every Thursday night.
Bad Axe Raider is becoming a stress-relieving place for people of all ages and genders where you can compete with your friends while having some fun time.