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Getting Their Ax Together

Taking throwing darts at the bar to a new level, hatchet hurling has proven to be a popular and immersive kind of entertainment at Jenks’ Got Wood.

Article
Rob Harmon
Photos
Marc Rains
Posted
September 28, 2018

A new game has risen to the collective consciousness of the country, and it looks to make the same amount of impact on the casual indoor sport scene as its predecessors, maybe more.

Imagine walking into a shop off Main Street in Jenks and being invited to throw an ax at a target. You’re standing at a line chalked onto the floor and told by an instructor to raise up both arms, before tossing an ax down a 12-15 foot alley where it sticks into a bull’s-eye drawn into planks of wood. Believe it or not, this is happening every day in Jenks and honestly, all over the country.

It may seem crazy that people would get together to toss axes at targets, while winding down from a hard day’s work over a couple beers, but doesn’t that sound a little like bowling alleys and pool halls back in the day?

Back in the 1960s, ‘70s, and even into the early-‘80s, Americans flocked to bowling alleys and pool halls, in search of entertainment. Many times it was a good first date or the perfect fallback plan for getting to know new friends. Soon, competitive leagues started where everyone could enjoy good beer, stimulating sport, and an overall good time.

These days people still bowl and shoot pool. And people in Green Country are still joining leagues, but this time it’s to throw axes in the local ax throwing lounge. Jason Kearney, owner of Got Wood in Jenks, says it’s a natural progression.

It may seem crazy that people would get together to toss axes at targets, while winding down from a hard day’s work over a couple beers, but doesn’t that sound a little like bowling alleys and pool halls back in the day? (Photo: Marc Rains)
It may seem crazy that people would get together to toss axes at targets, while winding down from a hard day’s work over a couple beers, but doesn’t that sound a little like bowling alleys and pool halls back in the day? (Photo: Marc Rains)

“If you read a history of bowling, leagues are what saved it,” says Kearney. “When the game came out it was recreational, but then in the 1970s, people started losing interest. Then they introduced the organized world league play and the world bowling league.”

So, how does an ax throwing lounge get started up in Jenks?

Kearney started Bedlam Beard Oil Company in 2015 out of his office, hitting the market at the right time. Within seven months, he walked away from his day job to sell beard products and other merchandise full time. Soon, Kearney had a beard care shop in Jenks, as well as an online store, and when he had the chance to move to a larger location, he seized the opportunity. After getting set up in the new place, he was left with a decent amount of space in the back of the shop with nothing to fill it with.

“We used to have barbecues behind the shop,” Kearney says. “We built a target where we’d throw knives and axes for fun. Eventually, a friend of mine pushed me to delve into the ax-throwing lounge thing. So, we teamed up and started construction after Thanksgiving.”

After watching the instructional safety videos the lounge has produced, you can grab an ax and practice your throwing abilities. (Photo: Marc Rains)
After watching the instructional safety videos the lounge has produced, you can grab an ax and practice your throwing abilities. (Photo: Marc Rains)

With that extra room in the back of his beard care store, Kearney and his buddies built six recreational batting-cage-like throwing lanes for anyone willing to give ax throwing a whirl. Since January, more and more people have made Got Wood a place to meet new people, drink some beer, and have a good time with friends. After watching the instructional safety videos the lounge has produced, you can grab an ax and practice your throwing abilities. And to anybody who feels it may be awkward, unsafe or just too difficult, Kearney has a message.

“Don’t be intimidated,” he says. “Anybody can do it. An 87-year-old gentleman came in on his birthday and he successfully threw axes and got them to stick. Anyone willing to try, we can get you up to speed.”

Over the last several months, company parties have rented the place for team-building or corporate-style tournaments and have had a blast.

“We’ll set it up however you like,” Kearney says. “The point is to have a good time.”

Got Wood has become somewhat of a Cheers-like location, where regulars come to see each other after a day’s work and first-time visitors come to make new friends, but with the added ax-throwing element.

Many regulars have made it an every-week thing and have become pretty good at it. So much so that Kearney has started a league that allows winners to qualify for the nationwide competition called the World Axe Throwing League. That’s right, competitive urban ax throwing is really a thing. Since 2010, the urban ax throwing competition has been slowly growing and becoming ever more popular. Now with the World Axe Throwing League, it’s a sport and there’s money in it. John Bradley, this year’s WATL champion, won $5,000.

Got Wood’s ax-throwing lounge runs an eight-week league Tuesday nights for an entry fee of $120. Each participant competes in four matches throughout the night, consisting of 10 throws each. At the end of the eight-week competition, the winners qualify to go on and compete at the national level.  

LOCATOR
Got Wood
103 E. Main St. | Jenks
918-528-3303
gotwoodaxethrowing.com
Monday: By appointment
Tuesday-Thursday: 1-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-Midnight
Sunday: 1-8 p.m.