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Looking Sharp

Got Wood offers an ax-perience that is not only fun and challenging but is something everyone in the family can do.

Gina Conroy
Sarah Eliza Roberts
January 28, 2020

Tired of the same old, dull family fun night? Looking to spark things up in the entertainment department? Want to live on the edge a little? Then look no further than Got Wood. Located in the heart of downtown Jenks, this urban full-service ax-throwing lounge is on point and offering young and old exciting entertainment that is not only fun and challenging, but it’s something everyone can do.

Like the bowling alleys of the ’50s, ax throwing has become a popular sport for all ages, not just the bearded and brawny. And its universal popularity is proving it’s going to be sticking around for a while.

When owner Jason Kearney first opened two years ago, he thought it was going to be a testosterone-driven environment. What surprised him was 55% of the people were women.

“I think the stereotype is still the 20-30s guy, probably has a beard, maybe some tattoos, but it doesn’t hold true at all,” says Kearney, who knows his full beard and tattoos don’t do much to dispel the stereotype.

While there is no age restriction on the ax throwing, parental or guardian supervision is required for anyone under 18 years old, and spectators always watch for free. But why would you want to watch when you could throw? (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
While there is no age restriction on the ax throwing, parental or guardian supervision is required for anyone under 18 years old, and spectators always watch for free. But why would you want to watch when you could throw? (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

The sport is very diverse. “If you look at the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) through the rankings, there’re guys and gals of all ages, races, and backgrounds. They don’t fit any stereotype,” says Kearney.  

Part of the growing popularity could be that people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy it together, especially families. “The great thing about it is anybody can do it,” says Kearney, who has seen people throw successfully and stick something sharp in the target as young as 4 and as old as 89. “We help modify the throwing implements to fit the age and strength levels.”

“We have tomahawks which are very light and easy to throw,” says Miguel Tamburini, general manager at Got Wood. “I usually give the tomahawks to people who may have had shoulder injuries or surgery or if they’re advanced in age.” With kids around 6 or 7 years old, they have small, dull hatchets. “They still stick, and they are lighter.”

People who think they’re strong and will hit a bullseye on the first try may be in for a rude awakening. “Throwing axes is not about strength. It’s more about momentum, accuracy, and finesse,” says Tamburini, who has seen people of all ages start throwing and feel a little frustrated when they miss the mark or fail to get the ax to stick the first time. “But after I give them some tips, they start sticking it in the wall. They start getting a bullseye, and then they’re filled with a lot of adrenaline and feel accomplished.”

He’s seen people go through a wide range of emotions in just 15 minutes. “You go from being afraid to being frustrated to feeling empowered,” says Tamburini. “It’s an empowering experience.”

At Got Wood, their goal is to make every experience fun and safe. While there is no age restriction on the ax throwing, parental or guardian supervision is required for anyone under 18 years old, and spectators always watch for free. But why would you want to watch when you could throw?

Jason Kearney (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
Jason Kearney (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

“We go over safety issues first, and I make sure everyone has respect, not only for the instructors but for the blades because they are sharp,” says Tamburini. “Then we teach them how to properly throw axes, machetes, knives, ninja stars, saw blades, and tomahawks.”

Once you get the hang of throwing, there are other ways to challenge yourself through friendly competitions with those in your group, taking a step back to increase the distance, or adding another ax rotation challenge to your throw.

“There’s a perceived danger to ax throwing, but there’s also excitement to it because there is that element of danger,” says Kearney, who gets a lot of questions as to the safety of the sport, especially for children. “You can’t just cut the kids loose and let them go. You have to keep them there and engaged. You have to keep them entertained and keep your eyes on them.”

But the sport is very safe. Kearney says, while he can’t quote the source, since ax throwing has been a legitimate sport in the U.S., “you’re more likely to get an injury bowling than ax throwing.”

When Tamburini works with young children or hosts a party for 14- to 15-year-olds, for instance, he handles them differently than he would an adult. “I become more of a dictator, and everyone needs to do exactly what I’m telling them because they’re kids, and they’re full of energy. But they are always amazing to work with,” he says.

Tamburini makes the experience fun and uses humor in his approach with the kids, which gives him instant rapport. As parents listen to him engage with their children, their fears are usually eased. It’s easy to see not only do Kearney and Tamburini know what they’re doing, but their passion for the sport also hits the mark every time.  

“It doesn’t feel like work every day,” says Kearney. “Even though I’m doing it for the millionth time, it’s their first time. You can see that excitement in their eyes, especially when they get their first ax to stick.”

While it’s true Got Wood is family-friendly with special Sunday family day throwing rates, a big part of their clientele is the after 5 p.m. crowd, which includes friends meeting after work, girls’ night out, or date night. Also, they do various parties throughout the week, including birthdays, gender reveals, bachelor and bachelorette, and divorce parties. But Tamburini’s favorite is the team building events.

“Co-workers are used to seeing each other in a work environment behind a desk or computer,” says Tamburini. “Here, I give them an ax and the person you least suspect throws bullseye after bullseye. And everyone is surprised that that person had that skill hidden inside.”

These events start by dividing the people who have been in the company the longest versus the people who have been in the company for the least amount of time. They play games and compete, and the winner gets a gift card at the end.

Got Wood has eight indoor lanes and an outside lane they open on nice days. If your party is bigger than what they can accommodate, they can take the ax throwing to you with their mobile throwing cage.

Kearney knows people have a lot of choices when it comes to spending their entertainment dollars, and he encourages everyone to try ax throwing at least once.

“Don’t be scared,” says Kearney, who knows some ax throwing places might not have a passion for the sport like they do at Got Wood. “They see it as a quick buck and more of a business, and you can feel that. And if you tried it somewhere else and didn’t have a great experience, give Got Wood a shot. I guarantee you’ll have fun.”

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

April 2020 Cover