OREGON – Chris Chapman and his wife Cassandra were considering opening a Western store in town.
Hats, clothes, tack – you name it.
Instead, they decided to go in a completely different direction and opened Rustic Ridge Axe Throwing at 117 N. 4th St., in Oregon on May 28.
“We decided we were going to do it before we even threw the first time,” Chapman said of opening the business.
And after they threw, they felt it would be perfect for Oregon.
So, they went to work learning about the sport and business. Chapman, who runs the business, said he and friends and family built all of the throwing lanes inside themselves. They started in April and finished the week of the opening.
Along the way, Chapman also became a certified axe throwing coach.
As for the targets, Chapman said they use cottonwood.
“It is a softer wood,” he said. “When you throw the axe in it, it actually spreads the fibers of the grain a little easier.”
But even with the softer wood, all purchased from a place in Princeton, Ill., the boards only last a day or two.
“It depends on how hard people throw,” Chapman said.
Rustic Ridge is affiliated with the World Axe Throwing League, and Chapman said he hopes to launch league sign-ups in the next couple of weeks. For league play, all boards will be new.
The cost is $20 per person per hour to throw. Closed-toe shoes are required, and people must be over the age of 14 to throw. Anyone ages 14-17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
They sell prepackaged snack and drinks and have some T-shirts and hats for sale as well.
Chapman said when people come in, they get a safety talk and some instruction on throwing. He said the coaches keep an eye on people and offer tips to help them be successful.
“When people first start out, they are all over the target,” he said. “By the time they are at the end of their hour they usually tend to hit threes, fours and fives.”
He said the key to good throw is, like anything else, practice.
The axes themselves, actually they are hatchets, weigh between 2 and 3 pounds and are very sharp. Chapman said they will eventually have full size axes as well as knives for throwing too.
He said he has seen people coming back not long after their first session, and some are even coming to throw as a date night. He said it is perfect for private parties and corporate events.
“Most people are addicted very quickly,” Chapman said.
He is also preparing a mobile unit that can be used for parties and events.
Rustic Ridge Axe Throwing is open daily. Monday is set aside for appointments only.