Lynchburg man creates mobile ax-throwing range

Trailer is making stops across Southwest Virginia

ROANOKE, Va. – Competitive ax-throwing is taking the country by storm, and while Danville will soon get its own permanent ax bar, one Lynchburg man is capitalizing on the trend with something a little different. He created a mobile ax-throwing range to get in on the action.

Throwers hurl metal axes through the air and that splinter into wooden targets as part of the latest craze to fly through the Star City. Andrew Richards and his wife came out to give it a shot, and despite the burly, bearded look, he's the first person to tell you he isn't that good at it.

"I was a sniper with the 101st, so I was like, 'I can do this all day long.' Got up there, one bull's-eye, it was awful. I threw bad," Richards said.

Spencer Foley owns Lynchburg-based Power Play and said almost anyone can throw axes. Roanoke's Soaring Ridge Brewery is the newest arena with monthly ax-throwing competitions scheduled.

"It's about as simple as it sounds. You stand 12 feet away, you throw the ax, you get one full rotation and you try to stick it in the board right there," Foley said.

One-handed or two-handed, it really doesn't matter how you throw it. It's not in the power; it's all in the wrist. One good flick of the wrist is all you need to launch it into the target.

"It's fun to come to the brewery, and it's fun to enjoy something new, and adding an activity to do while you drink is just perfect. It's a match made in heaven," Soaring Ridge General Manager Abby Brooks said.

The axes get people in the door, and Brooks said she likes having the excitement going on. The sport started in Canada and has taken the States by storm.

"Most people love it, absolutely love it. You have the occasional person who will see it from a distance and they're a little scared of it, but the second they start throwing, they absolutely love it," Foley said.

Foley's mobile ax-throwing trailer was born out of his Lynchburg home. The entire trailer is enclosed in fencing to protect participants and spectators. An ax bar is planned for Danville, but with no permanent option quite yet, Foley said his trailer is quickly racking up the miles.

Some question whether mixing axes and alcohol is a good idea, especially in light of a video that went viral recently showing a woman throwing an ax and the ax coming back at her, nearly hitting her in the head. Foley said his axes are designed not to bounce back, and Brooks said she trusts Foley and his safety plan.

"Dartboards are in bars across America. If it works for them, it will work for us," Foley said.

Participants like Richards said they feel safe while doing it, too, and that they will be back for more.

"You just don't come out and sit down and drink a beer. You come out, you're active, it's fun," Richards said.

Whilethey can gaurentee some fun, you're on your own for the bull's-eye. Soaring Ridge hosts another ax-throwing competition next month.

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