By: Jennifer Ellison
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that nearly anything is possible, for better or worse. It’s also taught us that sometimes the most surprising things can take us for a ride and give us a thrill, showing us that maybe we all need something a little different in our lives to shake things up.
For Edgerton, Ohio, the shake-up comes in the form of a new business which goes by the name Axcapades.
Isn’t that a fun name? It’s the brain child of mother-daughter business partner duo Deb and Kayla McCauley. They opened officially in September of 2019, only to be forced into shutdown due to the pandemic, much like many young businesses in this country.
As COVID restrictions have eased up and allowed for more public interaction, Kayla and Deb were able to reopen at long last. After a brief hassle over a trademarked name back in April, the determined duo settled on a name that, oddly, hadn’t been claimed yet by any other establishments like it; Axcapades.
So, what is Axcapades? Simply put; ax-throwing. Even though it’s actually an ancient practice, with some evidence dating it clear back to the Middle Ages, it’s actually a fairly new occurrence in the States.
In fact, it’s somewhat commonplace in almost every developed country. Kayla said, “I just started researching it, and there’s a world ax-throwing league, these are legitimate businesses, this is a sport, this is not just people getting together and throwing an ax in the backyard, this is an actual sport.”
Ax-throwing is an old tradition and sport, showing up in Europe, Australia, the UK, Canada, and Thailand. The USA was one of the last developed nations to pick it up as a sport, despite the existence of Tomahawks owned by Native tribes.
Until the idea of ax-throwing as a sport reached the public eye, it was mostly relegated to underground practice for fun with people just hurling axes at trees or homemade targets.
Born of the desire to run a business out of an old, empty building that Kayla’s parents owned, Axcapades was the family’s attempt to bring something to the Edgerton area that would actually take off and bring people together.
And take off, it certainly has. Kayla managed to unleash the public’s innate fascination for throwing heavy axes, so much so that even her two oldest children frequently take part.
Kayla said, “Actually, I have an eight-year-old daughter, she throws axes, she’s so well at it, this is her thing, this is where she gets that confidence, like “Hey, I can do something.” So she goes to school, she tells her friends “Hey, I throw axes!”
When Kayla and Deb were first deciding whether or not to run with the idea, there weren’t any ax-throwing venues within easy reach of this region at all. The closest one was three hours away.
So when Axcapades opened its doors, the family were thrilled to discover that it was far more popular than they ever dreamed. They were advised by an ax-throwing club in Phoenix to avoid advertising as much as possible.
This way, they could save most of their money for the venue, materials, goods and equipment. And sure enough, as the business grew, so did public opinion.
If you’ve got an itch to toss a heavy ax across a shooting-range style arena, you can pay a visit to Axcapades and your fee will only be $25.00 per hour-long session.
Kayla and her team will even knock the first ten to fifteen minutes of coaching for free so you can spend the whole hour tossing like you mean it. Fridays are especially fun because that’s ‘Glow Throw’, which is $20.00 per person for the hour.
During this special night, black light is used to make the UV-reactive paint coated axes shine like a fire in the night as they whiz through the air.
Axcapades uses mainly hatchets, which range from 1 ¼ lbs to 2 lbs total. This makes them fairly lightweight to throw without putting too much strain on the body.
For anyone worried about the safety factor of this practice, Kayla assures newcomers that it’s very safe. One of the first things anyone will learn when they enter this establishment is how to throw an ax safely so it doesn’t ricochet or fly backwards out of someone’s hand.
“The first thing we’ll have people do is correct the rotation, you want to know where you have to stand, so the [metal] head of the ax is hitting.
When the wood hits the wood, you have that ricochet, when the metal hits the wood, it drops.”
Ax-throwing has even been proven to help release pent up stress and tension in the body by allowing the fast flood of endorphins whenever you successfully hit the target.
It also improves blood flow and increases energy, making it the perfect stress-reliever after a tough day at work. So if you’re in the mood to release a little day-to-day hassle in a controlled and unusual environment, you might want to pop by Axcapades.
The last year has been stifling and no doubt tension has been building. Maybe it’s time we started setting aside time to try new things.
Jennifer can be reached at publisher@email@example.com