Recreational and competitive axe throwing is coming to St. Joseph.

Axe throwing range The Axe Factor is set to open at 1302 Frederick Ave. in August. The activity, during which participants hurl axes at a target, has been rising in popularity in recent years. Until now, fans of the sport had to drive to Kansas City.

“People are always saying there’s nothing to do here,” The Axe Factor co-owner Bruce Baker said. “Well, we’re trying to give them something to do. It’s something different. Yeah, they can get this in Kansas City. But this is the first in St. Joe.”

Baker owns the range along with three others. He said they had been looking for a business opportunity for a few years until Baker’s co-worker and fellow owner Matt Wieners came across the idea by chance.

“Back in February or so I was looking for a date idea with my wife,” Wieners said. “I looked up date night in K.C. And there was an axe throwing place down there that I was like, oh, that’d be kind of cool. And I was like, wait a minute, we could do something like that here.”

The Axe Factor is located one story below CrossFit gym Midwest Method Strength & Performance and spans the entire length and width of the building.

Setting up the lanes is not very difficult, according to Wieners, but he and Baker made sure to follow World Axe Throwing League (WATL) guidelines to be able to offer competitive leagues.

“It really is just 2-by-4s and plywood,” Wieners said of the set up. “We’re joining WATL, they already have leagues and a structure set up. So we just follow their guidelines, and they kind of help you through it with the insurance and all that.”

One lane contains two targets and can be used by up to six people. Baker said they will start out with a few lanes, but hope to add up to seven lanes and 14 targets eventually. Patrons will have to wear closed-toe shoes for safety and use axes provided by The Axe Factors.

However, no one should be worried about getting hurt by an axe, as a viral video showing an axe bouncing off the target and floor and coming back toward the person who threw has some concerned.

“They had a rubber floor,” Baker said of the axe throwing range in the video. “They thought it might be neat to put down this rubber mat and they bounce pretty good.”

Patrons new to axe throwing will receive instructions and safety guidelines by coaches. Baker and Wieners hope to open by early to mid-August.

Jessica Kopp can be reached

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