Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 20

Airborne

axes

Backyard hobby turns into
full-fledged business in Eldon

Derek Storms and his wife, Tabitha, opened Storms Axe Throwing in downtown Eldon in late 2018.Visitors take turns hurling axes down protected lanes at a 36-inch diameter target.
by Paul Newton | pnewton@ruralmissouri.coop

says. "Everyone throws a little different. Some have to release it at 12 feet away
while others might back to as far as 15 feet."
While different axe throwing venues have different games or ways to play, at
here's no mistaking the loud "thud" emanating from downtown Eldon.
Inside an old storefront in the mid-Missouri town, axes are spinning Storms they encourage competitors to compete for the highest score. Stick the
axe to the most outer ring on the board and you collect a single point. Rings
through the air as they are launched into wooden targets.
increase in value as they move toward the center with a bullseye netting 6
For nearly one year, Derek and Tabitha Storms have turned their love
of the up-and-coming sport into a business opportunity at Storms Axe Throw- points. Smaller blue dots on the upper half of the board will get you 10 points.
Derek says the rules can vary and be slightly more demanding during league
ing in Eldon. Customers young and old use axe throwing to show off their aim,
play. He sets players up for success in open play. "We consider ourselves an
help with team building or maybe let off a little steam all while having fun.
entertainment company. It's just more fun when you're hitting the board or
The axe throwing bug bit the Storms in early 2018 when they first learned
sticking that blue dot," he says. "We want people to score points and have fun."
of it by watching videos on YouTube. "It has been something that has been
Throwers hurl the axe down the lane five consecutive times - adding to
going on in Canada for years," Derek says. "Over the last 2 to 4 years, it's been
migrating south to the States. Leagues and tournaments have been spreading their score along the way - before ceding the turn to the next competitor. The
winner is determined by the highest score.
across the country."
The Storms offer league play on Thursday nights. The steady competition
They were drawn to the sport because of its unique nature and broad appeal.
adds a different dimension to the lively sport. Throwers in both the youth -
"Just about anybody can do it. Big, small. Young, old. Boy, girl," Derek says.
"There is this natural carnal thing about throwing an axe and hearing it stick ages 12 to 18 - and adult leagues compete head to head for the first seven
weeks before a double-elimination tournament on the final week.
to the wood. There's lots of adrenaline flowing and you get addicted."
Thirteen-year-old Wes Steenborgen of Eugene competes in the weekly youth
With their interest satisfactorily piqued, Derek and Tabitha added a smallleague. "You're just automatically happy throwing the axe at a wall," he says.
scale range near their California home to play with family and friends.
"You're trying to win and stick it in the target. But, even when you don't stick
"I woke up early one morning and could hear some noise
coming from outside," Derek says with a smirk. "I go out there
it you're still happy. It's just fun."
Derek says there are two reactions when newcomers hear of his busiand it's Tab's mom - my mother-in-law - throwing axes. She
ness. "It's either, 'Wow, I've got to do that' or 'No way,' " he says.
wanted to get out there early and practice to get better than her
Part of the less-than-enthusiastic initial reaction has to do with the
husband."
inferred danger of axe throwing. The Storms point out they use axes
That's when they knew this might be more than a backyard
with wooden handles as opposed to steel which reduces bounce
hobby for their family. They searched for properties near the Lake
Eldon
and they are an alcohol-free facility.
of the Ozarks but couldn't find the right one. "We didn't want it to
feel like a warehouse," Derek says.
"Those two things help and we take everyone through a training
They found their spot in a 1,500-square-foot restored storeand safety course before they ever throw," Derek says. "If you stick
front at the corner of First and Maple streets in Eldon. "This is
the axe, it's not going to bounce. We believe it's a very safe sport,
really what our vision was," Tabitha says.
especially when you're trained properly."
"A downtown building with exposed brick
That training and oversight in the small
that is beautiful when you walk in."
facility adds to the experience of the day
There are four throwing lanes that are
and memories taken home.
approximately 15 feet long, 6 feet wide, 10
"We can tell when people are frustrated
feet tall and completely caged in front of
and will talk to them about moving forward
the thrower. Competitors throw the axe at
or back or throwing a little differently. Then
a wooden board at the end of the lane feaall of sudden they start sticking it," Tabitha
turing a 36-inch diameter target. One axe
says. "It's fun for us to watch other people
is shared by up to six people in each lane.
having fun. Lots of smiles and laughs."
After checking in, participants go
through a 5- to 10-minute presentation on
For more information on Storms Axe
safety and tips and techniques to successThrowing, visit www.stormsaxethrowing.
fully throw the axe. The most successful
com, email stormsaxethrowing@gmail.com
skill when throwing is the ability to "stick"
or call or text 660-287-0423.
the axe in the pine target.
"The idea is to have the axe do one full
Brayden Bett, 13, of Eugene throws an axe during
rotation and stick to the target," Derek
youth league night at Storms Axe Throwing.

T

20

RURAL MISSOURI | NOVEMBER 2019


http://www.stormsaxethrowing.com http://www.stormsaxethrowing.com

Rural Missouri - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2019

Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 8
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Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover4
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