Eye on KELOLAND: A closer look at an ax-throwing league


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You’re likely quite familiar with common social activities like golf, bowling, darts, pool, etc. There’s another option in Sioux Falls, though, and you can do it in a league: ax-throwing. On Thursday nights the competition heats up at Escape 605 in downtown Sioux Falls when they have their league.

“Every thrower gets 10 throws, they throw against different partners, and then whoever gets the most points at the end of the night gets a free drink, and then whoever gets the most points at the end of the league can go to the championships,” Tatiana Chance said.

Chance runs the league. Dominic Means and Travis Finger compete.

“Dominic’s definitely better, but I’m pretty good myself I will say,” Finger said.

“Before this actually was like a thing, I’ve always been interested in throwing knives and axes and stuff, so I’ve had throwing axes and stuff for a while now, and so when I heard there was a league, I was like, ‘Oh of course I’m going to do this,'” Means said.

“It’s fun to compete with friends that I know and people that are friends with me, so I mean it’s just a really good time,” Finger said.

Also you’ll notice that, perhaps not coincidentally, each of these participants has a beard.

“I know it’s kind of cliché, but the whole lumberjack thing is, there’s no woods around here so we can’t really go out and do that, but throwing an ax here is the closest that we can get to it,” Means said.

“I like ax-throwing because it’s kind of like a stress-reliever, it’s like a, no one really gets to throw an ax before they come here, unless you live out in the country,” Chance said. “But it’s something that you don’t really get to do on a daily basis.”

A perfect game is 64 points. Hitting these blue dots will give you eights points on your fifth or 10th toss. As you might expect, it’s pretty competitive.

“It’s fun to say, ‘Hey, I had the best score of the night,'” Finger said.

“It’s obviously a competitive sport you know, it’s just fun to just hang out with these people,” Means said. “Yeah we’re competing against each other, but it’s just fun to have just the camaraderie of just doing something in a group.”

“It’s all friendly competition,” Chance said.

Throwing an ax isn’t exactly something many people regularly do. But there’s another word that comes up to describe it.

“A lot of people are very hesitant or scared at first, and as they start throwing, they’re like, ‘Ooo, this is kind of cool,'” Chance said.

“Throwing the ax and then getting it to stick on something, that alone is just like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool,’ makes you feel like, ‘Oh, this is awesome,'” Means said.

“I picked up on it pretty quickly, actually,” Finger said. “I know some people can have some difficulty.”

“It takes a little bit to learn how to get it to stick,” Means said.

All in all, outward appearances aside, the social effect isn’t all that different from what you would get from sinking a putt on the golf course or picking up a spare at the bowling alley, and it wouldn’t quite be the same if you were doing it alone. 

In addition to Escape 605, you can also throw an ax in a league at JJ’s Axes & Ales in southern Sioux Falls. You can book time online to throw an ax at either location.

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