Bowling, step aside. There’s a new game in town.
Written by Lanie Anderson | Photographed by Joe Worthem
In the heart of downtown Corinth, typically known for its boutiques, restaurants and historic appeal, visitors can shop, dine and also try a new sport. Civil Axe Throwing opened its doors in April on Filmore Street next to the restaurant Corner 415 and Carlie & Co. Boutique.
“Civil Axe Throwing feels like walking into a very comforting place, like you’re going to the diner down the street,” location manager Evan Meadows said. “That’s what we want, and it feels like it belongs in Corinth.”
Axe throwing as a sport is a relatively new phenomenon. It gained momentum around 2006 in Canada, and Erin and Jorge Lima founded Civil Axe Throwing in Huntsville, Alabama, in 2017 after they took notice of its growing popularity in Canada and on television sports networks.
Now Civil Axe Throwing has stores in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee. Corinth’s store is the first Civil Axe Throwing location in Mississippi, and the response so far has been very positive.
“We love being downtown in the middle of Corinth since it’s being revitalized,” said Scott Brewster, vice president of sales and marketing. “(People) seem to be very happy we are there and love coming and throwing axes with us.”
The store is open Thursday through Saturday evenings from 3 p.m. to midnight and Sunday evenings from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. There are four lanes or alleys, and each lane has two wooden targets. Throwers ages 14 and older can compete individually or in groups. Coaches called “axperts” are on hand to provide training on procedures, scoring and safety.
“There’s a hands-on training aspect to what we do.” Brewster said. “Once people throw for the first time, you can see a lightbulb go off. Then they begin mimicking what our ‘axperts’ are doing.”
Those new to the sport are often skeptical or fearful about throwing an axe for the first time. Brewster even admits he experienced this before he tried it.
“There’s always a knee-jerk reaction [to axe throwing],” Brewster said. “People are shocked a bit at first. It’s a maturation process. Every single person who is an expert at this or calls it a hobby went through the same process. They thought, ‘That sounds interesting. I think I’ll give it a try.’ Then it clicks with them, and they see it as a sport.”
Amanda Watson of Corinth thought the same when she surprised her husband, Justin, with a game at Civil Axe Throwing for his birthday. Justin had experience in axe throwing, but she did not. Amanda was comforted to learn about the training before their game, and the staff supervised their session to ensure that they were safe.
“We both loved it because it was different,” Watson said. “It wasn’t just your average date night. You get a workout for sure, but it’s also a lot of fun.”
Axe throwing is growing as an organized sport in the United States. The National Axe Throwing Federation, with which Civil Axe Throwing is aligned, began in 2016 and provides a standard rule system for competition. Individuals and groups compete at Civil Axe Throwing, but leagues also practice or play in tournaments at the various locations.
Axes are provided by Civil Axe Throwing, but some people choose to bring their own. Other axe throwers even have them custom made.
“Some people make their own axes, which is amazing,” Brewster said. We’ve got a lot of customers that will bring their own axes, and they are beautiful. They do an amazing job with the woodwork.”
In August, Civil Axe Throwing opened its second Mississippi location on Old Taylor Road in Oxford. Brewster said he anticipates a lot of excitement about the new location, especially among college students.
“There’s a youthful demographic at the University of Mississippi that can grow with us,” Brewster said. “Getting kids involved is how axe throwing progresses as a sport. That’s where I think it really starts to catch fire.”
To learn more about Civil Axe Throwing or book a game, visit civilaxethrowing.com.