Have you been bored on the weekend lately and asked yourself, "Is there something different I can do today?"
Ryan Griffin, a 25-year-old business student at the University of Texas at Arlington, might be your guy. What started as a school project a few months ago has become the Flying Axe Factory, which is having its grand opening Sunday.
Urban ax throwing is seen as a growing sport with a bit of a cult following. Griffin says his business has been built to the specifications of the World Axe Throwing League, including its many safety regulations.
“I’ve been growing up in Fort Worth my whole life and they’ve just had the whole uptown, West 7th Street renovation the last 10 years or so,” said Griffin. “The darts and the bar scene and the bull riding and movie night is all played. We wanted to bring something new and adventurous.”
The facility is at 220 S. Sylvania St. across from Martin House Brewing Co. and near the Trinity Trails.
“This started as an assignment in my entrepreneur class where we had to make a mock business,” said Griffin. “I had gone to a ax throwing facility in the past and I thought to myself, ‘That would be something that I would like and other people could probably get behind.’ Because there’s nothing like that in Fort Worth.”
For the grand opening from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Griffin is pulling out all the stops.
"We've partnered with Martin House to have a car show, craft beer and an ax-throwing party," said Griffin. "There'll be food trucks, a live DJ, live graffiti and awards given out for people participating in the car show."
In the meantime, he’s got several food trucks scheduled to make regular runs by the facility for those seeking refreshment, and soft drinks are for sale inside the facility. But alcohols is BYOB, Griffin said.
The entire vibe at the facility has a raw feel, from the Sharpies, to the dry-erase boards for scorekeeping, to the foot-and-a-half-high tree stumps where you rest your ax until your next turn.
“That’s kind of he image I wanted to portray. Kind of industrial because we’re right next to a brewery in a kind of industrial warehouse district that’s going under a lot of renovation,” said Griffin. “So we really wanted to come in and kind of match the scene as well as bring our own twist to it.”
How to play
“The main [rules] are that you can’t wear open-toe shoes here,” said Griffin., adding that “it’s just like a gun range. If the range is hot you can’t go down.”
The 12- to 15-foot throwing-distance markers are in place, and competitors will lose points for crossing the line. There's also fencing stretching from the floor to the ceiling between each lane to keep groups, and their axes, separated.
The axes are maintained in accordance with league regulations.
“We don’t have anything splintered and we often switch out the axes,” said Griffin.
For those wanting to get inside and throw axes, for $23.99 per person, one to three people can get a lane for an hour. If you bring four or more people you can get two hours of throwing time for $21.99 per person. Youths under 18 are welcomed, but will need to be with a guardian.
And if you want to get into lumberjack mode, it's OK with Griffin.
“The first thing I had to do was grow out a beard and go buy a plaid shirt,” said Griffin.