If you have a hankering for throwing sharp objects, a new Longview business may have exactly what you’re looking for.
At the opening event Saturday for “Axecutioner Ax Throwing,” a mobile ax-throwing business operated by Kelly and Shaun Godden, people lined up to fling axes at a pair of wooden targets, high-fiving and cheering when they hit bulls-eyes.
“It’s my childhood,” Shaun Godden, 37 said. “We’d throw it at trees, or whatever we had to throw at … (and) being in the rental business already, I was like, ‘I could build this. We could rent it out.’ ”
The Vader couple have put their own spin on the sport, which is typically confined to sports bars or specialized venues: Axecutioner operates a mobile ax-throwing trailer instead of a permanent address, so the couple can “bring the party to you,” Kelly Godden said.
“It’s new and exciting and fun,” said Kelly Godden, 42. “It’s different than, like, cornhole. It’s got an edgier feel to it. It’s an adrenaline thing.”
Humans have used handled axes as tools and weapons for more than 100,000 years, and throwing axes were used as weapons in the Middle Ages by footmen and knights.
In the modern day, ax throwing has grown in popularity over the last decade or so to become a popular game and sport in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The first ax-throwing bar in North America is believed to have started in 2011 in Toronto, according to Forbes. The World Axe Throwing League was formed in 2017, and in 2018 the World Axe Throwing Championship was presented on ESPN.
The Goddens’ trailer is about 20 feet long and has two lanes for ax-throwers. A cage mesh lines either side to prevent onlooker injury, and the Goddens supervise each ax-thrower.
Shaun Godden had wanted to start some kind of ax-throwing business since January, but the couple didn’t seriously nail down the mobile-trailer concept until August, Kelly Godden said.
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Those interested can rent Axecutioner for team-building exercises, weddings, parties and other events. The cost is $500 for the minimum of a two-hour rental and costs an additional $100 for each hour after that.
Alternatively, they plan to have Axecutioner show up on its own at events. In those cases, ax-throwers will pay $5 for five throws or $10 for 15 throws.
The couple took the trailer to the first of those events on Saturday, setting up at the local fire department-sponsored Coats for Kids fundraiser at J Squared Barrel House.
Getting Axecutioner set up was “crazy,” Kelly Godden said, and a family effort.
Shaun Godden, who also works full time as a kiln operator at the WestRock paper mill in Longview, built the ax-throwing enclosure along with Kelly Godden’s stepfather, Mike Olson, from a bare trailer. Her brother Casey Baugess worked on the company’s graphic design.
The Goddens are the third-generation owners of Specialty Rents in Longview. They inherited the business last year.
Kelly Godden said they used the lessons they learned from running that family business when starting Axecutioner.
She said they plan to expand and will eventually build more trailers and hire more employees.
“I think we’re going to be pretty successful,” she said. “I think it’s gonna be pretty big.”