NATHAN STEPHANY, RUN THE VALLEY EDITOR
Hatchet throwing has risen in popularity as a hobby in recent years across the country. Hurling Hatchet opened at the beginning of September, at 100 East Second Street, Suite 103, just off of Main Street in Cedar Falls.
New businesses have sprung up, allowing the public to get in on the craze, with one opening in Iowa City as well. “Watching people scream and being excited when they hit targets is amazing,” Mark Mayfield, the co-owner of Hurling Hatchet, said. “Nothing is better for business than when someone sticks the target or nails a bullseye.”
Before he was the owner of a hatchet throwing operation, Mayfield owned a laser tag business in Cedar Falls. After selling laser tag, a friend brought the idea of hatchet throwing to his attention, suggesting it would pair well with laser tag. Instead, the idea became an independent venture, with Mayfield and Paul Farmer sharing the title of owner.
Customers who find the building in downtown Cedar Falls have the option of reserving one of four lanes for throwing. Walking into the business, customers first hit the desk to meet their ax coach and get a drink before finding their lane and getting a hatchet in their hands. Each lane consists of a metal fence separating throwers from onlookers, as well as safety lines keeping throwers from getting too close to a flying hatchet. At the end of each lane looms a large circular target made of and mounted on soft wood for hatchets to better stick into.
“Somebody who is going to throw hatchets comes in and has the chance to get a beverage if they like, non-alcoholic or alcoholic if they prefer,” Mayfield said. “Their coach or ‘axpert’ takes them to a lane and lays down the rules. When you have drinks and sharp objects, you have to be big on safety. Finally, we coach them in how to throw and they’re off.”
Very few people who come in to Hurling Hatchet have experience in the sport. Luckily, it only takes a few tosses before people feel comfortable sending the weapons hurling across the room.
“People who come in are excited usually, always partially nervous, but always excited,” Derrick Akers, one of Hurling Hatchet’s “axperts” said. “It always takes a minute to figure out. Within fifteen minutes though, people have got it and are sticking targets. Even if they aren’t, they’re having a blast.”
Those sentiments were echoed by some customers who took advantage of Hurling Hatchet’s reservation opportunities. “We’re here for a work function,” said Stacy Koontz, a customer at Hurling Hatchet as part of a team building exercise. “I I haven’t been really good at it but I’ve been having a lot of fun, it doesn’t matter if you’re good at it.”
For more information, go to hurlinghatchet.com.