APPLETON — Knife and axe throwing are somewhat niche sports, but they're rapidly growing in popularity. And the World Axe Throwing and World Knife Throwing Championships in Appleton this weekend showed the best they have to offer.
The Fox Cities Exhibition center was full with 576 throwers from Wisconsin, New Zealand and seemingly everywhere in between to compete in hatchet, knife and big-axe throwing. World Knife Throwing League Commissioner Evan Walters said the turnout was a record high for his organization.
“The turnout that we’ve had is bigger than we’ve ever had for knife throwing, which is amazing.” he said.
Tristan Ledbury came from Ontario, Canada to compete in the World Axe Throwing Championship for the first time and said he was impressed by the close-knit community he's found in the sport.
“It’s just really cool to see the family come together," Ledbury said. "It’s an axe family, not an ex-family. We all help each other, the sportsmanship here is just through the roof.”
For Walters, this weekend's world championships and the strong turnout they received show that axe and knife throwing have bright futures ahead.
“It’s awesome to see how it’s spreading in such a short time," Walters said, "and honestly, we’re just getting started.”
The World Axe Throwing and World Knife Throwing Championships wrap up Sunday, with competition beginning at noon.