LENA (NBC 26) — A northeast Wisconsin couple turned their newfound love of axe-throwing into a business, and locals are falling in love too.
Rich and Debi Wood tried axe throwing as a fun night out a few years ago, and they were instantly hooked. Shortly after, the Woods decided to convert their open pavilion near The RiverWood Saloon into an axe-throwing venue called The Woodshed.
NBC 26 Today Anchor MacLeod Hageman has been discovering northeast Wisconsin and decided to stop by and give it a try.
It doesn't matter how good you are, how many times you've done it, or whether you're afraid you won't stick your target - axe-throwing is the latest trend that's getting attention in the region.
John Petrick says he's only been throwing a few months, but he looks forward to competing in the league every single week with his team.
"I got hooked on it the first week. Instead of throwing house axes, I went out and bought my own axe, because I enjoyed it so much," Petrick said.
Debi Wood said she took her husband Rich to an axe-throwing facility a few years ago, and the rest is history.
"I found out I was pretty good at it. I enjoyed it, and there's nothing like this in this area. So, why not bring something to Oconto County that isn't here? So, I built The Woodshed," Rich Wood said.
Rich says he enjoys teaching beginners how to stand, throw and stick their target.
"When you come here, I don't just give you an axe and say, 'Go throw the axe.' So, my passion is getting everyone better than me," Rich said.
The best part about axe-throwing is that you don't have to be an expert to do it, it's not just for guys, and it's fun for all ages, as long as you're at least 16 years old.
"Axe league, it's just like pool. There are four people on a team. It's co-ed. Some men, some women," Rich said.
"Oh, it's a lot of fun... a lot of fun. I always say that there's something about the "thunk" to the first time you hit the target, and it sticks. It doesn't matter where it sticks. It's just super fun," Debi said.
Debi Wood said some of her best customers are couples on their first date, and she says women really seem to love it after they've tried it a few times.
"It is a good test of character. It is a good test to see how a person reacts when they don't do well... if they drop or they encourage each other, or they say, 'you're on your own, bud.' It tells a lot on their first date," Debi said.
But, if you're unsure about axe-throwing, beginners like John Petrick and his team say there's nothing to be worried about.
"It's not dangerous. That's the first thing that some people might think it would be because it's axes, but it's not dangerous. It takes a little bit of practice but just like pool league or dart league, it's just a night out with friends with a little competition, but it's friendly. I would tell you that it's just a reason to get together with friends," Petrick said.
The Woodshed is open seven days a week.
If you'd like to learn more about rates and scheduling a time or party, you can find them on social media.
The Woods say you must be at least 16 years old to throw an axe at The Woodshed. There is also a nearby saloon and campground for families to try.
This story is part of a series as NBC 26 Today Anchor MacLeod Hageman discovers northeast Wisconsin. If you have a good idea where Mac should visit next, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org