Right on target: Big Axe Hangout offers mobile form of entertainment
By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer
CALERA — Sometimes you just feel like throwing an axe at an approaching zombie. Or, perhaps, you simply need to get out of the house. Big Axe Hangout has provided a way to do both.
The mobile entertainment venue, based in Calera, offers people of all experience levels an opportunity to learn axe throwing and participate in fun games of varying levels of difficulty. In the safe confines of a trailer, customers can throw axes, knives or ninja stars at targets. Through creative use of projectors, the targets in question can be a standard target, a tic-tac-toe grid or even a zombie in attack mode.
Big Axe Hangout officially opened Saturday, Jan. 9 and offered guests of Oversoul Brewing in Helena a chance to test their skills. The company previously held a soft opening at Central Alabama Paintball Park.
“Basically, we were wanting to do something that could bring the community together in a safe way that allows for people to socialize,” said Hunter Davis, co-owner alongside brother Cole Davis and their mother, Vanessa Davis. “People are starting to isolate more and stay in their homes, and we wanted to find a way to get people back out, back socializing in a safe, CDC-approved way.”
The Davis’s original idea was to have a brick-and-mortar venue, but they decided that approach was not very feasible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they opted for a lower-cost trailer, which has the advantage of being mobile and affords the opportunity to partner with host businesses like Oversoul.
“The other thing we wanted to do is help smaller businesses,” Davis said. “What we’ve been asking some of these businesses to do is to give us stickers and business cards, and we’re planning to put these stickers and business cards on our trailer.”
Big Axe Hangout takes the traditional axe throwing game and adds another dimension to it through the use of projectors. This allows for the challenge of moving targets and other game formats like tic-tac-toe, which has proven popular among customers.
“All of our targets have the projected target on it,” Davis said.
When constructing the physical surface for the targets, they looked at complaints about similar businesses, which were chiefly that the axes wouldn’t stick to targets. With a little help, they developed a surface that pretty much guarantees that any axe, ninja star or knife will stick as long as the blade or point makes contact. They also developed a “no bounce back” board, which helps prevent an axe from flying back at a customer.
“We wanted to make it safe for everybody,” Davis said. “We fixed it so that people can throw (axes) with some type of ease. It’s going to help them improve on accuracy and things like that.”
The venue adopts some of its rules from the World Axe Throwing League, a professionally recognized organization; however, anyone 13 and above may participate.
Davis added they are currently working to develop additional games. For example, a corporate event could feature a boss’s picture in place of a standard target.
Big Axe Hangout may be booked for events and can be reached on Facebook, at BigAxeHangout.com or at 205-319-7008.