Anthony and Taylor Privitt don't have axes to grind. They have them to throw.
The couple are bringing to Mineral Wells a unique, and increasingly popular, attraction – axe throwing. They are renovating a building at 309 S.E. 1st Avenue into Hatchet House of Mineral Wells.
"It is pretty much a combination of bowling and darts, just way cooler," said Anthony. "This is a worldwide thing."
The local venue will feature eight indoor throwing lanes 12 feet in length. Throwers will aim for a 4-by-4 target with scoring rings, a bullseye and a killshot.
The throwing wall will be thickened by white pine boards. Behind the throwers will be seating for spectators or team members. Axe throwing is not just for recreational and social fun, it can be competitive and leagues and associations exist across the nation, and around the world.
"It's an individual sport," Anthony said. "You can form teams for competitions and leagues. The majority of it is an individual sport. You are scored on yourself."
The couple say the will likely join the World Axe Throwing League (https://worldaxethrowingleague.com) for leagues and competitions, which comes with uniform rules and standards for lanes, axes used, how to throw, scoring and player conduct.
Like other axe-throwing bars, patrons can rent a lane for an hour. Typically large groups will rent a lane for two hours. The local lane rates are $18 an hour.
A couple of years ago, Taylor and Anthony decided to go out on a spontaneous date night.
"She let me plan it," Anthony said. "Great choice. We went axe throwing over in Fort Worth."
They had a lot of fun, and saw its popularity. Taylor said they began thinking about opening up their own axe throwing venue. Anthony was working in the oil field and was gone much of the time, and Taylor is always busy with her furniture-making and restoration business.
Recently the opportunity to make their dream come true presented itself and the couple seized it.
"We finally just decided now is the time," said Taylor. "With the Baker (Hotel) and the Crazy (Water Hotel) coming, Mineral Wells is just booming. We want to be part of that."
"It's time to have something fun," Anthony said.
Located a few blocks south of the Baker Hotel and Spa, they hope to have the venue open in January. By spring, they hope to open a 10,000-square-foot area outside featuring a patio, seating, a stage for bands and a line of food trucks. Games like washers and cornhole will also take place outside.
Axe throwing has long been a favorite pastime of Canadians. It eventually turned into a business, with the first axe throwing venue opening in Toronto in 2011.
"It has really taken off in the last two to five years all over the world," said Taylor.
"It's one of the fastest-growing sports right now," Anthony said, noting that ESPN carries coverage of the national axe throwing championships.
"It is really competitive," added Taylor. "People travel all over the world to compete."
The venue will be family friendly, and will include family happy hour times. Taylor said that is a feature most other axe throwing venues do not offer.
"The cool part about is everyone thinks it's a millennial thing, but every time we have gone we have actually seen people our parents' age going and throwing," she said. "It's all ages."
No worries for most people about whether they can pick and throw an axe. You don't have to be Paul Bunyon to take part. The axes are 12 to 18 inches in length and typically weigh around 3 pounds, including a head that weighs 1.25-1.5 pounds.
Despite what you might think, axe throwing bars and venues have operated safely overall. An April social media video shows a woman at a Denver venue having to duck when the axe she threw fell short, striking the ground and then the wall before ricocheting back toward her.
A "Fox and Friends" axe throwing stunt went wrong, but was done under unsafe circumstances that one will not find in a proper tomahawk-tossing venue.
No special equipment is needed to throw. The axes will be provided (league and tournament participants can bring their own) and lanes will be built to provide safety and protection for throwers and spectators. The local venue will have a beer and wine license.
As for clothing, open-toe shows are not allowed.
"Costumes are preferred," Anthony said. "If you want to wear a costume come on. You can dress as crazy as you want."