DENVER — Most sports and competitions are on hold while the novel cororanvirus continues to spread around the country, but one group of athletes found a way to continue their competition while following stay-at-home orders.
When the world shut down due to COVID-19, axe throwers took to the internet to continue playing and connecting with each other. They started the Quarantine Axe Throwing League. Members built targets at their homes and link up every week via video chat to play matches.
Axe-throwers around the world are now competing in the seven-week tournament, which will have one crowned winner.
Mario Zalaya, founder of Bad Axe Throwing and the World Axe Throwing League, said he expected to have 15 or 20 people participate in the competition. To date, they have 300 participants from various countries, he said.
It’s not all about the competition, though. Danielle Sharp, a regional manager for the Bad Axe Throwing facilities, says she’s in it for the fun and friends.
“This is hard for people, especially people who are social butterflies like a lot of us are,” she said. “We go and we interact with each other every week and now I still get to ‘see’ them all the time and interact in ways we wouldn’t have interacted before.”
She said participating in the competition and meeting those involved is the best thing she’s ever done.
“We’re all here to support each other and that’s what we’re doing,” she said. “I don’t feel alone.”
Axe-throwing is one of America’s fastest-growing sports. Its growing popularity spiked after a viral video circulated that showed a girl dodge an axe after it bounded off the target and flew back at her. That happened right here in Denver at Bad Axe Throwing.
The video captured the attention of thousands and drew more people to the sport. They were curious and wanted to try their hand at it.
Sharp said she hopes to see axe throwing become more popular in the next five to 10 years.
“I think the long-term demand and viability of it is already there,” Zalaya said. “We’re just working on the foundations.”