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US Axe thriving at Fat Daddy's

With a new location, US Axe is finding plenty of success

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US Axe's Dustin Knight and Niki Knight holding axe throwing championships belts.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA – United States Axe has been operating in a new location for the past couple of months – inside of Fat Daddy’s.

U.S. Axe is co-owned by Niki and Dustin Knight. Dustin said that the reason for the move from the VFW is because it will create more opportunities to have events.

The move came about coincidentally. Dustin said he was in Fat Daddy’s with his kids when the idea of putting up a location there came about.

“I'm looking at the same people that are playing the games,” he said. “People are bowling, playing darts, Big Buck Hunter; this is just another level.”

Dustin called this opportunity a “great marriage” that can benefit the community as a whole, specifically because of the things that are included in the building they are in.

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“They already liked it here. And this just gives an extra reason to come here,” Dustin said. “They'll hang out, they'll come before league starts, practice and hang out hours after it's over. So we encourage that, because the more throw time that our league members get, the better they're going to get. I'm like a head coach. Like any head coach, I want to see my goals and my players, I want them to get better. And you know, they get over 50% off of regular throwing too. So if they want to come in here with their families, practicing and get them exposed.”

Both Niki and Dustin Knight said that the majority of people that have seen come in and throw axes have been people who aren’t really considered everyday axe throwers.

A heavy amount of the traffic that U.S. Axe has seen in the few months that it’s been open in Fat Daddy’s and the Garden Lanes Center has been from people who may not be considered as axe throwing specialists or professionals.

“The newer people trying something new, is about 98% of people are seeing their friends doing it,” Dustin said.

The Knight’s said that Fat Daddy’s has been more than welcoming to them since they pitched the idea of moving in.

“They had seen us online and they’d seen that the sport is trending,” Dustin said. “A lot of these places are attached to bars, restaurants, entertainment centers, standalone, and all things entertainment. We literally have everything here for games and entertainment. It only makes sense. This is a game, just like bowling. And there’s 10 frames of bowling and you get 10 throws an axe on so it was just a perfect marriage and they agree.”

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The throwing boards at US Axe.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

A big part of the traffic that U.S. Axe sees, more so on the weekends than during the week, is from corporate outings by local companies.

“They're going to come for that team building aspect of it – it’s huge,” Dustin said. “Companies are looking for a lot of these companies. And what else? What else are companies going to do for team building? Have a pizza party again? So we added that element to it,” Dustin said.

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Even wedding parties appear to have an interest in axe throwing.

“We also see a lot of bachelorette parties and a lot of birthday parties too. It's something for them, an activity before they go out and do what they're going to do,” Niki said.

The fun of throwing axes is not necessarily restricted to just adults. Families as a whole get in on the fun. And league members, as well as their kids, also throw axes.

“Some of our league members have kids, and it's been fun for them to bring their kids because they'll bowl for an hour while they throw for an hour and it gives them another outlet,” Niki said. “It's a fun option for them, if they're hyperactive kids and want to do a bunch of stuff, there's good options for them too.”

As one would expect, there are safety protocols that U.S. Axe has, especially for kids who are wanting to partake in axe throwing.

“We say 12 years old, but we’ve had as young as 6,” Dustin Knight said about U.S. Axe’s age restrictions. “It just depends. If I'm coaching them and I'm in safety or Nikki's the safety, we decide if they’re strong enough to not compromise their own safety. You know, they're holding weapons. So we're spotting them right there. Their parents said it was OK, so let's see if they have the strength to do it. And some 10 year olds don’t have that strength. They don't have that ability or coordination.”

Dustin added they’re very protective of their throwers and he called the throwing areas “a sacred area.”

“It's like a dojo, it's a sacred spot for us,” he said. “Any kind of injury or someone compromising safety is unacceptable, first and foremost.”

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One of the main goals of U.S. Axe since they started a couple of years ago, is to develop axe throwing champions from central Minnesota.

Another goal is to grow the sport of axe throwing.

At U.S. Axe, their are three target boards that throwers can use. U.S. Axe has locations in Alexandria, St. Cloud, Wadena and in Fargo, North Dakota.

More information about U.S. Axe can be found on its website .

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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