FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Move over bowling, axe throwing, an age-old sport, is the hot new trend.
Many taking it to the next level and competing in competitions around the world, including one Valley native.
A North Fork lumberjack is competing in the World Axe Throwing Championship this weekend in Arizona.
For Nate Hodges, it’s more than just axe throwing, it’s fierce competition.“It’s fun, I can just throw all day,” he expressed.
Hodges says his earliest memories of handling an axe are from when he was just 5-years-old.
“I had an axe in my hand then, never knew it would lead to you know something competitive,” he said.
At 19, Hodges says he entered into his first competition, the North Fork Loggers Jamboree. “I entered just the axe throwing competition, practised really hard, went in and won it,” he said.
Hodges says that first win fueled the fire of the sport for him and started competing in as many events as he could.
But Hodges says the sport is only now gaining traction.
“Two, three years ago is was hardly heard of, it was happening but it was just a little bit in a couple of countries or north America and now it’s grown like wildfire,” he explained.
He says there weren’t any axe throwing businesses in Fresno, until about a year ago. Bad Axe Throwing, a worldwide chain, opened a location, near Shields and Palm Avenues, that’s when Hodges joined their league.
He says he worked to qualify through Bad Axe and the World Axe Throwing League to get a spot in the 2019 World Axe Throwing Championships.
“They take the top 12 ranked in the world out of basically 7,000 throwers, I think they’re up to now that enter this the leagues throughout the entire world, so I rank number three in the world,” he explained.
Hodges says it’s the biggest competition he’s facing with 64 axe throwers, from 19 different countries, battling it out for the title and grand prize of $15,000.
“I love it because I’m very competitive, especially this, you give me an axe, that’s what I’ve done my whole life and to be doing what I love as a competition, I’m excited,” he expressed.
The finals of the World Axe Throwing Championships will air Live on ESPN, Sunday, December 8. For times, check your local listings.