Built to Axe

Brucesters!

Hey guys! I think my favourite part of being a blogger is the great people I’ve met over the past 10 years. Wow, I can’t believe its ten years this coming October! I’ve met some fantastic people. That joy continued when I bumped into this dude at the coffee shop. His name is Carlo, and he just had a face that said. Say hi, I’m one of the good guys.” I did, and the rest, as they say, is history. Here’s what I learned about this smiley fellow, and how I’ve become a fan of him and his company!


Bruce in the City Interview:

1. I’m super excited to be able to chat with you today. Tell my readers who you are and what you do. 

Thanks Bruce! I’m pretty excited too. Well, I’m Carlo Raponi, and I guess I throw axes for a living! Really that’s the short version. I run two axe clubs where people come in and chuck axes for sport/recreation, the same way they would go bowling or to play darts…but WAAAAY cooler!

2. What’s your inspiration for the style of club you have put together?

When we began designing the club, we had a firm direction in mind. We wanted a club that was warm and welcoming. I think that the first generation of axe clubs out there were really rough and rugged…and so it attracted a “type” of person. But we wanted it to be for everyone from the average Joe/Jane, to the business owner wanting to bring their staff to youth leagues. We knew that this kind of club would make axe throwing accessible to more people and, therefore, advance the sport. Since then, we’ve seen a new generation of axe clubs pop up here and there inline with an appeal to a broader demographic. It’s been great!

3. Share with us the atmosphere and the lifestyle of your club and its patrons. 

That’s a hard one, just because there is such a wide range of people that come to the club. We have everyone from bakers to engineers to mechanics to factory workers to business owners. Then there’s the age demographic: our youngest thrower is 8 and our eldest thrower…well, I’m not sure, but he could probably be my grandfather! And then there’s the group from the Center for Persons with Disabilities who have come multiple times to throw. We’ve had people who are fully blind hit bullseyes! 

The best place to see all of this in action is during leagues. People from all areas of life, gender, orientation, pay statuses, stages of life, all hanging out and excited to see each other every week. It’s a family!

4. Do you play? 

Good sir…You know, I do! I love it. I love being in the middle of the crowd as part of the group on league nights. I throw on ‘Thursday Black’ under the Pseudonym “Stallion.” Thursday Black is our hardest league, so I lose pretty often, but I love the group, so I play.

5. When do I get to play?

Haha, whenever you get yourself over to the club!

6. I’m just wanting to dig a bit deeper on what inspired you to put your career stability into question. Why axe throwing?

Hahaha, yeah, that’s a great question! When we began our club, axe throwing was so new. People were like, “You want to throw what at what?” People were really apprehensive, and so it was a gamble as to whether or not this would take off. Some people thought, “Oh, Peterborough is perfect!” somehow thinking that we’re all just rednecks shooting things and throwing axes at things. Still, I thought Peterborough would be perfect because it’s the kind of community that is alive and would try new experiences. Luckily, we were proven right. From here, we opened up in Lindsay as well, and the community is warming up to that club too. 

I guess, in the end, you’ve got an idea that you really think has merit, and so you go with it…intelligently, with research to back up your hunch…but you really do just go for it.

7. Tell me about your club. Let’s pretend I know nothing about this bad-ass club and axe throwing…. oh wait. I don’t. Spill it!

Right! Ok, so first off, you have to fight a guy named Biff in the parking lot. If you beat him THEN, you might be worthy of stepping inside…just kidding! It’s the kind of place you can just swing by, although most people make reservations for a group (especially in the winter because we’re packed in the colder months). Once you’ve come through the front doors, someone greets you, you sign your toes away on a waiver, settle up, and we put you on your lanes.

For group bookings, your group will be assigned a lane coach (or coaches, depending on the size of the group). The lane coach goes over safety, teaches you how to throw correctly and then will organize the group into a round-robin tournament. The coach will call and score the games and eventually bring the whole group down to one “winner takes all, look how cool I am, I’m the chosen one” champion! It’s a riot!

On our busier nights, like a Friday or Saturday, the place is electric! People are cheering, people groaning at missed throws, people at the bar getting a drink, there is music, laughter, all of it! It’s really an amazing place to be. It’s actually better than I dreamed it would be when I first imagined it!

8. You know what? This is not something you can just read about to get it fully. Am I right? 

You’re very right! People don’t fully get what it is until they have an axe in their hand. Then they throw it and hear the “thunk” as it sticks into the target and are suddenly overwhelmed with a cathartic feeling! That feeling triples when they find out that they just beat the opponent beside them. You know, the one that was bragging on the car ride in about how good they would be. You have to try it to feel it.

9. I am really excited about what I’ve learned here. I think it’s fair enough to say. I need to experience axe throwing first hand. Can I come in January for a live interview of your remarkable space?

Absolutely! That would be great.

10. Before I let you get back to throwing axes and building community with every throw, where can one get the supplies needed to get into this awesome sport?

No need to get anything. We supply everything. With that said, we have a lot of league members who either buy hatchets off of us. They doctor them up to make them personal, or they go to the local hardware store and pick something up there that meets the regulatory requirements for league. But for the average person coming in for a party or just to walk-in, we supply it all.

11. Really appreciate your time this evening. Any last bits of info that we may find helpful? 

Yes. EVERYTHING (or just about) is found on or done through the website. We really tried to make it easy to use and check availability. If there is a question it doesn’t answer, we love to chat with the good citizens of our fair Earth, so give us a call.

12. Looking forward to continuing this chat live in the club. 

Likewise! We’ll see you then!

Article by Bruce Christopher

Editor/PR Bruce Law

International PR Mike Tubbrit

Hair by Nick Folco

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