AP NEWS

New Spring-based ‘Texas Axe Throwing’ business promises thrills, fun

February 19, 2019

A cavernous former auto body shop in Spring will soon become only the third “ax house” in the greater Houston area when Texas Axe Throwing opens at 23300 Interstate-45, Spring, in March.

“The thing I love most about this is that my 11-year-old niece can throw axes and have just as big of a goofy grin as my 60-year-old dad,” said Nicolas Thering, owner of Texas Axe Throwing. “This sport really has no gender, it has no age, it has no anything — anyone who throws an ax gets that feeling.”

For as long as humans have existed, so have the wedged blades we’ve come to know as axes. The first stone iterations were used as tools by the earliest human ancestors more than one-and-a-half million years ago, and became weapons as the once-nomadic peoples of Europe and Asia began to settle — and fight over — territory.

Somewhere along the way, Thering said, they became pieces in a fun, if slightly risky, game.

Now, hundreds of years later, one of mankind’s oldest tools has found its way to Spring for residents to enjoy over a beer or a glass of wine.

Thering and his father, Houston-based criminal defense attorney Mark Thering, decided to open the locale after Thering spent a stint as an “ax-pert” at Houston Axe Throwing in southwest Houston. He was drawn to the sport, he said, and it was naturally in-step with his entrepreneurial aspirations. Opening up shop in Spring made sense, too — Thering went to Oak Ridge High School and most of the family still lives in the area.

When the new business opens — hopefully before St. Patrick’s Day, Thering said — the ax house will feature 14 solid pine targets in six separate ranges. Guests will be able to enjoy drinks and play pool between throwing Estwing solid steel axes in two-and-a-half hour sessions, complete with an ax master to coach them through each throw.

“When guests walk in, they’ll see the big, open bay doors; they’re going to be able to hear the steel slinging against the pine,” Thering said.

It’s an industry ripe with puns, Thering said — upon check-in and the signing of the ever-important safety waivers, guests will be assigned or can choose aliases for their time as ax masters. Some of the favorites? Thering’s seen it all — Lizzie Borden, Accident Prone and Boss Ax Birch.

Ax throwing as an activity is only just now beginning to make its way to the United States, Thering said. It’s been a popular activity in Canada for more than a decade — without any recorded on-site injuries, he noted.

The model has remained immensely popular as the activity gains traction in the United States, Thering said. In late 2018, Epic Axe opened a location in Katy and BATL, a Canadian-based ax house chain, is opening a location in the Heights later this year. In 2018, ESPN televised the World Axe Throwing League’s world championships.

Houston Axe Throwing, where Thering got his start, opened its doors on International Axe Throwing Day in June 2017.

“It’s just a really satisfying activity,” co-owner Sarah Sed said. “You can just hang out and drink and have fun.”

Competition is far from fierce, though, Thering said. It’s still a very under-represented activity as, as of now, the actual locations are far enough away from each other to hopefully avoid any interlap.

“Because it’s such a niche market — (Houston Axe Throwing) were the first ones — it was kind of easy to lay a new territory,” Thering said.

mrincon@chron.com