As COVID-19 restrictions begin to loosen up, students and local residents may be in search of an exciting way to reconnect with friends and family as the weather warms up. Ax throwing, a popular activity trending across younger generations, has thrown its way into Maryville.

The new ax-throwing businesses will aim to provide the community a fun place to throw sharp objects, share laughter and create memories. One of these is newly available to Maryville residents, and the others are in the making.

Timbear Cats Axe Throwing will be a new family-friendly source of entertainment located in the downtown square.

Timbear Cats Owner Shaun Thornton described his business as “not like your traditional ax throwing” and said that there will be an assortment of ax-throwing games. The facility will have games involving moving targets, tic-tac-toe, zombie slaying and potentially a game involving the opposing team’s mascot during Northwest’s homecoming.

“The several that I’ve done, they’ve all kind of been the same,” Thornton said. “When I was exploring it, it was finding something that’s going to be different. I mean, you want it to be for everybody, and some of them are just kind of, you feel like you’re throwing in a dungeon, in a sense sometimes.”

Scores will be logged digitally on a screen located above participants.

A viral video of a girl throwing an ax, missing the target and the ax bouncing off the floor directly back at her — luckily just clearing her body as she ducked down — sparked some concerns in regard to safety.

To ensure customer safety, Thornton said Timbear Cats will be using a patent-pending system where axes stick better to the targets and are less likely to bounce back to participants.

“Our axes have a higher stick ratio, so that gives it a better time for you if you’ve never been, or if somebody’s been only a couple times, sometimes it's hard to get the motion and how it works, but we want it to be enjoyable for as much as you have, have a good experience,” Thornton said. 

Thornton anticipates there will be eight ax-throwing lanes that allows for six people in each. He said the facility will additionally offer children a similar activity to include them in the fun, but without the sharp heavy ax.

To book an appointment, customers will be able to sign up for reservation times on Timbear Cat’s up-and-coming website and sign the required waiver.

Thornton hopes for Timbear Cats to open for business sometime this spring. He said the official location of the ax-throwing facility will likely be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition to ax-throwing lanes divided by reserved groups to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Timbear Cats plans to follow city guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation measures.

A&M Amusements, a party and event rental company, recently added mobile ax throwing rental to their collection.

Adam Marriott, owner and president of the company said they encourage people to wear face coverings, use hand sanitizer and regularly sanitize ax handles to keep customers safe from COVID-19.

A&M Amusements teamed up with The Axe Factor in St. Joseph to provide customers in and around Maryville with ax-throwing experience at events of their own. 

The trailer includes four ax-throwing lanes that can be rented out per hour and includes an attendant that ensures the safety of participants and trains them to throw properly. Ages 7 and up are allowed to participate in the ax throwing fun.

Marriott said since he purchased the company three years ago, he started going to a national trade show and amusement classes where his interest in ax throwing sparked.

Marriott said he is in the workings of creating an indoor facility in partnership with The Axe Factor to open an ax-throwing business in Maryville. 

“We partnered with who we feel is the best in the industry, and I think we’re going to, if not hit a home run, at least a triple,” Marriott said.

Specializing mostly in inflatables for children, Marriott said he wants to extend his reach to all ages so there will no longer be a need for people to drive to Kansas City, Missouri, for entertainment. 

This new ax facility will be geared more toward adults, and Marriott hopes to be able to serve alcoholic beverages to customers. In the future, he anticipates making a separate indoor facility for the younger population.

“Indoor entertainment has been something I’ve wanted to do since I got into entertainment a few years ago,” Marriott said. “We want to provide entertainment to Maryville for everyone from kids to adults. You know, ax throwing was just a good progression into it.”

Although he has purchased the building, Marriott plans to keep the location a secret for a bit longer. The ax-throwing facility is currently under renovation. Marriott expects to open the business this fall.

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