Valhalla Axe Hall opened March 25 in Redkey. The facility offers axe-throwing sessions in half-hour and hour increments during business hours on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It’s starting a six-month league Tuesday. (The Commercial Review/Bailey Cline)
Valhalla Axe Hall opened March 25 in Redkey. The facility offers axe-throwing sessions in half-hour and hour increments during business hours on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It’s starting a six-month league Tuesday. (The Commercial Review/Bailey Cline)
REDKEY — Steady your aim.

Valhalla Axe Hall, an axe-throwing facility, opened last month in downtown Redkey.

The business at 120 W. High St. offers sessions in half-hour or hour increments for visitors to hone their skills in the sport. It’s located in the same building as Redkey Blacksmiths, which opened its doors about two years ago.

Owner Leroy Brown shared that some of his goals with owning both businesses are to draw more people to Redkey and offer more hands-on activities to do in town.

“I think there’s a societal need for people to do things with their hands,” explained Brown. “I feel like, in the crazy amount of information overload that’s coming from (technology), this is something to balance that. And that’s what society needs, is balance, so I think there is a real market for this.”

Brown explained the sport of axe-throwing has been growing in the past few years.

Valhalla Axe Hall starts its first league, which will span about six months, at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Registration is required. Another league day for second- and third-shift workers is set to begin at noon Wednesday.

Axe-throwing is also good for the casual visitor looking to let loose, explained manager Shea Fields.

“I like that I can come in here, if I’m having a bad day or anything, I can just let off a little steam by throwing some axes,” he said.

A Dunkirk native and resident of Redkey, Brown purchased the storefront about a year ago. It had been previously used as a storage unit, noted Fields. Brown and Fields made repairs and renovations to the space, repairing the floors, walls and ceiling as well as doing electrical work and installing water lines.

Nearly all of the furniture was fashioned with reclaimed wood or repurposed materials. (One exception includes targets, which are recommended by the World Axe Throwing League to be made with specific wood and with specific dimensions.)

Manager Flip Roberts also helped pitch ideas for the viking theme. Brown explained he wanted to take his axe hall in a different direction from others he has visited.

“What I realized about these other places … they’re very clean, they’re like brand-new constructed warehouses,” he said. “I don’t feel like they have a soul.”

Brown, Fields and Roberts picked decorations they felt would have an impact on visitors. One example is the viking runes engraved in wooden beams and other spots throughout the axe hall. Each represents a different value, such as friendship, bonding, prosperity and family.

“I feel like when you take a building like this that hasn’t had anything in it for 50 years, the energy that you manifest, you know, does matter,” said Brown. “When you come in here on a night when it’s busy and everybody’s throwing, and axes are slamming, we have the viking music playing — there’s a special energy here.”

At his core, Brown loves to teach. He received his associate’s degree in business from Vincennes University and operated a karate school while there for about two years. (Brown is a fourth-degree black belt and currently teaches at Backers Taekwondo in rural Dunkirk.)

In relation to his current practice, Brown offers blacksmithing classes, varying in length anywhere from two through four hours to two days. The type of blade created varies on the length of the class.

He plans to coordinate events with events with Redkey Blacksmiths and has a two-day event in the works for visitors to forge their own axe and test it out at Valhalla Axe Hall. He’s in the midst of repairing equipment to make it happen.

Brown said he’s relatively new to axe-throwing. He’s hopeful to see more people get involved in the upcoming league and gain some reputation in the field.

“Reputation was one of the most important things to (vikings),” said Brown. “This is somewhere new where we’re all amateurs competing against each other, like, come get some reputation, show us what you’re made of.”

Valhalla Axe Hall is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.