Whether it’s a special occasion or a bad day, Melissa Einarsen firmly believes the best medicine is throwing an ax at a wooden target. Axtreme Arena is a business focused on fun, Einarsen …
Whether it’s a special occasion or a bad day, Melissa Einarsen firmly believes the best medicine is throwing an ax at a wooden target.
Axtreme Arena is a business focused on fun, Einarsen said. The idea to open up shop in Cleveland sprung from her brother, Aaron Cockrell, who owns several similar businesses in St. Louis, Mo.
Cockrell, a veteran and former EMS worker, said he was “tired of seeing people on their bad days.” So he opened up shop in St. Louis and got into the business of making people’s day with escape rooms, eventually getting into operating games ranging from casual to wacky.
In Cleveland, Einarsen and her husband Chad Einarsen run Axetreme Arena, which currently specializes in a combination sport called Foot-bowl, and, of course, ax throwing.
Einarsen came to Cleveland for school in 2000 and “decided I would stay.”
She said ax throwing is similar to throwing darts, “except with a much bigger dart and target.” It is a sport that has started trending at bars in larger cities.
Oftentimes, casual ax throwing can be found at bars in metropolitan areas. While they weren’t opposed to the idea of offering a small selection of adult beverages as part of their Cleveland business, Einarsen and her brother plan to “keep things family friendly” for now.
When it comes to ax throwing, Cockrell said coaching and supervision is key.
Cockrell demonstrated a two-handed and one-handed throw with small and large axes. He said the key is in the rotation, but it’s much harder than it looks.
The axes are somewhat heavier than expected, and just because it makes it to the target, doesn’t mean it will stick. An improper release can create the wrong spin, causing the broad side of the ax to smack the target. The fine tuning in the sport is what makes it a great team builder, Cockrell said.
“Everyone, regardless of education levels or skills, starts on a level playing field, because this is something totally new. They have to get knocked down a little bit and learn together,” he said.
“When one person figures it out, they can help coach others and, without getting into the psychology of it, it helps bring that team or group of people together.”
While ax throwing is for ages 10 and up, Einarsen said the foot-bowl arena is for all ages.
Foot-bowl is a game combining the goal of knocking down bowling pins with the precision needed in throwing a football.
She said it’s “totally family friendly” noting that a family with a young 18-month-old recently came in and “just had fun walking up to the pins and knocking them down.”
The pair maintains a free spirit and an open mind when it comes to their business. They’re eager to get creative, whether it be with their game offerings or their puns.
“I wanted to give people an ‘ax-citing’ experience,” he smirked, “more than they could ‘ax’ for.”
“Because we’re ‘bad axes,’” Einarsen chimed in.
They talked about offering ax throwing for parties, like office parties, gender reveals, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the list goes on. They talked about adding other sports in the future, like dodgeball, and having a venue for special events.
Einarsen and her husband are in the process of creating a league at the arena, and asked anyone interested to sign up online before the end of September. In addition, she stressed they are veteran owned and hire veterans as well.
They added the possibilities with their mobile ax-throwing unit are endless, only limited by how far they’re willing to travel.
“Basically, if you come to us with an idea, we’ll find some way we can do it,” Cockrell said.
The arena is open seven days a week, from noon to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Individuals can rent a target or foot-bowl station for one to two hours at a time. For groups, each station can hold up to six people. Einarsen said they offer specials for walk-ins every Wednesday and for college students every Thursday.
Discounts are always offered to veterans and emergency personnel, she said.
Einarsen asks all guests wear closed-toed shoes and sign a waiver.
Axetreme Arena is located in the Bradley Square Mall next to JCPenny and Kay Jewelers.
For more information and a discount for booking online, visit axetremearena.com.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE