At Southern Ohio Axe Throwing
If you are looking for something “axe- tradordinary” and “axe-citing” to do in the Portsmouth area, then look no further than Southern Ohio Axe Throwing. In August 2021, Ron and Shawna Ward of Lucasville opened the facility at 412 Second Street in Portsmouth, Ohio, in the historic Boneyfiddle District.
The Lucasville couple hatched the idea after a few visits to the Southern Ohio Axe Throwing location in Chillicothe.“ We went back and even took my mother-in-law who is 76 and an avid bowler,” Ron said. “She told me she enjoyed it as much as bowling.” On the way home, Ron was quiet, and Shawna asked what was on his mind.
“I think I want to bring this to Portsmouth,” he said. Ron already had a full-time job at Fluor-BWXT in Piketon and had never even thought of starting his own business.
“We met with Dave and Heather Dratwa, who own the place in Chillicothe, and told them we were interested in opening one in Portsmouth. They were in,” Shawna said. “It’s a good partnership.”
The couple was thrilled when they found an available building in the Boneyfiddle District – home to popular tourist attractions and antique shopping. “We used all local union labor, and everything is up to Ohio standards,” he said. “Our bathrooms are clean; this is a safe sport and a lot of fun.” When customers walk into Southern Ohio Axe Throwing in Portsmouth, they are greeted by Shawna, who serves as manager. She then turns them over to their own personal ‘axe-pert’ who reviews the dos and don’ts and shows them the art of proper axe throwing. There are five lanes at SOAT with two targets in each lane – for a total of 10.
"We have so much confidence in our ‘axe- perts’ that we know the customer will be able to hit the bull’s eye within 10 throws,” Ron said. “Ideally, we would love to see large groups come in as well as individuals,” he added. “This is a fantastic venue for a teambuilding exercise. Each lane can have up to seven throwers.”
Walk-ins are welcome but the owners encourage customers to reserve a lane online in advance. “They will find everything they need on our website at www. southernohioaxe.com,” Shawna said. “The cost is $30 per person for 90 minutes.”
Southern Ohio Axe Throwing is affiliated with the World Axe Throwing League and hosts weekly competitions.
“We have a league here, and our ‘axe- perts’ encourage everyone to join,” Ron added. “It’s picking up momentum and is an up-and-coming sport featured on ESPN.”
The sport is safe, and the location also features dart boards and a competition-size shuffleboard.
“Throwing an axe might sound harder than it is,” Shawna added. “But the truth is, anyone can throw an axe. The secret to being good at this is your form and not your strength. Anyone can throw – they just need to listen to our ‘axe-perts’.”
Throwers must be age 10 or older, and minors must have a parent present to sign a waiver. Open-toed shoes are not permitted.
“This is safe, fun and a great way to spend an evening in Portsmouth,” Ron said. “We are in the DORA District (designated outdoor refreshment area) which means people can walk in with an adult beverage. We do have rules, but as long as people abide by them, they will have a fun time.”
Those who wish to throw the axe may call 740.529.1927 or visit the website to make a reservation.
“We are thrilled to have this available to Portsmouth because we feel it’s a perfect fit here in the Boneyfiddle District,” Shawna said. “Once you do it, you’ll be back because it can be very addictive and a lot of fun.”