FULDA — A new Fulda business owner has taken his show on the road, offering mobile axe throwing this summer at various fairs throughout the region.
Terry Nelson first learned about axe throwing in the summer of 2019. He was boating with a friend when a storm rolled in and they had to seek shelter. He and his buddy ended up at an axe throwing range in Okoboji, Iowa.
"I was terrible at it," Nelson recalled.
However, he kept readjusting his stance and practicing, and he eventually got a bullseye — which his friend caught on video. Watching the video later, Nelson's friend encouraged him to open his own axe throwing business, so he did.
Nelson had been a DJ for 20 years and was looking for a change. He loves working with people, so opening an axe throwing range with a focus on coaching made sense to him.
Looking around for a logo, Nelson came across a cartoon woodchuck, and Woody's Axe Throwing was born.
He opened a brick-and-mortar location in Brookings, South Dakota, on Jan. 1, 2020, and a second location in Sioux City, Iowa on June 1, 2020. Both locations also serve wine and beer, so folks can have a drink while they throw axes.
Woody's offers one- or two-hour time slots for individuals, as well as group activities. Business groups like to come in for team-building exercises, and Woody's has even hosted a gender reveal party, where the expectant parents tried to hit balloons affixed to the wooden target until they popped the one with blue confetti inside.
This year, Nelson wanted to try something new. He created Woody's Mobile Axe, which allows him to take his business anywhere. He'll primarily focus on fairs and festivals this summer.
Last weekend's Regatta in Worthington was Nelson's inaugural mobile experience, and it was a huge success. The activity was well-received by the community and attracted participants from ages 8 to 92.
In fact, his first customer of the day was Bob Ludlow, owner of Bedford Industries.
"It truly is something for all ages," Nelson said. "Everybody is on a level playing field because it's not been around for a long time."
Nelson doesn't just provide axes and targets. He teaches each person the proper technique for landing an axe in the target, and he suggests adjustments along the way.
"I love working with the kids," he said. "When they hit the target, their eyes light up — that's the best part."
Woody's Mobile Axe will be in Fulda next week at the Wood Duck Festival, the Edgerton Dutch Festival July 16-17 and the Murray County Fair Aug. 18-21.
Farther afield, Nelson also plans to set up at Wabasso roll-ins on Tuesday nights throughout the summer and participate in Brookings Downtown Sundown on Thursday nights starting in July. He'll be at the Clay County and Woodbury County, Iowa, fairs, as well.