A new axe-throwing business scheduled to open later this year in town got the recommendation it sought from the Columbus City Council.
During the council’s meeting on Monday, April 3rd, the City Council unanimously approved making a recommendation to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission in favor of Axe in the Box’s application for a Retail Class A liquor license. The council also unanimously approved the business’ application for Derek T. Sharman as manager in conjunction with the liquor license.
Axe in the Box is set to open at 311 E. 23rd St. this summer, according to its Facebook page. Sharman, who addressed the City Council on Monday night as the business owner and operator, confirmed those plans. He also explained to the council the reasoning for the liquor license application.
“We’re going to be an axe-throwing venue first and we’re going to be providing the opportunity for people to consume a limited amount of beer. No hard liquor, no spirits,” Sharman said. “I know a lot of people will say, ‘How is this safe? Is this dangerous?’”
Sharman said the business will limit patrons to three drinks, noting people will be given a wristband and a tally mark will be marked on it with each drink they consume.
“You get to your third drink and you’re done,” he assured.
Guests who appear intoxicated upon arrival to Axe in the Box will be asked to leave and reschedule for a different time when they are “a little more sober,” he noted.
Sharman explained most of the common axe-throwing injuries are actually splinters from accidentally putting your hand on an axe-throwing target that has been split by a lot of throws. Since the wood is slit up, there will be a lot of splinters sitting on the wood.
Although Axe in the Box will be new to Columbus, axe throwing itself has become quite a popular form of entertainment in the last decade. In Canada, Europe and the United States, urban axe throwing is booming. Participants have thrown about 20 million axes to date, according to the National Axe Federation (NATF). The IATF (International Axe Throwing Federation) was established in 2016 and helps host the International Axe Throwing Championship every year in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to celebrate the sport through high-level competition.
Nebraska has also gotten in the sport, as axe-throwing venues have popped up in Omaha, Norfolk and Fremont, among others.
“It’s a very fun activity …,” Sharman said. “And we are one of the only communities in Nebraska without a venue for it.”
The City Council seemed satisfied with Sharman’s explanation and didn’t waste any time before approving the applications.
“Best of luck to you,” Mayor Jim Bulkley said.
On its Facebook page, Axe in the Box states it will be “featuring seven lanes with patent pending anti-bounce back mats with projected targeting systems featuring a variety of games to choose from for your enjoyment.”
Councilman J. Prent Roth and City Administrator Tara Vasicek were not in attendance at the meeting. City Clerk Janelle Kline sat in Vasicek’s place.
Columbus City Council meeting are live-streamed on the City’s YouTube page. You can watch it here.
(ABOUT THE PHOTO: Derek T. Sharman addresses the Columbus City Council during its meeting on April 3rd, 2023.)