Group entertainment started with bowling in the 1950s, and then came putt-putt in the 1960s, eventually moving on to go-carts in the 1970s. Next came paint ball, followed by laser tag, and escape rooms. But the newest entertainment craze is throwing an axe at a target. Yep, one of the staples of ye ole Renaissance Festival has become mainstream, and picked up by a young local entrepreneur.
Jared Dauenhauer and partners Donnie Noland and Matt Chasteen began Escape Point in 2017, but Noland left in 2018 to pursue other interests, and Chasteen left two months ago. Now partnering with the owners of Locked Escape Game and Murfreesboro Escape Game, Dauenhauer has created Murfreesboro Axe. It will be an addition to a newly revised escape game format at Escape Point.
“Axe Throwing is a new fad that a lot of Escape Room owners are getting into,” said Dauenhauer. “My partners and I have done a lot of research by going to facilities in Nashville and in Atlanta to see how we want to set up our facility. We have also thrown a lot of axes to find the right one.”
Adding axe throwing to his selection of activities was easy according to Dauenhauer, as he had the free space at his current facility. All he has had to do is put up plywood on the walls, and chain link fencing for safety.
“It plays kind of like bowing in that there are lanes and one person throws one axe at a time,” said Dauenhauer. “It is also like being in an escape room in that you will have an axe master coaching the entire time you are throwing. This person will teach techniques and safety. We found it is a lot more enjoyable with a coach, than just being given an axe and being told to ‘go nuts.’”
There will be five lanes and sessions run for one hour. In that hour, anyone new to the activity will feel pretty confident, and have a few ‘wins.’ There are a number of techniques they will be able to try as they aim for a large target that looks somewhat like a big dart board. Some of the rules are also borrowed from archery, like the distance from the target.
“We will offer several game types,” said Dauenhauer. “These include accuracy, points, and ‘King of the Hill.’ Participants will also learn different types of throws, use different types of axes, and be able to change distance.”
Weekends will be their big time for families with children 13 and older, during the week they will offer leagues, and they will also be open for parties and corporate events.
“There are already two different leagues which we are going to join,” said Dauenhauer. “We will play by their rules.”
Axe throwing hit the major cities about two years ago, and came to Nashville about a year ago. Always keeping his ear to the ground about new forms of entertainment, Dauenhauer started to look into it then. He is just waiting for the installation of his safety fencing to open up the new facility. He hopes to have it going by August.
To keep things current, Dauenhauer will also be revamping his escape games to make them more family-friendly. The new format will be point-based and be more about how well you do versus escaping.
“My partners and I want to show that you don’t need to go to Nashville to have fun,” added Dauenhauer. “Murfreesboro offers lots of fun things to do like putt-putt, laser tag, paintball, and escape rooms. All the old things are still hot, but we are just adding something cutting edge – axe throwing.”
855 W College Street, Murfreesboro
Hours: Monday-Thursday 5pm to 9:30pm, Friday 5pm to 11pm, Saturday 1pm to 11pm and Sunday 1pm to 8pm