Johnson County could always use a new business with a family-friendly atmosphere. That family fun, however, comes with throwing axes.
Johnson County Axe Throwing opened in September of 2019, making it one of the youngest businesses on the Southside. Mr. Chris Engel is the owner and operator of JCAT.
From the moment we entered, it was clear what kind of place JCAT was. The benches were made out of unfinished wood, and the targets were plain, save for the growing scars from every successive hatchet swing. The snaps of edge against cotton wood mixed in with the National Playoffs playing in the background, and we smiled, knowing we would not want to leave anytime soon.
After a quick lesson from the owner, Chris Engel, Avraham stuck the shot just above the bullseye. Eric, turned the heads of the other patrons when he completely missed the target and hit the wall with a loud bang.
To Eric and I, the mechanics were simple in theory and incredibly satisfying in practice. After a few tosses, both of us seemed to get the technique down. Stance was half the battle, but if we wanted to sink the hatchet solidly into the target, I had to throw with power and confidence.
Two reporters from Woodmen AM, sophomore Jenna Armstrong and sophomore Anna Pritchett were already there setting up for their segment for the announcements. Avraham and I, ended up competing with them in an axe throwing match. The newspaper narrowly secured a victory.
What surprised Eric and I the most was how enjoyable the whole experience was compared to the simple setting. With other facilities hosting live music and installing bars, JCAT keeps its atmosphere simple, putting an emphasis on how radically engaging their activity is. I was not bombarded with music or advertisements; I was absorbed with the company of my friends and every thunk of an axe.
People would assume running a business where the major selling point involves chopping up wood, would be expensive. The planks used for the targets seldom need changed, but when they do, Mr. Engel calls up his supplier from Iowa, who sends cotton wood, a cheap and soft material often considered better for throwing away than for building. JCAT puts the material to good use, though.
As for the cost for students, JCAT costs $20 per person for an hour, and $30 for two hours. This pricing is efficient for both large parties and smaller hang-outs, and an hour is plenty of time to satisfy anyone’s axe-throwing needs. JCAT is located in Whiteland off of US 31, and with a swift 6-minute travel time from GHS, it is a prime after-school activity.
By the end of the night we were left with a feeling of satisfaction. We knew we would be definitely coming back.