Bangs, clangs and cheers filled the air as The Wood Shed celebrated its first year of business Thursday night.
Offering free axe throwing, and slices of birthday cake, many people from Sylvan Lake and the surrounding area came out to take in the new activity.
Keri Pratt, owner of The Wood Shed, said she wasn’t sure what to expect from the night of free axe throwing, but is happy to share the anniversary with the town.
“It is crazy to think how well this has been accepted here,” Pratt said.
Opening The Wood Shed was inspired by the lumberjack games Pratt’s husband took part in while studying at NAIT in Edmonton. While living out east, they noticed axe throwing was fairly popular.
The couple thought axe throwing could be a possibility in Alberta as well.
Little did they know, in the first year they would see over 3,000 new customers, not including all the repeats.
“That is just the people who signed the waiver the first time they come in,” Pratt explained. “But it’s really exciting to see that number of new guests.”
From the new participants, Pratt says many come back again and again.
Prat says a lot of guests are introduced to The Wood Shed through corporate events and team building.
“We get a lot of people who come back after corporate events and things like that,” said Pratt.
There have also been a large number of guests who have come in from all over Alberta, and even some from Saskatchewan, to give axe throwing a try.
What has shocked Pratt is how well the community has taken to the new sport. The Wood Shed now runs a league that is part of the World Axe Throwing League.
This past spring a local league was run. Starting this fall The Wood Shed has joined the WATL.
Pratt says axe throwing, and the league, is a fun activity to try and a great way to meet with new people.
“The best part is seeing someone hit the target for the first time. They are so excited and, just energized I guess,” she said.
Pratt hopes the people of Sylvan Lake, and the surrounding communities, think of axe throwing as a fun alternative activity, especially when one isn’t sure how to spend the night.
The Wood Shed has even been nominated for two business awards by the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce. The business was nominated for New Business of the Year and the Visitor Friendly Award.
Pratt says it is all because of her great staff.
“They are very welcoming and know Sylvan Lake really well, so they can tell guests where to stay or get a great bite to eat,” she said.
After a year of business, Pratt hopes to continue spreading the word of axe throwing, and expand a bit.
She would like to see more people come out to try the sport, because almost all who do are surprised by how much they enjoy it.
“We even made it to the Canada 150 ParticipACTION list,” Pratt said of axe throwing.
The Wood Shed has three walk-in sessions each week. Walk-ins are available Thursday and Fridays from 6-9 p.m. as well as Saturdays from 2-8 p.m.
Group events, with a minimum of six people, can be booked Monday to Saturday by contacting The Wood Shed.