Flannel Jax, an indoor axe throwing and lumberjack experience center, opened in Arvada at 88th and Wadsworth in December.
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Billing itself as “extreme, social and fun” the venue gives participants — or “swingers” as the company calls them — the opportunity to compete against one another and hurl an axe at a target for points. Think darts, but with a three pound hatchet.
While axe throwing venues and target sports like knife throwing are gaining momentum in Colorado and nation wide, the Arvada location marks the first Flannel Jax franchise in Colorado. There are currently six throughout the United States.
Sabash Bahuguna owns the Flannel Jax in Arvada. A native of India, the Arvada resident was seeking a profitable and sustainable franchise opportunity in 2019. The the pandemic, construction and supply chain issues hampered opening, but the growth in the indoor sport industry felt too compelling. Despite setbacks, Bahuguna officially opened his facility in December 2021.
After filling out waivers and a briefing on rules and safety protocols, participants are assigned a lane — a la bowling — with two targets against a backboard and a foul line. Lane attendants guide the group through their experience, and offer scorekeeping and throwing tips.
On a recent Saturday night, Flannel Jax was bustling. Four groups spread out over seven lanes, and cheers, laughter and fist bumps punctuated the thuds of the axes hitting the pine and cottonwood backboards.
John Trimm, an Arvada native, was celebrating his 58th birthday with his wife and two other couples.
“I can still get the axe all the way to the wall,” he said, beaming after landing his axe squarely on the target.
“We just loaded up on Advil before we came,” joked friend Bridget Hart.
Dressed to impress, the group all wore flannel shirts.
Although Bahuguna owned a few flannel shirts before buying the franchise, throwing an axe was not something he’d done before, and he emphasized that’s in part what makes Flannel Jax an easy draw for anyone, regardless of how rugged or outdoorsy or athletic they think they are.
“Apart from bowling or bars or being outside, there isn’t a lot of fun things to do in this area,” Bahuguna said.
Mike Worth is the manager, and admits he had never thrown an axe before accepting the position. Demonstrating the different throwing techniques, the sports management grad hits the bullseye on his first throw.
Although Bahuguna has only been in the United States for ten years, he feels connected to Arvada as a resident, and opening a business where friends and family can have fun together and in his home town already feels like an achievement.
“America is the land of dreams,” he said. “One of the greatest things is how everyone in here has been so welcoming and supportive. I call Arvada home now.”
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