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Coming in swinging
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Coming in swinging

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The latest entertainment phenomenon, axe throwing, has come swinging into the area. The Axe Room, located at 119 Walker Drive in Farmington, hopes to open its doors by the end of the month.

“The Axe Room is a place where you can get great food, and learn an awesome new skill, all in a totally safe environment,” Owner Joshua Dotson said. “You can even join a World Axe Throwing League (WATL). Tell your boss you want a company league.”

Dotson said axe throwing is fun because almost anyone can do it.

“There are a ton of games to play and it brings people together from all over the world,” Dotson said. "This isn’t a trend, it’s a new constant that is just starting.”

Dotson said he is excited to see how big the WATL gets and would love the honor of hosting ESPN for the WATL games at his facility one day.

“The best part about The Axe Room is that you don’t need any knowledge about it to get started,” Dotson said. “You can book yourself, or your group. We suggest showing up 15 minutes early for your booking and that your first time you take a two-hour session.”

Dotson said they have an "Axe Master" who will show you what to do, explain the rules and show you several games to play.

“They will also point out the wall info on all the neat games,” Dotson said. “We will have fun educational signs all over the place so don't worry if you forget something.”

Dotson said the throwing range is entirely enclosed in a safety chain link cage to protect patrons not inside the axe lanes. He said the entry into the cage is on the side of the far end meaning there is no chance for an axe to find its way out the back to the bar.  

“If an axe came flying back you might jump out of your skin, but you won’t actually get hurt,” Dotson said. “I was concerned and wanted to make my place as safe as possible. Life is very valuable to me.”

All patrons will have to sign a waiver upon entering the building for safety reasons and those under 21 years of age will be allowed to enter with the supervision of someone 21 or older.

Dotson said he tried axe throwing several months ago, loved it and knew he had to bring one to the Farmington area.

“I planned on opening in November of 2019 but I have had a lot of setbacks and delays,” Dotson said. “I am in a great 3,000 square foot location now with three regulation lanes with room to expand to 15 lanes and over 8000 square feet, so I’m super excited.”

League play begins four times a year with the first starting the week of April 5. Leagues are in 19 countries and include more than 6,000 throwers.

The location, however, will have more than axe throwing. Dotson said they plan to have an amazing arcade with poker video games, electronic darts, quarter pushers and other games. He said the business will offer pizza, air fried foods, Pepsi products and spirits.

“We are excited to bring some really nice high quality spirits to the bar such as Pappy Von Winkle Bourbon, and at half the cost,” Dotson said. “We will also have daily lunch specials.”

Dotson, a native to the area, plans to give back to the community by setting up a school lunch fund for the St. Francois County public schools.

“When a customer rents a lane and checks in on social media, we will donate $1 to the fund so that all kids in our county can have a hot lunch,” Dotson said. “I was raised in this community by a single working mother who was trying to put herself through nursing school. I had no clue that things were tight, at times she made macaroni and cheese with Crisco and water."

Dotson said that memory made him think of the kids at school who don't have lunch money.

"They get a cheese sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly, and have to watch all of the other kids eat a regular lunch tray," Dotson said. "I can't imagine how that makes them feel, as a small child you just wonder what you did wrong." 

Dotson said he thinks as a community this is something that can be fixed.

"I feel that it is our responsibility to uplift and take care of our future generation," Dotson said. "That is why I decided to donate. I just want to be able to give back to my community and help to make it better than it already is. I love St. Francois County and I have seen what we can do together as a community."

Though the doors have not officially opened yet, Dotson has big plans for the future and would like to add pickup and dropoff services, expand to 15 lanes and offer a mobile unit.

“I am very excited to bring this new recreation to my hometown of Farmington,” Dotson said. “I hope everyone is as excited as I am.”

The Axe Room located at 119 Walker Drive, Farmington will be open 11 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday and open 24 hours Friday through Sunday.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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