Ax Throwing Sites Hosting National Meets

JERSEYVILLE — The first three-day Riverbend Ax Throwing Open: World Ax Throwing League (WATL) Tier 5 tournament begins Friday at the venue’s new location.

Riverbend Ax Throwing opened its first site at 205 Eastgate Plaza in East Alton in 2019. It opened its second site on March 5 at 806 Tri Point Lane, Jerseyville, where the new site will be the first to host the tournament’s first event .

The public is invited to watch the tournament and see what professional throwing is all about, said co-owner Dan Brynildsen, currently ranked No. 7 out of 30 world ax throwing champions.

The Riverbend Open: Tier 5 Tournament is an official tournament of the WATL and the World Knife Throwing League (WKTL). WATL is the world governing body for urban ax throwing founded in 2017 by representatives from the United States, Canada, Brazil and Ireland. It represents 19 ax throwing countries and more than 130 member companies.

“We’ll have competitors from all over the country, including 2021 world champion from Akron, Ohio, Mikel Philabaum, as well as 10 of the top 30 pitchers in the world, including myself,” Brynildsen said. “It’s a very competitive tournament. If people want to come out and see what the best of the best looks like, this is a good opportunity for that. with over 100 pitchers.”

The WATL season started a few weeks ago, so the rankings change every week, with the league week running from Sunday to Saturday. By participating in the Riverbend Ax Throwing leagues, throwers can qualify for tournaments like the Riverbend Open, a major national event. The league is international with members from all over the world compared to a global ranking.

Spectators can watch the events for free. There will be no public throws at the location where a tournament is taking place, there will be public throws at the opposite location of Riverbend Ax Throwing, which will operate during normal business hours.

The first event, the Big Ax Tournament, begins at 5 p.m. Friday at the Jerseyville venue. The Standard Ax Tournament begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the East Alton venue, along with the Knife Throwing Tournament which will begin around 7 p.m. when the Standard Hatchet event concludes. A dueling tag team tournament begins at 10 a.m. Sunday, also at the East Alton venue.

“We plan to have Friday night food trucks in Jerseyville, and there are several restaurants in our East Alton plaza,” Brynildsen said. “We have bars in both locations; outside drinks will not be allowed inside.”

The time for spectators to watch Saturday’s Standard Hatchet tournament final in East Alton is from 5-7pm. Sunday’s Duals team tournament will conclude between 2-3 p.m.

A cash prize of over $5,000 will be awarded at each WATL event, along with WATL circuit points, and knife throwers will receive 60% of the knife entry fee that goes to the prize pool and will also receive points circuit WKTL.

“Many competitors will be participating in all events, but each is its own tournament and each has its own prizes and trophies,” noted Brynildsen, who will also be participating.

“I’ve always had a competitive side, I’ve been an athlete all my life,” he said. “But as adults, we’re moving away from competitive athletics. It’s an avenue to get back into a competitive arena and something to focus on.”

Brynildsen, owner of Riverbend Ax Throwing with his wife, Erika, also finds benefits in simply owning the business, but not just financially.

“We’ve made a lot of connections in the community and had the ability to give back a bit over the past two years, and that’s a big part of owning the business,” he said.

Hatchet throwers will receive 40% of the $5,000 pot for the top six; big ax will receive 30% of the pot to the first six; and duels will receive 30% of the pot to the top three teams.

Entry fees for each event vary and can be viewed at Due to WATL bracketing/seeding requirements and logistical issues, entry is limited to 128 hatchet throwers, 96 big axes, 64 dueling teams and 50 knife throwers.

Regular public launch times are 5-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 5-12 midnight Thursday, 12-12 midnight Saturday, and 2-8 p.m. Sunday at the East Alton location . With the exception of being closed for public launch on Wednesday, the public launch times for the Jerseyville location are the same.

Outside of regular Riverbend Ax Throwing hours, it accepts reservations by appointment for corporate meetings and private events for any group larger than six people. Groups should contact in advance and Riverbend Ax Throwing will coordinate their event.

Riverbend Ax Throwing is designed as a sports bar, with a full selection of wines, craft beers, spritzers, malts and soft drinks. All ages are welcome, but for ax throwing it is recommended that children 9 years and older be accompanied by an adult.

The ax throwing destination has mounted TV screens for watching great games, a pool table, free fresh popcorn, high tables and plenty of space for parties of all kinds, including a semi -designated private. Safety is covered not only by its “Axe-perts”, but also by rules and an axe-throwing waiver.

“Safety is our No. 1 priority,” Brynildsen said. “Our ‘axe-perts’ go through the safety instructions, teach you how to throw. No prior experience is necessary. I would venture to say that in 10 shots or less, I can help you hold it.”

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