Axes, hatchets and knives hurled in Sterling competition

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From fireman axes to hatchets, a lot of steel was flying through the air in Sterling, Virginia, this weekend.

Throwing club “Axes and Ohs” hosted the Capitol City Classic, an official tournament for the World Axe Throwing League, which includes the targeted hurling of axes, hatchets and knives. The WATL is the largest professional association for axe throwing in the world, according to their website.

Organizers said hundreds of throwers from all over the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere showed up to compete in this weekend’s event. Finals for all four categories (Duals, Big Axe, and Hatchet) were all held Sunday afternoon.

David Kline of Chantilly said, although the sport may seem wild, there is some discipline that is essential.

“They aren’t chopping trees … It is all about sinking that blade into a wooden bullseye,” Kline said. “It’s similar to darts, so you’re really not competing against the person next to you — you’re competing against yourself and that board.”

Winners for this weekend’s tournament will split up to $10,000 in cash prizes.

Brian Kraemer of Sterling says, in addition to enjoying the challenge, axe throwing helps him to relax.

“It’s a stress reliever … throwing axes,” Kraemer said. “It releases serotonin, makes you happy. It’s very therapeutic in a way.”

The finals were streamed live on YouTube Sunday afternoon.

For D.C. based thrower Ron Hannigan, the fact the sport is accessible to everyone is what drew him in.

“I love the camaraderie, I love the competition, that the sport is accessible to anyone — young, old, male, female — it doesn’t matter.”

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