Get to know Jason Gomez, who opened the first axe-throwing complex, Tilted Axes.
Photo by: Amy Tucker
Interview by: Dan Mathers
Why is axe throwing so popular? It’s the new bowling. People can go out and do it while eating, drinking and hanging with friends. Plus, it’s for just about any age — it’s 14 to 80.
And why did you decide to open in West Chester? My wife and I went out in West Chester for drinks and dinner, and we loved it, but I was amazed by the lack of things to do while being out. By the end of the night, you spent a lot of money, you had a few laughs, but you didn’t really do anything. I thought this town could use something to do.
Are you from the area? I grew up in Downingtown but ended up down in Houston. My mom was living there, and I went to visit her one time and ended up not leaving. I was there for seven years before Hurricane Harvey put four and a half feet of water in our house. My dad is a retired State Trooper—he actually took three bullets and then continued working (and in his honor, all police officers are free here). He lives in Downingtown, and my grandfather lived at the corner of Gay and Bradford for 60 years, so we thought this would be a good place.
What we was your introduction to axe throwing? We went and did it in Montgomery County and had a blast, but after two hours, it was done, and we all had to go home and there was nothing else to do.
Is that not the case at Tilted Axes? When we opened here, I wanted to make sure there was a lot to do, so it could be a place to hangout. You get your standard, two-hour axe-throwing session, but before and after that, we have three pool tables, two dart machines, a punching bag machine, Golden Tee, Big Buck Hunter, and an old school game console with a bunch of games on it. Plus, we have three 60-inch TVs with all the sports.
That’s a lot going on. Yeah, and it’s BYOB, plus we’re going to be having food trucks coming through, and we’ve linked up with Levante. The idea was to offer something people could have a great time doing and not have to save up to do. A two-hour session is only $38.99.
What do you get with the session? Well, you get axe throwing, but you also get an axe coach for each lane who will run you through games, keep score, and we have trophies to compete for. Plus, a lot of the lane coaches also work as comedians in the city, so it’s really a great time.
Does anybody get really competitive about it? Oh yeah. We have leagues starting next month. We’re affiliated with the World Axe-Throwing League, which was recently picked up ESPN. If you win one of our eight-week leagues, you come back for the tournament that will be aired on ESPN. From there the winner goes to the US Open, then the World Championships.
Sounds intense. But it’s also good family fun. When my wife Angela isn’t working at the hospital, she’s here and so are my four daughters, Destiny, Skye, Chaise Lily-ana and Rowynn—everybody loves it.