Toronto, and Canada as a whole, will be well represented at the upcoming World Axe Throwing Championship in Tucson, Arizona.
Out of the total 64 competitors in the tournament, nine of them are from the great white north and two of them are from Toronto. Among the competitors is 44-year-old Jon Miller, who only took up the sport five years ago.
“It was an axe throwing venue and we had a birthday party,” he recalled.
“So we were just there to have fun and throw axes and there was just something about it that clicked. It’s like archery, just hitting that bull’s-eye for the first time … and the instructor was like, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good at this, you should think about joining one of our leagues,’ so I did.”
Since then, Miller said he has started a training regimen that sees him tossing axes and working on his mental calmness and hand-eye coordination “two to four days a week.”
Miller clinched a spot in the World Championship when he won the Bad Axe Spring League Toronto playoffs earlier this year. Now he’ll find himself competing for a $15,000 prize. The whole event to be broadcast across the US on ESPN.
“This is one of the big ones,” Miller said while reflecting on the competition.
“There are major events throughout the year.”
In his short career, Miller has seen the game he loves evolve to a growing sport from just a fun “thing to do” at birthdays and team-building parties. Despite the fierce competition though, he said there is no bad blood, no divas, and no ugly rivalries.
“I’ve met so many interesting characters and a lot of them I call friends now,” he said.
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“I don’t think I would’ve met any of these people without axe throwing.”
As a testament to that camaraderie, Miller said he wishes them all well.
“My training for the world championship … was with my peers and my friends,” he said.
“They push [me] to do better. And if I don’t win, I hope they do.”
The World Axe Throwing Championship begins on Saturday.