New Bern's first axe-throwing venue opens Thursday

New Bern's first axe-throwing venue opens Thursday

NEW BERN — The growing sport of competitive axe-throwing has arrived in New Bern with the addition of Beary The Hatchet Axe Throwing Co. to the downtown district. Beary The Hatchet will open its doors to customers on Thursday.

Husband and wife duo George and Kim Bessey of New Bern decided to launch the business after trying their hand at the pastime, which has seen an exponential increase in popularity over the last three years. In September 2018, NBC News declared axe-throwing “the new league sport,” outpacing games like billiards and bowling.

The Besseys teamed up with business partner Shawn Stengele to bring Beary The Hatchet to life.

“We tried it out on a date night and we were hooked on the experience,” George Bessey said. “There's nothing like the thrill of landing your first axe and the satisfaction of honing your aim with practice. We realized New Bern needed more opportunities for recreation and we wanted to bring this fun, family-friendly sport to our hometown so we could share the excitement with our neighbors.”

In addition to membership in the New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce, Beary The Hatchet is affiliated with the World Axe-Throwing League and will have WATL-sanctioned league competition.

Beary The Hatchet is equipped with six axe-throwing lanes, each with two 24-inch WATL regulation targets. In an homage to North Carolina's colonial capital, each lane is named for a New Bern street.

The spelling of “Beary” is also a local reference. Founded in 1710 by Swiss immigrants, the city is named for Bern, Switzerland. Bern is the Swiss word for bear, and the animal serves as a civic and cultural mascot in New Bern.

Hour-long sessions are available for $20 per person, with a 15 percent discount for veterans, active-duty military, first responders, teachers and nurses who present valid ID.

A Beary The Hatchet “AXEpert” will provide a brief safety and coaching session at the beginning of guests' time slot. No open-toed shoes are permitted, but rentals from Coastal Sole are available on-site for guests who arrive without closed-toed shoes.

Children ages 10 and up can participate in the sport with parents or guardians present. Lanes are limited to adults 18 and up after 9 p.m. Reservations are available and walk-ins are welcome on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Beary The Hatchet offers a variety of soda, bottled water, canned beer and cider along with snacks. Hats, T- shirts and other commemorative merchandise will be available for purchase.

The business is at 417-B South Front St., beside the New Bern Farmers Market. For more information on Beary The Hatchet, call 252-634-2933.

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