The team at the Wood Shed have put Sylvan Lake on the map again, this time with new technology in the sport of axe throwing. Sylvan Lake’s Wood Shed is the first axe throwing venue in Canada to have computerized, projected targets. Keri Pratt, co-owner of the Wood Shed, said during the facility’s shutdown due to DOVID-19 she began to think of new ways to set the business a part. The projected targets were purchased from a U.S company, and come with three games preloaded, and more to come.
“It allows for the guests to be a little more interactive. We had a bunch of games we could play with the old set up… this way they can change games whenever,” Pratt said. The three games set up to play include tic-tac-toe, a zombie hunting game and a more traditional target practise, where the bullseye moves after each round. “Teenage boys especially love the zombie game. They think it’s so cool to aim for the zombies.”
Currently there are four lanes set up with the new projector targets. The final four lanes will also be converted to the new system. Switching to the new system also gave the local business the chance to switch the targets to end grain boards. While the projector systems are expensive, Pratt says the switch to end grain is more economical as they last much longer.
End grain targets, the more traditional target, last roughly 500 hours of axe throwing. Meanwhile the old boards only lasted about three hours. “They are much easier to hit as well. Because there is no grain, you don’t have to hit the board in any specific way, and you don’t need as much force behind your throw,” said Pratt. “We have kids as young as 10 in here throwing axes and they love it, and are finding the end grain much easier.” The updates to the facility also make it quieter and safer. New mats surrounding the targets absorb the sounds of the axes hitting against the target, as well as dropping them instead of bouncing back on an off hit.
“This also makes us the safest axe throwing venue in Canada,” said Pratt. This is not the first time Pratt and the Wood Shed has been the trailblazer for the industry. The Wood Shed was the first axe throwing facility in Central Alberta. The facility was also the first to have axe throwing league and then the first again when the team started a youth league.
“In business I think you have to be innovative and think of new ideas to set yourself a part from the others. Someone always has to be the trendsetter,” she said.