Nestled in the back of The Rustic Renegade, you'll find Lauree Glenn throwing tomahawk axes at The Rustic Range.

Glenn could be seen in any of the four, camo-netted covered lanes throwing long-handled tomahawks over her head at cypress tree stump targets that hang from metal chains. Her children stay behind the yellow rope either sitting at any of the three tables watching their mother throw tomahawks or playing in the grassy area close by.

“It gives me something else to focus on,” said Glenn, a Carencro resident. “It’s like meditation. You’re focusing on your technique, and it’s great for a rainy day.”

Micah Lopez, owner and range master of The Rustic Range that opened in late July at 2842 NE Evangeline Thruway, is always present when people are throwing tomahawks. Lopez is good with direction and teaching, she noted. 

There is a positive atmosphere at the Rustic Range, part of trend of tomahawk-throwing ranges that are surfacing nationwide. It's also family-friendly with four lanes that are enclosed with fencing and pony walls on the sides. so people can safely retrieve their tomahawks while someone in the next lane throws.

The camo netting overhead was put there to catch the tomahawk in case the tomahawk flies high.

“The handles of the tomahawks are long and wooden,” Lopez said. “The long-handled tomahawks prevents the bounce-back inertia from bringing the tomahawk back to you. We are throwing at a perfect distance for a long-handled tomahawk, which puts you a little bit further away than a shorter-handled tomahawk.

“We throw it at a 3D target, so if it does hit, it hits off at an odd direction away from back at you. In the off-chance that it does come back at you, there’s the gravel that slows down the tomahawk.”

Get axed

Ax ranges may be the new gun ranges. They have opened in markets around the country, including the Battle Zone NOLA, which opened last year just outside New Orleans. Described as bowling for vikings, it was the idea of proprietor Scott Reddoch, who heard of an ax-throwing range in Austin, Texas. 

Lopez came up with his concept in December when the owner of The Rustic Renegade bought a camping tomahawk. Lopez then borrowed the tomahawk and began to throw it at two stumps.

“What began as a cool, check-this-out moment inadvertently tapped into my warrior heart and made me feel like the primitive warriors of The Bible found in the Old Testament,” according to The Rustic Range website.

From there, Lopez and his son began to make different targets from putting stumps on old rocking chairs to putting two-by-fours together. He then decided on hanging a tree up by a chain.

“We want to provide an outlet for the people of Acadiana to come to forget about their worries and problems, enjoy a little healthy competition with a friend while learning a cool, primitive skill that’s being lost in time,” Lopez said.

Construction began in April, and three months later customers could enjoy throwing tomahawk axes for $15 per half hour, $25 per hour or through an annual membership for $75.

“More people need to experience this," he said. "It’s so relaxing. It’s such a stress relief. You have problems? They all just melt away and disappear. I’ve yet to see a person walk away from sticking their first tomahawk and not smile.”

It's therapy

Military veterans use The Rustic Range for therapy sessions, Lopez noted. He also wants to start a program where combat veterans come to the range once a week with their therapists.

“They get to have a fun time, number one, so it doesn’t feel like therapy," he said. "Number two, it’s a primitive form of combat. So that kind of resonates with them.”

“Also, if you miss a target and hit that backstop, it’ll make a bang sound. That can sometimes be a trigger noise for a combat vet. Now, the therapist is on hand with them seeing how they respond to that trigger noise first, so that gives the therapist a first-hand view of how they handle that stimuli in that moment. They can talk through it right then and there.”

According to Lopez, with roughly 20 people throwing, people will hear the banging noise about once every 30 seconds due to people missing the target. Lopez said this could help the veterans to desensitize to the noise, and it could lessen the trigger effect.

“For me the why was because I wanted to help people," he said. "The specific part of our society that we owe the most to that gets the least from us is our U.S. veterans. Our military war vets need someplace where they can feel like they belong. It just gives them a place where they can have an activity that speaks to the primal nature of being in combat and to help heal their souls.”

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