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World's best take aim in Micksburg

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer


LAURENTIAN VALLEY - Knife and tomahawk throwers from across Canada and the U.S. gathered in Micksburg over the weekend to demonstrate their skill, precision and keen eyesight.

For the fourth year in a row, the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame (IKTHOF) World Pro Am Knife and Tomahawk Championships was hosted at Ward Wright's farm. Despite the sometimes chaotic weather, 55 competitors embraced the opportunity to promote this vastly growing sport.

Founded in 2008, the IKTHOF not only maintains world rankings but sets the rules for professional knife and tomahawk throwing around the world. The hall honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to knife and tomahawk throwing, knife making and education of the public in support of knife throwing but goes a long way to shine the spotlight on this discipline.

“There are some good throwers here,” said Wright, executive director of the IKTHOF and a world champion, who was impressed with the level of competition during the two-day tournament. “Some of the best in the world. This is really catching on.”

The competition consists of a series of straight throws aimed at a set of standard wooden targets. Similar to an archery target, competition knife throwing targets have a bull's-eye surrounded by three rings. A sticking knife scores points. The thrower must be standing at least a set distance away from the target with distances increasing to challenge the competitor. Knife throwing involves the same basic principles of mechanics. The objective in each case is for the point to stick into the target with a sufficient amount of force. For this to be successful, accuracy, distance, number of rotations and placement of the body all must be taken into account.

“There is some satisfaction when the knife sticks,” added Wright. “It's not easy to do. Guys who practice get good at it and then they get addicted.”

Competitors use their own equipment, with knives ranging in length between 12 and 16 inches. Tomahawks have handles 13 inches or longer. They will be given 60 knives which they will throw in 15 lanes with points accumulated at the end. Some of the throwers here got into the sport to support a family member. Chris O'Brien only began throwing last year after driving her husband, Paul “Big Mac” Maccarone, to his competitions. Last year, Maccarone set a new world record for long distance knife at 73 feet. He is also a two-time world champion in fast draw.

“We're a family that's throwing together and we have some common interests in that way,” said O'Brien, who hails from Ithaca, New York.

World champion Mike “Alamo” Bainton once more appeared at the event. Bainton is recognized as the most prolific Knife and Hawk thrower in the history of the sport, winning more documented world titles and first place wins than anyone in the history of knife throwing. Competing in Micksburg this year were Melody and TJ Cuenca, the world’s highest ranked knife throwing couple. Melody Cuenca is currently ranked the number one adult female knife thrower in the world with 11 titles to her credit. The couple run their own knifethrowing range back in Las Vegas and have just hosted the U.S. nationals. TJ Cuenca said there is no great secret to knifethrowing except to practice it a lot.

“It's simple to learn but not easy to get,” “Once your eye/hand co-ordination gets there, it's a very satisfying feeling when you hear that 'thunk' sound after the knife hits the target.”

In the Pro Knife class, the world's current top-scorer, Richard Wesson, claimed first place with 264 points. Joshua Sebo won the Am Hawk class with 151 points, while Pete Baldwin captured the Pro Hawk class with 233 points. Neil Kehler won the No Spin class, while Brett Dewhirst claimed the Am Knife class with 217 points.


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