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Throw and Tell: Speed ​​Dating with Axes – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Cascadia Ax Co. combines sharp instruments and speed dating to show people a good time

Dakoda Dorsaneo tasks Matthew Wooton of White City with throwing a two-handed ax before speed dating at the Cascadia Ax Company off Crater Lake Highway in Central Point Thursday evening. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Dakoda Dorsaneo gives advice to Chris Jasinski of Medford and Vaya Potter of Jacksonville on how to throw an ax one-handed during a speed dating event at Cascadia Ax Company. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Vaya Potter of Jacksonville throws an ax during a speed dating event at Cascadia Ax Company on Thursday. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

To the casual observer, it looked like the nearly three dozen single people in the Cascadia Ax Company Thursday night were throwing axes, drinking cold drinks and enjoying a few laughs.

But a closer look revealed an array of colorful bracelets that denoted their true intentions: some looking for love, others just for fun or friendship. Others were undecided.

A new twist on dating, Cascadia Ax Company’s “Throw and Tell” combines fast-paced dating with sharp instruments.

Ax throwing while meeting new people, explained Bird Durant, co-owner of the region’s only ax throwing joint, could be the best new way to find love or just have a little fun.

What better way to meet other “single and ready to mingle” people than at a meetup with sharp objects and cold drinks?

Durant and her husband, Kyle, opened Cascadia in February 2020, six weeks before the COVID closures forced them to get “super creative” to ensure reopening and even some growth over the past two-plus years.

Embracing the current (knock on wood) trend of unmasked faces, the Durants debuted “Throw and Tell” in May, garnering an instant following.

“There weren’t a lot of ways to go out and meet people, so this is like a structured activity, but it’s a fun thing to do. It’s good for someone who maybe thinks, ‘I really like throwing axes, maybe I’ll find with someone here who is interested in it. The need for individual events was a big push. This is our fifth event since May,” he said.

“It would be a fun thing for the summer, but we’ve had requests to keep it on our regular schedule. Even if you’re not looking for romance, maybe you just want to get out of the house and make friends. We use a system of “traffic light” to show interest level, and we’re LGBTQ-friendly, so there’s a second wristband color: blue if you’re interested in boys, pink for girls, and orange for them. D “That way there’s no awkwardness like, ‘Oh, I was in love with this guy, but he’s not into women.'”

Lizzey Stephenson, 25, of Medford, was firmly “looking” for a few good laughs and suitable pitching partners of any description Thursday. Stephenson boasted four bracelets; blue, pink, red and green. Meeting the newcomers, Stephenson shared stories and sipped on a cold drink as he waited for the speed rounds to begin.

“This is my second time speed dating, and it’s great. I made two friends last time, and the people who work here are so much fun,” she said.

“I’ve noticed that if I talk to someone, I throw better, so if you don’t get anything else out of it, there’s that. I was a little scared the first time I went in, but I had a couple of drinks and then I was like, “Hey! This is great!” It’s a lot of fun and we got to talk to a lot of people.”

Stephenson added: “When I shoot, I like to imagine the old bosses, the exes work really well, the co-workers you hate…”.

Cascadia employee Dakoda Dorsaneo, aka Radnar, gave the newcomers a quick orientation on launch safety.

“It’s been a lot of fun and it’s getting bigger and bigger. This area is so sparse for fun events. We added black lights on the weekends, the knife throwing just started,” said Dorsaneo. To facilitate the five-minute meet and greet between participants, participants are assigned a “1” or a “2” .

“After five minutes, one stays and one moves. In the end, we’ll let them find someone they haven’t been able to talk to yet,” he added. “If you don’t make a match, you learn a fun new skill and you can come back and try again.”

One newcomer, Medford resident Chris Jasinski, 36, said he was intrigued by the combination of axles and meeting new people.

“This is my first time. It looks like an interesting way to do it all,” he admitted.

“I’ve never speed-dated and I’ve never done ax throwing. I was looking forward to coming here, and then I heard about the speed dating opportunity, so I had to give it a try. I have my green bracelet, I’m single. The pink bracelet is because I’m looking for a friend. I’m open to anything, I thought I’d just see how it goes.”

Stephanie Rehder of Medford registered for the event, even though she had been ax throwing in Cascadia before.

“I’m excited for this event because there aren’t a lot of dating opportunities out there. Meeting people in the wild is hard to do in Southern Oregon. I hear they have, depending on the number I hit with the ax, questions to ask- se, so it helps create fun conversations,” the 38-year-old said.

The questions, Durant explained, were a fun addition to spark conversations and save participants from the awkward “where are you from?” corny conversations or pick up lines.

Another first-time pitcher, 42-year-old Jacksonville resident Vaya Potter had rookie luck and admitted to a competitive streak.

“I just want to have some fun. My co-worker comes here and she’s in a league, and she told me about it. I’ve been on Tinder for a couple of weeks, so I asked a few people, ‘Hey , do you want to go throw axes?’But no one seemed to want to. I’m kind of competitive, so I think that’s cool,” Potter said.

Bracelet colors aside, Potter said he was looking for intelligence, talent, maybe athleticism and a decent derriere to look at.

“It’s fun to try something I haven’t done before, and if there was an amazing man here, with a nice booty, that would be great. I have no expectations either way.”

At the end of the night, Durant said she and staffers would manually review the checklists of names. Attendees check a box next to ‘swipe left’ or ‘swipe right’. If any two pitchers “swipe right” together, she’ll text them each other’s digits and let them do the rest.

“It’s basically like a manual version of Tinder,” he said with a laugh.

Durant was pleased with the packed crowd at Cascadia on Thursday. He said he sent 24 “potential match” text messages after the event.

“The first time we hosted this, it was a little awkward. The second time, less so,” he said.

“Since the third time, we’ve hit our stride and it’s been a full house ever since. Ax throwing and speed dating, what’s not to love?”

Throw and Tell dates are announced on the Cascadia Ax Company website and on Facebook, and

For more information, call 541-203-0246

Contact Mail Tribune reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal


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