For the past week, the town of Friendship, Indiana has seen a unique group of competitors, all facing off in a challenge of skill and strength unlike any other. The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s tomahawk throwing competition has been in full swing in Friendship, and WFPL‘s Gabe Bullard was there.
The tomahawk competition started last week, and the winners will be tabulated and announced on Sunday. Twice a year, the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA) holds meetings in Friendship, and members can participate in several dozen different shooting competitions. But on another hillside, NMLRA members dressed in pioneer garb demonstrate the proper technique for throwing a tomahawk.
“It’s just like throwing a baseball — you don’t put any English on it,” says Eric Bye, editor of Muzzleblasts, the NMLRA’s magazine. “You just bring it back and let go at the right moment and then you’ll hit the target.”
This “target” is a card with three dots on it, stapled to a disc of a tree trunk standing on a tripod. Anyone who wishes to participate in the tomahawk throwing competition can enter as many times as they want for $1.25 per try, with the highest score winning all the marbles. Another level of competition requires all participants to wear period costumes and make ten throws with no second tries.
“We’re just trying to make it fairly easy to compete so [anyone] can come up and do it often and have plenty of fun,” says Bye.