Big Timber Axe Throwing is moving to 301 S. Main St. in downtown Rockford. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Big Timber Axe Throwing is moving to downtown, where it will fill the ground floor of Urban Equity Properties’ new luxury apartment development at 301 S. Main St.

Signs were put on the building Thursday saying Big Timber is coming to the site soon. The goal is to open by early summer, the owners of the 4-year-old local business said.

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The move gives Big Timber more space to hold league competitions and private and special events, and it brings the business to an active hub in downtown near the BMO Center and across the river from the UW Health Sports Factory.

“It puts us in the heart of Rockford and what this city is for us,” said Joey Hammack, who owns the business along with his father, Dave, and business partner Kyle Giron. “I grew up going to the MetroCentre – BMO Harris Center – and it’s cool to be right down there. It’s where the life of the city is.”

Big Timber opened Feb. 1, 2020, in the Regency Plaza at 4249 E. State St. across from Peak Fitness. It will continue to operate from there until spring, when it will prepare for the move.

It is filling the 3,200-square-foot ground floor space of Urban Equity’s 33-unit luxury apartment development. Big Timber’s current space is about 1,900 square feet.

Joey Hammack and Kyle Giron, two of the owners of Big Timber Axe Throwing, are pictured on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, at their location on East State Street in Rockford. The company is moving this summer to 301 S. Main St. in downtown. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)

“We’re excited for bigger events and to be able to accommodate bigger parties and hopefully have some more league throwers come and enjoy it,” Hammack said.

Caleb Wilson, executive vice president of leasing and asset management for Urban Equity Properties, said Big Timber adds to the activities available for both residents at 301 S. Main St. and visitors to downtown.

“It adds another key piece for exciting things to do in downtown Rockford,” Wilson said. “We have great restaurants. We have great apartment offerings in downtown. This will add to those amenities for people to do, and it adds to that narrative that people do want to be downtown.”

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The new location will also include a bar and lounge for people to hang out before and after ax throwing. Hammack and Giron said they understand concerns about mixing alcohol and ax throwing, but they plan to limit how much patrons can be served.

“We’re planning on limiting to two drinks during their time throwing, then if they want to they can hang out and have a drink and hang out and watch other people throw or compete in leagues,” Giron said.

The bar and lounge will be open after the ax-throwing side of the businesses closes for customers to stay and socialize.

The future space will feature six ax-throwing lanes that can be rented for hourly sessions or used for league play. It will be open Wednesdays through Sundays.

“It’s a great stress relief. It can be really fun and competitive,” Giron said. “It’s like darts but more exciting.”

Giron said they also hope to get involved in more downtown activities, and they want to embrace the city’s arts scene by having local artists create murals inside the business.

“We’re hoping to be a part of ArtScene in the future and other downtown events, and really get to be more a part of the community because that’s where everything happens,” Giron said.

The 33 apartment units built at 301 S. Main St., which is at the edge of the Water Power District, are 100% occupied.

The building is also next to Ambiance Cuisine Cocktails & Catering and Wood & Brick Tavern, both of which opened last year, and across the intersection from the BMO Center and Minni’s Ice Cream, which opened in October. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Rockford Riverfront Hotel and Rockford Roasting Co. are on the same block.

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Urban Equity is also developing another residential development, the Water Power Lofts, a few blocks away at 700 S. Main St.

“The whole Water Power District concept is really based on hospitality and entertainment,” said Justin Fern, founder and CEO of Urban Equity Properties. “This just fits perfect in that whole Water Power District between the BMO, Embassy Suites, the theaters, the Main Street District, you just have a lot of really cool, fun and exciting things coming up.”

Big Timber has already been a part of downtown events in the past, bringing its mobile ax-throwing cage to events such as Rockford City Market and the IceHogs season kickoff block party.

“We have a blast every time we’re down there,” Hammack said. “We love being down there. You can just tell the atmosphere is alive down there.”

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at or follow him on X at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas and Threads @thekevinhaas

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