Know Before You Axe Throw: Man of the Cliff Pro-Tips

By: Anna Kenyon

Two weeks after the 9th Annual Man of the Cliff benefitting First Descents, we can’t help but wish we were back in Avon throwing axes, drinking Bonfire Brews, and celebrating the rough and tough side of our loving First Descents family.

Man of the Cliff 2017 was a landmark year, surpassing $100,000 in net revenue over the nine year history of this beloved event.  Thanks to our generous sponsors, dedicated competitors, and spirited spectators, in 2017 alone we raised over $35,000 to support young adults impacted by cancer.  This year’s winners were truly Out Living It like never before, with epic heaves, hurls, and hoo-rahs.  Matthew “Leonidas” Langhorst took home the prized Stihl chainsaw for the men, while Anne “Valkry” Westcott won the chainsaw for the lumberjills.  Need we even mention the Masters champion?  Back for another year, “Wild Bill” Welch walked away with another victory.

For those of you who attended this year’s incredible event, we thank you for your continued support and advise you to get a head start on training for the 10th Annual event which will be the biggest and best yet!  If you were unable to attend this year, then here’s a few All Star MOTC pro-tips for when you join us next year.

2018 Pro Tips: Know Before you Axe-Throw

Let’s face it: signing up for a weekend of axe throwing, speed chopping, and keg tossing can be a bit intimidating.  But we’re here to tell you the secret sauce that is sure to make 2018 Man of the Cliff your best yet!  Read on, young grasshoppers…

Finesse > Force.


It ain’t all about the beef, it’s also about the beauty.   Man of the Cliff co-founder Adam Williams offered a few pro tips from up in the booth.  “Axe throwing distances are calibrated for finesse.  If you try to throw too hard, the axe will over rotate and won’t stick.”  He also advised, “Don’t roundhouse swing on speed chop and set up your logs so you can hit them all without moving your feet much if at all.  Be careful not to swing through too hard or you’ll bury the head in the log below.”  Subtlety = success, folks.


Fashion matters.  Even to lumber-folk.


You may think that you can just roll out of bed in your flannel PJ’s and saunter over to Nottingham Lake, but it turns out that fashion matters.  Ashley “Rainier” Moskwa can attest to this.  “Biggest advice?  Do not, I repeat DO NOT, wear skinny jeans.  You risk ripping them in the keg toss.”  (Not that she would know or anything…)


Jennifer Rose of locally owned and operated Bighorn Toyota, a beloved multi-year Man of the Cliff sponsor, chimed in with some sage advise as well: “Competitors have fun, and spectators be ready for changing weather!”  Alternatively, if you’d rather go with a less-is-more approach on the layer game, 2017 spectator Erin Platt advises “Start strength training early.  It’ll take your game to the next level AND the extra muscle layer will act as some au naturále insulation for the cold mornings.”


When In Doubt, Stick to the 3 B’s: Beards, Beers and… Beards.

If you’re feeling nervous, there’s no more intimidating look than simply stroking your beard, sipping your Bonfire brew, and then…stroking your beard again.  Pretty soon you’ll begin to notice people around you staring and whispering, “Woah…check out his beard.  He must be tough.” “Have you seen the beard on that chick?  I heard she can throw a keg with one hand.”  2016 woman of the cliff, Julie “Fruit Boots” Kinamore knows the drill.  Her advice? “Chill out and enjoy a beer before competition starts. It relaxes you!”  She added, “Not sure if that tip is professional…but I do it!”  2017 Men’s MOTC winner Matthew “Leonidas” Langhorst echoed Fruit Boots’ sage wisdom, chiming in that “advanced preparation is what we like to call “non-existent” due to work and kids, but you have to fit in a few Bonfire brews the months prior.”


Simplicity is the key to the Keg Toss.

If you joined us this year, then you no doubt can attest to the one indisputable truth of MOTC: Leonidas knows how to toss a freakin’ keg.  The secret sauce?   “Throw it higher than the next guy and remember to not let it hit you on the head on the way down.”  There you have it, folks.


It’s all about Out Living It.

At the end of the day, if you don’t walk away with a chainsaw or a double-edged axe, don’t be too hard on yourself.  After all, it’s not a competition to out-muscle your fellow FDers, but rather an opportunity to have an adventure together, raising funds and awareness for young adults impacted by cancer.  Whether you register for the first time, toss the keg a foot higher than last year, or just come to break out the overalls you secretly love, Out Living It at MOTC isn’t just about winning – it’s about getting excited for adventures big and small with your FD lumberfamily!

Thanks again to our incredible presenting sponsors, Bonfire Brewing, for another great weekend.  Additional thanks to the Town of Avon for another year of sponsorship and hosting Man of the Cliff at the beloved Nottingham Park location.  Man of the Cliff 2017 would not have been nearly as rowdy, nor as supportive to First Descents without our other incredible sponsors including 808 Distilling, Bighorn Toyota, Westin Beaver Creek, Bulleit Bourbon, Stihl, BBVA Compass Bank, Teatulia, and the Vail Daily.  Thank you for supporting the healing power of adventure!


We can’t wait to see you next year!  Training starts…now.



1 thought on “Know Before You Axe Throw: Man of the Cliff Pro-Tips”

  1. Thanks for the tip that the rotation is key to make sure that the axe sticks on the target. My uncle recently brought the idea of trying out axe throwing the last time my cousins and I visited him. Maybe we could try it out someday since I do like recreational activities that can double as an exercise routine.

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