BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Just three years after Dustin Wellman began throwing competitively, he found himself facing off against the best in the world at the World Axe Throwing Championship. 

“There’s no way I would have thought that I would have been at the world championships this year,” Wellman said. 

The Battle Creek native finished 33rd in the competition, one place short of his goal of top 32. The top 32 finishers earned an automatic spot in the first professional ax throwing league, which is set to launch in 2021.

Still, Wellman is confident he will still qualify as there are 64 spots in the league. He knows he can compete with the best in the world and has a high bar set for himself in his ax throwing future.

“I want to be the world champion. I mean, that’s the goal,” Wellman continued. “I love it. It’s my passion now. It consumes me.”

His journey is helped by his wife Leslie, who has her own aspirations of making the World Axe Throwing Championship next year. The couple spends countless hours practicing and competing in their new facility in their backyard, which Dustin Wellman built during the coronavirus pandemic. With ax houses in West Michigan closed, their range has allowed them the opportunity to compete virtually against people from all around the world. 

Ax throwing may not be the most popular sport, but the couple hopes more people get involved. 

“It’s great just join a league, get some help, throw some axes and have some fun. Pick up a new hobby,” Leslie Wellman explained. 

Qualifying for the 2021 World Axe Throwing League will be wrapping up in the coming weeks.