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The Axe Man

By Jace Bauserman

Brian thowing an axe

There were birds chirping. Lot of them. Hearing the noise over the phone, it seemed to me that Brian Burrows must be chilling on his front porch with a piping cup of Joe for our morning interview. I was wrong. He was actually deep in Texas with his brother and business partner, Jon, fishing for striped bass. It instantly became clear. Although he’s a USA Shooting member, a champion trap shooter, world record holder and future Olympian, he’s far more—as I’d soon find out, even an axe-thrower.

An Axe To Grind

After moving from California to his current home state of Texas, Burrows opened Ironwood Axe Throwing in Denton. His brother Jon is his business partner, and the pair has always had a thing for throwing axes.

“Axes are cool,” he says. “We used to throw them at mom’s apple trees. After moving to Texas, Jon and I opened our business. Here, people can come have a blast throwing axes, participate in leagues and the like. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Brian and his brother Jon standing at Ironwood Axe Throwing

But Burrows’ time at his axe range has been limited as of late, and brother Jon has kept things going in his absence. Brian qualified for the Tokyo Olympics—a pretty good reason to miss work. What makes it even more special is the fact that he officially retired from competitive trap shooting back in 2016.

His Return

In June of 2018, Burrows was talking with one of his old coaches, Dwayne Weger, who suggested that he should shoot Nationals. He agreed, just wanting to go have fun, catch up with everybody and enjoy the event. He took third and made the National Team.

Of course, he couldn’t stop there. Burrows went to a shoot in Kerrville, Texas, that was designed for World Cup Team selection. He made the World Cup Team and it was off to Mexico. At the World Cup in 2019, Brian, along with teammate Kayle Browning, took silver and set a world record.

“I was just shooting and having fun,” he says. “There was no pressure. I really think my 2 ½-year departure from the sport helped me. It has been a Cinderella story ever since. It’s really been awesome.”

Full Circle

To put thing in context, it’s important to note that Burrows literally grew up shooting. He started busting clays at age 8. His grandfather was a state champion shooter, California Trap Shooting Hall of Fame member and manager of the Chevron Rod & Gun Club in El Segundo, California. So, Burrow’s first job was as a trap boy, a gig that involve putting clays on the arm and loading the machines. His entire life was shooting, and once he took a break and walked away, he was able to refocus.

Brian Burrows standing in front of the American flag

“It’s all come full circle,” he says. “I’m back and am shooting better than ever. The mindset of the game has changed for me. I hit the reset button. It’s just been very different. Shooting is a part of my life, but it’s not what defines me. I have so many other things going on. I’m so stoked to be representing USA Shooting, but I’m also jacked to be working with my brother. Who doesn’t love axe throwing?”