Rood on target to break ax throwing world record for the second time


Former Seward resident Jesse Rood, 27, is gearing up to break the ax throwing Guinness World Record once again.

Rood got the record in 2022 and held it for about a year before it was broken by Simone Freddi of Italy last June. 

Rood lived in Seward from the time he started fifth grade until he graduated high school. He studied geography and secondary education history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and now lives in Lincoln.

Rood is a firefighter at the Nebraska Air Guard Base, which was his dream job since he was a child. He said it has run its course and is planning to move into personal training soon.

Rood said he threw axes for the first time at a summer camp in Colorado in 2018 or 2019 and liked the activity. After he returned from camp, he started working at an ax throwing bar called Craft Axe Throwing while attending UNL. 

“It was always fun to see, like, people on a date come in and then somebody would outdo the other one, or people would bring in their grandparents and they would have the best throws of the squad,” he said.

He kept practicing and one day decided to look up the world record. It was around 75 feet.

“I should break it because I thought it was pretty attainable,” he said. 

To prepare to break the record, Rood practiced ax throwing about three times each week on the Nebraska Sports Council’s land. Depending on how far he was throwing, he would get in anywhere from 50 to 120 throws per practice.

“It was fun because it wasn’t really anything too intense,” he said. “It was just kind of a fun little side quest, I guess. That’s what I liked most about it.”

Craft Axe Throwing helped Rood get in contact with the Nebraska Sports Council, which reached out to him about throwing at the Cornhusker State Games two summers ago. He broke the record with a 90-foot throw at the CSG’s grand opening.

Rood said it was a fun moment but felt a bit weird having so many people watching him and being on a tight timetable.

“It’s in front of a lot of people so there’s kind of some pressure,” he said. “All of my practices had just been me and the target.”

Because of that, he is planning to carry out his next attempt in a field with just him and the Guiness representatives required to witness the record. Freddi’s record is about 130 feet. Rood said it is all good sportsmanship between the two of them.

“(Freddi) reached out to me on Instagram after he broke the record, and he seems like a very awesome dude,” he said.

Rood said he feels confident he will be able to beat the record because he has overthrown targets set at 120 feet in the past. He said he wants to hit the target from 180 feet away at minimum but his ultimate goal is 200 feet. 

Rood plans to get back into practicing throwing for a while and get some money together to pay for the surveyor, photographer/videographer and supplies necessary to break the record. These things were all provided for him when he broke the record at the NSG.

He said he will likely make his next attempt in a few months, around the time when his wife, Isabel Safarik, graduates with her PhD from UNL.

“I actually haven’t thrown in a while, but I’m excited to get back out and start practicing again,” he said.

Rood said he enjoys that ax throwing is a repetitive activity that he can improve upon over time.

“I liked the progress of just trying longer shots and just kind of being on my own and in an open field doing repeatable training like that,” he said. “It’s kind of fun to get ready for something and have a goal.” 

Rood will be featured on Nebraska Public Media’s ‘Nebraska Stories’ series on Thursday, Feb. 22.

“I was kind of surprised it got so much attention. It is cool because Nebraska is a pretty sweet place where people kind of rally behind fun little stuff like that,” he said.