ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Over the past few years, ax throwing has exploded in popularity. From a date night to just hanging with your friends, everybody wants to give it a spin. But there’s a couple of Albany residents who have a chance at becoming world champions this weekend.

“Ever since we were at the world championships last year, we’ve been looking forward to the next,” Mark Mirasol, owner of The Lazy Axe in Albany said. “We’ve been raring to go.”

Mirasol first picked up an ax on a summer road trip in 2018. “I was terrible,” he said. “I was terrified of the ax, afraid that it was going to come bouncing back at me but then as I got the hang of it I actually really enjoyed it.”

He was hooked from there, and immediately set out to provide a place for ax throwing in Albany. The Lazy Axe was born later that year. “We’ve really built a community of folks who really enjoy the sport and enjoy participating and enjoy the company of our ‘ax fam’ as we call them,” Mirasol said.

A guy who was afraid to throw an ax three years ago is now one of only 12 in the world competing in all four events at the World Axe Throwing Championships this weekend. “It’s really become a passion which is something I didn’t think I’d ever say about ax throwing necessarily,” he said.

But Mirasol is only one of four from Albany looking to come home a world champion. “We have Richard Lin, he’s actually qualified for duals with his partner Jess Renner who is a great thrower out of Columbus, Ohio,” Mirasol said.

“Ben Paultre, he’ll be throwing knives,” he added. “And then Gary Dayter who’s my duals partner, but he’s also qualified for hatchet as well as knife throwing.”

You can see the World Axe Throwing Championship from Fort Worth, Texas on ESPN3 Sunday at 2 p.m.