Report on the 4. Big Throwers Meeting near Bayonne in France from 1.-3. October 2004

pictures and results

Nearly all participants.

The event near Bayonne in southern France was most likely the biggest gathering of knife and axe throwers in Europe so far. Around 30 throwers from different countries (mainly France, but also Germany, Switzerland and Spain) took part in the contests. Michel Dujay, author of the video "Le lancer de couteaux", arranged the competition on the first weekend of October 2004 at the shore of the nice lake of Sames near Bayonne.

On Friday morning, Michel, Gérard Lecoeur (author of the book "Le couteau de lancer") and I arrived at the idyllic site and began to set up the targets. Soon, the first participants showed up and helped, for example by wiring the stilts of the targets together to make them more stable. In the evening, most throwers had arrived. Those coming by plane or train were fetched from their points of arrival by a shuttle-service. Some participants rented one of the bungalows on site for the weekend, the younger ones preferred to stay in the tent colony that developed near the targets. But nearly everybody took the opportunity to eat in the excellent French restaurant on site.
Training hard... On Saturday morning, late risers had no chance but were shaken awake by the sound of knives being thrown at the training targets, which were pretty much in use. At 11 o'clock the contest targets were released. After an inscription phase and the explanation of the rules the constests started. One participant was assigned to each target as arbiter. In each round, the competing throwers would throw 1+3 times at one target and then rotate to the next one, until they had thrown at a total of 7 targets. The main arbiter had a good view of the area and signalled every throw with his whistle. Until lunch, the knife events 3m and 5m were completed, with a record participation of 29 throwers for the short distance! The afternoon started with half an hour show throwing for the television team that showed up. Afterwards, the axe events unfolded. The distance events were held in the evening, just before nightfall. The price awarding ceremony was then held in the light of car lights: The first three throwers in each event received certificates and a local schnaps, throwing knife or one of the above mentioned books or videos. Despite never having thrown in competitions, the French participants achieved very good placements. During the following dinner in a especially erected tent hall, there was ample opportunity to again discuss the results, throwing techniques and tools and make or renew acquaintances. Midnight saw a vivid discussion about the future of the (external link / new window)European Throwing Club Eurothrowers, who gained quite some new members at the weekend.
Discussion about the future of the Eurothrowers throwing club. The Sunday started very gemütlich, many throwers had to catch some sleep. Then some took upon them the task to dismantle the targets (at least those that were not destroyed by the huge Swiss axes :-) Some lucky people who had a car at hand could take targets home for a few Euros. Before lunch, there was a short, unofficial meeting of the Eurothrowers club, where the new members presented their ideas and wishes. The rest of the day was pretty much dedicated to have fun throwing at the remaining targets.

All in all, the Big Throwers Meeting 2004 near Bayonne was a huge success. The record number of participants testifies to the continuing and rising interest in the sport. A whole weekend, throwers had the opportunity to talk about throwing techniques and learn some new tricks. The meeting brought together the throwers in France for a first time, who now begin to perceive themselves as a group. The Eurothrowers club will help to keep the communication between them (and the German throwers, of course) going. Again many thanks to Michel Dujay, who organised the meeting and made it a success!

Christian Thiel

pictures and results

This were the contest rules:

  • Only knives with a rigid blade, longer than 23cm and narrower than 6cm (referee can allow other knives after a test throw of the participant).
  • Axes with one and two blades heavier than 500g. Axes should be such (handle and head clearly distinguishable). With double-edged axes, only sticks with handle down count.
  • Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. Every participant has to have a third party liability insurance.
  • Events: 3m (short) knife and axe; 5m (middle) knife and axe (each minimum distances); No mandatory turns (turn rule is subject to discussion before the contest); distance event knife and axe;
  • Participation fee of 3.50 Euros per event.
  • At the short and middle distance events, one has 21 throws (seven targets, three throws at each). The knife will be scored after every single throw. One may leave it in the target. Before the three throws at each target, one may do a test throw, the participant has to declare in advance if he wishes to do so.
  • Distance event: From a self-selected distance, participants have three throws to plant the throwing tool into the scoring area of the target. If they fail, they do not qualify for the next round, and the last achieved distance is noted. All qualified throwers choose a further distance in the next round and have three throws again.
  • You may only throw after the commando of the referee! Exception is the throwing in the training area, which may be used in competition brakes if and when the main referee declares it open for throwing. Here, every thrower is especially responsible for the security of his throws! Anybody throwing without permission in the training area or at other targets and anybody throwing in competition without waiting for the commando will be disqualified and not be allowed to compete in any event of this competition.
  • Scoring: Bullseye black 6cm 5 points, first ring red 20cm 3 points, second ring white 40cm 2 points, third ring red 50cm 1 point.
  • Knives will be straightened (90°angel to the target) before scoring
  • The point relevant for the scoring (in this contest: for axes only) is the middle of that part of the blade that sticks in the target (thus the tip for symmetrical knives). If two rings are touched, the higher one counts.
  • Heights of the targets (measured from the bullseye): 1,35m up to 1,75m.
  • The referee is always right. If you do not observe the rules, especially those meant for security, you will be sent off the place.
  • Special rules (concerning techniques, tools, throwing style and distances) must be brought to the main referee, the majority of the throwers concerned by the special rule decide. (Example: lower minimum distance for young throwers.)
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German: Werfertreffen Bayonne 2004