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These Chics are chic

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CENTRAL POINT -- Tina Scheer lines up the blade in her hand with the stump on a metal easel, about to reveal exactly what it means to be a Chic with an ax.

With a rhythmic over-the-head toss, Scheer sends the ax exactly 20 feet with one full rotation before the metal blade digs into the bullseye target painted on the stump.

"You do that, it's not only fun, but you feel good inside," Scheer says. "It's good to feel good inside."

Scheer is just one of thousands of people participating in this latest bar-game phenomenon, and the rest of the Chics with Axes crew will be spreading that inner goodness outside of the Jackson County Sportsmen’s and Outdoor Recreation Show, which runs Friday through Sunday at The Expo in Central Point.

The ax-throwing is part of Scheer’s all-woman “lumberjills” version of lumberjack activities that is one of the highlights of this year’s show that producer Joe Pate calls the best in the 19 years he’s brought shows to Medford.

Highlights include Tim Sylvia, a five-time mixed martial arts champion and host of the “Hit Squad Outdoors” hunting show on the Sportsman Channel, and two grizzly bears at center stage in the “Grizzly Experience” show.

“But she’s the stellar of stars,” Pate says of Scheer.

Scheer also shares the Chics’ schtick.

During each Chics with Axes demonstration, the Chics pick two people from the audience to test their mettle with her metal.

“We pick two people, give them a little lesson and two practice throws and we turn them loose,” says Scheer, 58, a pro ax-thrower for four decades. “Three scoring throws, winner gets a Chics with Axes T-shirt. It’s great.”

Scheer grew up in Hayward, Wisconsin, which happens to be the home of the Lumberjack World Championships. When Scheer was young, the championship leaders decided to teach logrolling to some of the local kids, and Scheer and her five siblings were hooked on it.

“It was really fun, we were good at it, so we went every day,” she says.

At 17, she turned professional with the family’s Wisconsin-based touring lumberjack shows, eventually landing her spots on the 1970s “Battle of the Sexes” show on ABC, made famous by Billie Jean King’s tennis victory over Bobby Riggs. She was a lumberjack commentator on ESPN and even had a stint in the “Survivor” series.

The lumberjills’ show is a mix of logrolling, chainsaw and cross-cut sawing, carving and other logging skills, as well as ax-throwing.

Tossing the hardware has caught up to the Chics in recent years, with ax-throwing growing in popularity in bars and tournaments in Brooklyn and worldwide, thanks in part to “Aquaman” star and ax enthusiast Jason Momoa letting loose a few handles two years ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Suddenly, these Chics are chic.

“We’ve been doing it all along, but it’s wonderful that it’s growing in popularity,” Scheer says. “It didn’t hurt that Jason Momoa started throwing axes.”

Ax-throwing isn’t just for those who toss back a few pints. Half-pints can do it as well.

“I have 6-, 7- and 8-year-old kids throwing axes,” Scheer says. “You just need to get a smaller ax and a smaller target.”

Scheer runs her show out of her Maine home, spreading the joy of tapping into your inner Paul Bunyan.

“Come out and see what it takes to be an ax-thrower,” Scheer says.

The weekend show also sports hundreds of outdoor-related vendors and a string of speaker sessions on topics ranging from ocean salmon fishing and elk calling to fishing plugs in rivers for salmon — and even how to accurately measure big-game antlers for Boone and Crockett Club or Pope and Young Club scoring.

Doors are open from noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets cost $8 for adults and $1 for children 6 to 11. Children 5 and younger get in free. Seniors 65 and older get in free Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. A coupon worth $2 off Friday and Sunday admission — but not Saturday — is available at Bi-Mart stores. For more information, see www.exposureshows.com.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

A near-bullseye for Chics with Axes hurler Kate Perry. Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune