Indoor throwing-star range was a Web-based prank by Lexington ad exec Whit Hiler

ctruman@herald-leader.comJanuary 22, 2014 

To set the record straight, Lexington advertising executive Whit Hiler is not opening a throwing-star and sake bar called Ninjas Indoor Throwing Star Range.

Sorry for those of you worldwide who contacted him while making plans to wield throwing stars and slam sake shots, or to buy a franchise that would enable people to have sharp alcoholic fun in their own neighborhood.

It was all a prank.

Hiler also isn't opening a store at Hamburg that would sell memorabilia of Richie Farmer, the former University of Kentucky basketball player and state agriculture commissioner, who was sentenced last week to 27 months in prison for his misdeeds. Although, Hiler says, that would have made for a good joke, too.

Hiler said on his blog that he concocted the idea for the throwing-star bar in consultation with his inner 12-year-old, who thought the idea was a good one.

Then, according to his blog at Whithiler.com: "I enlisted a group of trained ninja assassins at Cornett (Integrated Marketing Solutions, where he works) to make this happen. ...

"We purchased a very long and awesome URL, Ninjasindoorthrowingstarrange.com," he wrote. "We created a hipsterish logo. We then created a simple one-page website packed full of ninja goodness."

They created a video and a "fake Gmail account under the alias Satou Watanabe," he wrote.

"Everything came together like ancient Oriental magic, and 'Ninjas Indoor Throwing Star Range' was birthed and thrown like a throwing star onto the World Wide Web," he wrote. "Of course, the Internet loved it."

Hiler was interviewed by a reporter for Yahoo.com. Hiler, using the alias "Timothy San Bernadino," told the reporter that the bar was real.

Hiler watched the idea of the bar grow popular in Japan. He said he also saw an article about the fake bar on Guns.com.

Some people might have been suspicious of a business plan that boasted, "Come pound sake and throw sharp, pointy objects," but for Hiler, it was duping delight.

Hiler, who helped establish the alternative state slogan "Kentucky Kicks Ass," takes pleasure in throwing unlikely scenarios onto the Internet, where gullibility has particular traction.

"That's kind of my thing," Hiler said earlier this week. "The Internet is a great canvas. You have crazy ideas, and the Internet is a great place to bring those ideas to life. ... People are sharing all sorts of stuff every day. Some of it's true; some of it's not. Nothing is too far-fetched these days."

Hiler said to look for more ideas that might strain credulity in the future: "You never know what idea is going to hit you."

Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman

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