It wasn't until Gaines nailed the "X" on the target on the wall that the former "Fixer Upper" star let Willie in on a little secret: Gaines is no novice when it comes to throwing hammers.
"Some people are pretty good at this,'' Gaines said with a smile. "It's like saying, 'Hey, LeBron, you want to play a little one-on-one?'"
"I just got hustled, didn't I?'' Willie said.
"You got hustled," Gaines confirmed.
The Sunday TODAY host took part in the Gaines version of an ax-throwing contest after he joined Chip and his wife, Joanna, to get a look at the historic building they are renovating into a hotel in their hometown of Waco, Texas.
Gaines felt this version was a little safer than the various ax-throwing ranges that also serve alcohol that have popped up across the country.
"Darts, I get it, that's just modestly dangerous,'' Gaines said. "Throwing an ax while drinking alcohol seems risky."
Gaines drew a circle with an "X" inside it on a wall slated for demolition and then backed up about 24 feet to kick off the contest.
They decided to go for best two out of three, which Gaines won with his ace shot into the "X" on his second try. Willie still earned a pat on the back from a man who knows his way around a hammer.
"You were an admirable opponent,'' Gaines said. "Well done, man. We love to compete at the Gaines household. We love to win or lose. We just like to have a good time."
In between the hammer hijinks, Willie also spoke with Chip and Joanna about their decision to leave "Fixer Upper" and start their own television network, their ongoing hotel renovation and the possibility of having more children.