Just across the highway from the University of North Texas' Apogee Stadium, where UNT's Mean Green do battle during the college football season, lies another battlefield where weekend warriors battle each other for supremacy and glory.
The Battlefield in Denton on Interstate 35 West holds Nerf wars every Friday through Sunday in its facility complete with an indoor battleground and a massive arsenal of foam projectile launchers.
Holly Olson owns the facility with her husband, Todd, and has been holding regular Nerf wars for kids and adults for the last three years. The family business started as a youth sports complex while her family enjoyed holding their own Nerf wars in their home during the holidays.
"Our family would play Nerf all the time at Christmas," Olson says. "One day, my sister [Michele Jamusek] said 'Let's start doing it at the gym so we don't have to pick up the bullets.'"
The Nerf war they had was so fun that they decided to stay open late and offer kids the chance to bring their own Nerf guns and play war in the gym. Olson says they started selling so many tickets that they relocated to a bigger facility off I-35 West.
"We started selling tickets and it was just really successful," she says. "Then people started asking if they could register for private parties."
The facility has two battlefields for its Nerf warriors: the main, 5,000-square-foot battlefield where most of the guests shoot it out, and a smaller, 2,000-square-foot field for private parties, which Olson says can include birthday parties for kids and bachelor parties for adults.
The Battlefield lets guests bring their own Nerf weapons or rent guns of all sizes and types from its impressive arsenal on display in the complex's main lobby. The guns range from tiny pistols like the Triad Ex3 and the Alpha Tek to the massive rifles like the N-Strike Modulous Regulator and even the more mature line of Rival foam pellet guns that provide slightly more accuracy than the traditional dart launchers. The Battlefield provides all the ammo, whether guests bring their own guns or they borrow one of theirs for the battle.
The battlefield is separated into two sides for two teams to battle each other with their Nerf weapons. The battlegrounds are covered with wrestling mats from the other component of the Olson's family business. They've built military hardware like tanks and trucks out of crates and spray painted barrels for both teams. A covered trench separates both sides of the field.
The goal of each game is simple: Wipe out as many members of the opposing team as possible. If you're hit, you sit in the "out area" for a few seconds until the final countdown when outs become permanent and only one team is left standing. Referee keep an eye on the action and the casualties as well as hyping up the troops during the battle.
Nerf isn't just for kids anymore. It's not uncommon to see kids and adults on the field trying to shoot each other with foam darts.
"It's pretty fun," says referee Ernest Moggio. "You have everyone from kids who are 5 to 6 to grandparents coming out wanting to play as long as they have the energy."
Damiri Young from Dallas says he regularly brings his girlfriend Kate Dudley and two daughters to The Battlefield to spend time with his family and test out his newest Nerf weapons.
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"It's a good way to get active," he says. "I've been a fan of Nerf since I was a kid."
"He actually asked for a Nerf gun for Christmas," Dudley says.