When Jared Guynes of Rockwall launched his "Epic Party" in 2014, he arranged for so many acts, attractions and activities that it looked like the kind of birthday party Veruca Salt would demand her daddy throw for her (if she didn't fall into the furnace of Willa Wonka's egg sorting facility, that is).
The evening also featured an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the largest Nerf gun battle in the world (or rather, the "largest toy pistol fight"), a record that's currently held by a group of 577 people in Des Moines, Iowa. Attendees of Jared's Epic Party were encouraged to bring a Nerf gun for the five-minute battle and leave it in a bin at the end of the party so it could be counted and donated to the kids at Buckner Children's Home.
Even though Guynes estimates they had more than 600 Nerf blasters (the official term for these non-lethal weapons), logistics prevented Guynes and his crew from getting an accurate count and earning an official spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
"I've been able to verify that with photographs, but because of how packed that was with features and time schedules," Guynes says, "we weren't able to have everyone pass through a single checkpoint, get a wristband and have a head count."
The moment has been stuck in Guynes' mind ever since then.
"I believe it belongs to us," Guynes says. "One of those Facebook memories came up and I was reminded of a post I made a few years back when I realized I still didn't have the record, and it made me upset again."
So he and a heavily armed squadron of Nerf blaster owners will descend on AT&T Stadium on Saturday, March 12, to make another run at earning Dallas the record and finally winning something in the stadium.
Guynes says he started his second attempt by searching for a public space to hold the Nerf blaster battle.
"I started digging around and calling around to different places thinking of parks and local football fields," he says. "Then I said to myself, 'Jared, you're doing something crazy. So let's do something crazy. It's what people expect from you.' So I thought what the heck? Let's see if the Cowboys are interested in this."
The team actually returned Guynes' call and set up a date and a price to reserve the stadium for a four-hour gathering on a Saturday night in March. Guynes then set up a page on the crowdfunding website Tilt so people could purchase tickets to attend and he could raise the money to actually hold the event. Guynes says he met his minimum funding goal in six days and as of Friday, just under 1,200 people have purchased tickets, according to the website.
"That was incredible," he says.
Those who attend will spend more than just five minutes at AT&T Stadium. They'll get to spend four hours prepping for the battle with a bunch of other activities and attractions that Guynes has in the works before they commence with the war, emceed by YouTube star and noted Nerf blaster collector and reviewer Drac the Nerf Vampire, who Guynes describes as "the Barack Obama of Nerf."
Guynes also wants to make it clear that Nerf guns will be the only foam dart flingers allowed in the stadium.
"For Guinness' purposes, they don't discern size or brand," he says. "So why be so insistent that it be Nerf? That's an easy question. It's Nerf or nothing. That's what my TV told me since I was a child and now that I'm 32, it's still Nerf or nothing."
Once again, the Nerf blasters will be donated to Buckner Children's Home. And not only that, but the remainder of the funds raised from admission, sales from the event and sponsorships will go to residents of Garland and Rowlett who lost their homes and businesses to the December tornadoes. "These people really need help," Guynes says.
The maximum number of tickets that will be sold is 2,400. Guynes says he'd love to raise $15,000 to $20,000 through all of his funding sources, which would cover the cost of holding the four-hour event at the stadium and also allow for a sizable donation to the worthy cause.
He adds that while holding the Nerf battle in any open space would earn them a Guinness record, by holding it at a massive NFL stadium they will attract a massive crowd and a level of exposure they wouldn't get anywhere else.
"The publicity and attention by having it as this venue will make up for it and increase attendance and visibility for the record," he says. "It's an entirely different thing to do this event at the world's nicest NFL stadium than just to do it at a high school stadium."
Jared's Epic Nerf Battle will start at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at AT&T Stadium. Tickets can be purchased at the event's Tilt page.