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Nerf battlefield in Denton home to instant nostalgia

Nerf battlefield in Denton home to instant nostalgia

On Friday, July 28, children hold their team's side of the room during a Nerf gun battle at The Battlefield in Denton, TX.The Battlefield is a place for all ages to duel each other with Nerf guns, for parties, team building and free-play. PC: Katie Jenkins

Nerf battlefield in Denton home to instant nostalgia
August 02
19:17 2017

For people born within the last four decades, the word Nerf is instantly recognizable, conjuring fond memories of childhood battles between friends and siblings fought in living rooms and down hallways on Christmas mornings.

Bruised knees and broken lamps were nothing but battle scars and collateral damage in the great skirmishes between the pillow fort nations and marauding nomads roaming backyards, armed with the best in foam dart shooting technology.

With the rise of the Nerf dart blaster in the ’90s and its continued refinement in the current decade, this classic series of toys is still popular. Now, adults can put their childhood Nerf war battles to the test in bigger, badder arenas. Nerf Wars: The Battlefield in Denton offers people of all ages the chance to battle it out in a game of Nerf with strangers or friends in an air-conditioned facility with customized obstacles and padded floors. You can dive, dodge, snipe and charge under the glow of black lights and lasers.

Owners Todd and Holly Olson are both quick to convince the leery adult to join in the game with their kids.

“We’ve have had 6-year-olds to 60-year-olds play,” Todd said. “Not everybody wants to go out and play paintball. Some people can’t handle getting shot with a paintball, but when it comes to Nerf, literally anyone can do it.”

The idea to meld their jobs with their hobby started with their family’s love of Nerf.

“Our family was into Nerf and for every birthday and every holiday we would all get together and battle at my sister in-law’s house — she finally had enough,” Todd said. “So we did it at the gym with friends and family, and everyone thought it was so cool that we decided to open it to everyone. Since then it’s exploded on us, now we average about 1,000 players a month.”

The Battlefield features two large indoor fields filled with customized obstacles and vehicles like a tank and a jeep. The field supplies all the equipment, including dozens of guns ranging from one-shot pistols to the newest automatic blasters and all the darts you can shoot.

“Players can use most of the guns on our wall, and for a little extra you can rent out the nicer guns,” Holly said. “And you can trade in your gun two times to try out the different ones.”

They are open to the public on the weekends, or they can cater to all types of private party requests. Pricing depends on the size and length of the parties, but the owners of The Battlefield say they have the ability to be flexible and cater to the customer’s needs.

“We do birthday parties, team building events and fundraisers for local schools,” Todd said. “We’ve been to every school except for one in Northwest ISD. We’ve got a mobile unit so we can travel around and set up in any venue. We’ve done 2,200 parties in two years.”

With this success, the Olsons have been able to begin work on expanding their business.

They are now hoping to attract college students and serious players with leagues and tournaments.

“We want to start a college league for Nerf, and we hope to reach out to college age people,” Holly said. “Our first tournament is coming up in September where the winners will receive prizes like high-end automatic blasters.”

If one looks closely, the Nerf Wars battlefield looks like a gymnasium because the Olsons operate The Battlefield as a wrestling and sports training venue during the week. They have opened their facility up to the UNT wrestling program, which they can use as an alternate training site.

The Olsons have taken their hobby of Nerf and paired it with their jobs in sports.

“I have a background in wrestling, and this all started from a wrestling program,” Todd said. “We were doing sports training programs and ran a couple of camps. Then we started doing the Nerf thing, and that took off, and now the Nerf thing funds the wrestling.”

The Olsons have been able to tap into their connections in the local wrestling community to attract people to their unique business, which has helped them spread the word.

Joe Letsche, a wrestling coach, UNT alumnus and occasional Nerf player, loves the Olson’s idea to create this fusion of sports, not only for his kids but for himself as well.

“We started here with the wrestling, then when they started the Nerf wars the kids thought that was the coolest thing ever so we started coming back for that and the kids love it,” Letsche said. “The kids always want to do paintball, but the younger kids aren’t old enough to do something like that. This is something similar and one of the very few things they can all do together.”

Unlike paintball, which can cause a variety of injuries, the Nerf darts don’t pack quite as big of a punch.

“Nerf is not nearly as dangerous,” Letsche said. “They don’t come home with bruises, [so] they can shoot at each other all they want.”

Featured Image: On Friday, July 28, children hold their team’s side of the room during a Nerf gun battle at The Battlefield in Denton, TX.The Battlefield is a place for all ages to duel each other with Nerf guns, for parties, team building and free-play. Katie Jenkins

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David Urbanik

David Urbanik

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