The Stettler Public Library was a colourful war zone after hours on Monday, Jan. 2 as the first of what will probably be many Nerf Wars took place.
The youngest of the participants in the war was about five, with the eldest of the kids in their late teens. Parents and library staff were also involved, turning the rows or books and movies into a safe but fun battleground.
Participants were sorted into two teams and brought their own nerf weapons, ranging in simplicity from foam-dart flinging handguns to sniper rifles, cross bows and multi-firing nerf machine guns. Two participants even brought remote control nerf-weaponized robots.
Cody Paulson and Josh Tyhy were two of the teens taking part in the nerf wars, the two friends found themselves on opposing teams.
The two admitted to being competitive with each other.
“He won’t arrive home alive,” Tyhy said with a laugh.
Paulson genially thumped his friend in the shoulders, “You’ll have bruises here and there and everywhere.”
While the rules of the game differed depending on the objective of the match, some rules remained constant: No shooting at the face, no entering closed rooms, turn over “life chips” (poker chips) when shot, and obey the rule of the match.
All of the children and adults had to wear protective eye wear – sunglasses, glasses, or goggles – while playing, in case of accidental shots to the face. One participant took it to the extreme, wearing a nerf battle helmet.
For Paulson, the event was “beyond exciting.” The 12-year-old owns around 30 nerf guns of varying size and complexity, but only brought two with him: his nerf sniper rifle “centurion” and his close action “spectre.”
The two teams were differentiated by the colour of their headbands, which were either red or blue. The leader of the blue team was Carson Miller, who brought a homemade shield with him to help fend off his opponents’ shots.
“I made it just for this event,” Miller said, showing off the silver duct-taped shield with the bright blue lettering spelling out “Fox.”
“It’s one of my favourite animals,” Miller explained.
Red team was led by Josiah Keith, whose dark mohawk and bright red headband made him a target for the blue team.
Maggie Orlick was one of the two library staffers running the event.
“It’s the first time we’ve held this event here,” Orlick said. “Everyone is super excited to get started.”
The battles didn’t begin until 6 p.m. sharp, when non-participating patrons left and the library locked up for the night.