Archery tag coming to Red Deer

New sport is like paintball but with bows and arrows.

If your inner Robin Hood is waiting to be unleashed, Branden Majeau can help.

Majeau and business partner Craig Heckenlaible are behind Archery Tag Adventures Red Deer — think paintball with bows and non-wounding arrows.

“I’ve been following the sport for about three years,” said Majeau. “It’s been growing quite quickly in the last year or so.”

Majeau, who owns Sylvan Lake Paintball, has been working towards opening an indoor Red Deer location for about a year. Just last week, he got some needed planning approval from Red Deer County and hopes to have his facility at 102-251 Spruce Street in Piper Creek Business Park south of Red Deer open in June.

Those who have played paintball and love the adrenaline and thrill of shooting and dodging paintballs can get the same kick out of tag archery — plus a few advantages.

“It’s almost a mixture of archery and dodgeball.”

Unlike paintball, getting hit by the special non-piercing arrows stings a lot less than a paintball. Not to mention, it’s a lot cleaner — no paint-spattered clothing and equipment to peel off afterwards.

The standard bows themselves only require 21 of draw, far less than the 70 to 90 pounds typical of outdoor archery bows. That means the arrows, with their foam rubber tips, have much less velocity and are safer.

Unlike getting hit by a paintball, which can cause an eye-opening sting if it catches you in the right place, getting hit by an archery tag arrow is more forgiving.

“It’s kind of like a light punch,” he said. A three-metre mercy rule ensures no point-blank targeting.

Like paintball, archers wear a protective mask. An arm protector to shield from the snap of the bow string is also available.

Archery Tag Adventures will be located in a 6,300-square-foot facility with a 3,200-square-foot arena with sports field-quality synthetic grass and a separate target range.

Inflatable objects serve as cover and there are more than 40 different game styles and formats players from which players can choose.

Majeau also sees a market among role players — weekend warriors who like to go medieval on each other while decked out in armour and wielding swords and shields.

The learning curve is not as steep as one might think. A 25-minute training session is available before the 55 minutes of game time and newcomers catch on quickly.

It cost about $25 per person and Majeau expects it to be popular for group bookings. He typically caters to a clientele seven years old and up, but expects to have options available for the five- to seven-year-old crowd as well.

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