Have a (paint) ball at The Fun Farm
August 13, 2008
Gas prices got you down? Don't know of any way to beat the heat? Think affordable family fun is a thing of the past? Well, if you're in need of some welcome distractions, look no further than your own backyard. Residents of Crawford, Floyd and Harrison counties will be pleased to learn that there are plenty of interesting places to visit within the tri-county area that don't require a lot of money for admission or traveling. In a new weekly column, the Clarion News will feature places that you can take your family for a good time on the cheap. This week we'll be featuring The Fun Farm.
Just outside of Lanesville lies a 76-acre plot of land that's easy to miss as you're driving down Breckenridge Road if you're not paying attention. Upon turning down the sloping gravel road at 2690, what seems like a farm quickly transforms into a large complex of paintball fields, a corn maze and a full-sized disc golf course.
The aptly-named "Fun Farm" is the brainchild of owner Steve Boehman, who opened the recreation park back in 1994 to cater exclusively to paintball enthusiasts. However, over the years his scope has grown to include fun activities for people of all walks of life. So many, in fact, you could spend all day at the park and never do the same thing twice.
Boehman's journey to his ever-expanding theme park began in 1993 when, oddly enough, he was looking for a camouflaged riding suit for his son who was into motorcycles at the time.
His search led him to many sporting goods stores, and he quickly figured out from the lack of supply that the suit he was looking for was becoming the uniform of choice for an up-and-coming sport known as "paintball." The store owners told Boehman that kids had been "driving them crazy asking about places to play paintball."
The idea of creating a place where kids could play this increasingly popular sport began to form in Boehman's mind, and by 1994 he had turned a section of his large acreage into several paintball fields.
The business took a few months to build up momentum, but after that, it took off. Boehman said business at The Fun Farm doubled every year for the first five years.
For the first six years of his business, Boehman only featured paintball at his park. After that he added laser tag, a disc golf course, a go-kart track, a rock climbing wall and a corn maze.
|Here marks the entrance to The A-Maze-Zing Maze, the large corn maze at The Fun Farm that is actually two mazes in one. Before beginning, make sure to be committed to solving the maze because once entering, it can take anywhere from one to two hours to find the exit.|
In addition to all these activities, the Fun Farm also offers hayrides and other seasonal activities such as the Pumpkin Chuckin' on the weekend after Halloween.
But he doesn't plan to stop there. Future projects for The Fun Farm include: tennis, shuffleboard, mini-bungee, a fishing lake, a ropes course, a miniature golf course, batting and soccer cages, a zip line, a haunted house, bankshot basketball, two more go-kart tracks, snow tubing and snowboarding with man-made snow, two water slides and sun deck, and a waterskirmish.
This exhausting list of upcoming projects only proves that Boehman has no shortage of ideas for providing great family fun. It is Boehman's mission to create a park where literally everyone can have a good time.
But despite all the new activities available, paintball is still The Fun Farm's biggest draw. The park offers eight fields for play that include four "speedball" fields for quicker games and games with only a handful of players, two wooded fields for longer games that require more skill and two scenario fields that allow players to act out scenarios that involve capturing bases and retrieving certain objects.
The difference in the fields is attributed more to style of play than length or amount of space.
"Woods ball is not about quantity; it's about accuracy," said Jeff Wicke, a referee at The Fun Farm and an avid player himself.
|Crouching behind large wooden spools, this father and two sons try to avoid getting hit in a game of Speedball.|
He added that speedball is about quantity and strafing the opponent more than picking him or her out with a single shot.
The matches for speedball usually only include a maximum of 20 people in two teams of 10. The larger wooded fields can hold about 60 players, and the largest scenario fields can have over 100 players at once.
Depending on the format of the game and the size of the field, the average paintball game can range from 10 to 45 minutes.
The scenario fields are the biggest of the fields with the largest at 12 acres. The fields also include larger structures such as forts and immobile cars and wagons to use as cover as well as actual decommissioned attack helicopters.
The helicopters came to Boehman on a stroke of luck. An acquaintance of his had acquired the helicopters at an auction and had them stripped of all salable parts. Before he began tearing the helicopters apart for scrap metal, Boehman made him an offer for a trade. The acquaintance's son was a paintball enthusiast, so Boehman traded two full paintball gun sets for the helicopters and had them set up on a scenario field.
In addition to hosting five-man speedball tournaments every year — the next one is Oct. 5 — Boehman tries to utilize his scenario fields by dreaming up new story lines to keep the games fresh. His most recent plan for the story of the next major scenario game to be played on the "Blackhawk Smackdown" field is both timely and politically charged. Boehman plans to set up the scenario around oil fields and oil companies, where players can capture oil wells and oil pipelines while taking out there frustrations with current gas prices on a few sharply-dressed oil executives, played by the staff of Fun Farm. Boehman sees this event as being hugely popular with the community and is already excited about the buzz it could create.
"You might even have some grannies out here (for the event)," Boehman said with a laugh.
The scenarios are open to anyone who shows up and wants to play. The 24-hour scenarios usually start on Saturday at noon, but the players can come on the Friday before for a party complete with dinner and camping in the fields. The players then wake up and play the next day and can play all night if they want to until Sunday around noon.
The next two scenarios are planned for Sept. 26 through 28 and Oct. 17 through 19. The October date will feature the oil-themed battle.
If lack of equipment is a concern, you needn't worry. The Fun Farm has rental guns and masks available for all customers. The gun they use is the Fokus by Mokal, which Boehman credits for being the most accurate and trouble-free gun for the lowest price. The gun is easy to clean and easy for the inexperienced to use. The Fun Farm usually tries to keep around 200 of these Fokus set-ups on hand.
If you can't find the time to make it out to The Fun Farm to play paintball, don't worry; they'll come to you. A "mobile game" includes the rental of guns, masks and 300 paintballs per person and costs only $40 a person for four hours with a minimum of 20 people required.
The age requirement for paintball is 10; statistics say about 70 percent of paintballers are between 12 and 17.
But paintball isn't only for kids, The Fun Farm caters to a lot of adults from church groups and corporate groups. Some of the groups can get rather large. For example, in September a corporate group of 175 will be coming to The Fun Farm for a full 12 hours.
With groups this large, the entire park is opened up to whatever the guests wish to do, whether it be tagging their boss with some paint or testing their aim at the 21-hole disc golf course.
Speaking of which, with the exception of the paintball fields, the disc golf course is one of the other pride and joys of Boehman's park.
The game of disc golf has similar rules to golf and basically involves throwing a Frisbee into a metal basket in as few throws (or strokes) as possible. The course at The Fun Farm was designed by David Greenwell from Louisville, Ky. Greenwell is a legend among disc golfers. His accolades include a 1995 induction into the disc golf hall of fame, receiving the Professional Disc Golf Association Player of the Year award three times, winning the Grandmasters World Championship three times, and being voted the second best disc golf player of the 20th century by the members of the Disc Golf Hall of Fame.
Boehman contacted Greenwell when he wanted to build a top-notch course. The 21-hole course includes eight holes that go through the woods for an added challenge to golfers. Boehman is confident that his course is one of the best in the area, noting that many people from Louisville come to pay to play his course when there are free courses in Louisville.
|Illustration by Alisha Sonner|
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Hours: Wednesday thru Sunday • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information and a complete price list, visit www.paintballfun.com.