If you’re interested in the sport of airsoft, a Labour Day weekend event in Cochrane has your name written all over it.
The Capture the Flag Paintball and Airsoft (CTFPA) centre in Cochrane is hosting its Airsoft Big Game Sept. 2.
This is the sixth year the Airsoft Big Game has taken place, according to CTFPA manager Eric Kruger. The company hosts large-scale airsoft games annually on Canada Day weekend and Labour Day weekend, with the help of a Calgary-based company called MADNation Airsoft.
“It pretty much coincided with airsoft becoming more popular in North America,” Kruger said. “It’s been around in Asia forever, and it’s super popular over there. But it’s a newer sport to North America.
“For us, we started having rental guns and…catering to airsoft about six or seven years ago, and that’s when we started these Big Games.”
The event’s name is not an exaggeration – Kruger said the Big Game typically involves 100 to 200 airsoft players, of varying skill levels. The high number of players means the games take place on multiple combined courses on the CTFPA’s 116-acre grounds.
“Most games are taking place on 20, 30, even 50 acres. Sometimes more,” Kruger said.
According to Kruger, airsoft is similar to paintball, but instead of paint pellets, the bullets are BBs composed of biodegradable compressed sugar.
“It still hurts a bit – you can definitely feel it,” Kruger said. “You can tell when it hits you, but it doesn’t leave a mark.”
Kruger said airsoft attracts all demographics, but mainly appeals to young adults, teenagers and even pre-teens.
He said the sport is also popular with people interested in all things military, as the guns used in airsoft resemble real-life weaponry.
“That’s why guys who are more into military, army, navy, that sort of thing, get into airsoft,” Kruger said. “They can buy the specific guns they want, add specific attachments to make it look more real, and all sorts of stuff.
“It’s more military-ish, compared to paintball.”
The cost to participate in the Airsoft Big Game is $30, which includes a minimum of three hour-long games, all necessary equipment (excluding the rifle) and unlimited food and drink. The cost to rent a rifle is $20, and a bag of 4,000 BBs costs $25, but Kruger said players are allowed to bring their own airsoft gun and BBs.
The Airsoft Big Game is set for a 10 a.m. start Sept. 2. Kruger said the style of games that will be played – capture the flag, domination, team death match, etc. – are still to be determined. For more information, visit capturetheflag.com