REVIEW: Wolf Creek Airsoft in Star, NC
Field Report-NC Airsoftshow at Wolf Creek
What do you get when you put great bargains on airsoft guns and gear together with a site so good the U.S. Green Berets train there for real? Toss in few dozen skirmishers and you get the first-ever NCAirsoftshow…a “yard sale” for airsofters, and so much MORE!
“Hit the Road, Jack…”
As most airsoft skirmishers hit the road for a game early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, in the USA or around the globe, chances are good they’re sharing the highway with bargain hunters. In the UK, they’re known as “car boot sales” but here on the other side of the ‘pond, they are called “garage sales” or “yard sales.” You know the principle: pull out those old records, clothes, Granny’s crafts or your worn out golf clubs, and see if someone might be willing to bargain for them. Now, imagine being able to do the same thing, only everything an AIRSOFTER might be salivating over is all in one place. That was the idea behind the first ever NCAirsoftshow.
Have I got a deal for you!
The idea sprung up in cyberspace, among members of the North Carolina-based NCAirsoft.org website. “Umbra”, aka Brandon Chisholm, a co-captain of T.A.G., the Triangle Airsoft Group, suggested holding a yard sale or swap meet. The origin of the concept grew into getting airsoft players from across North Carolina, and eventually those from South Carolina and Virginia as well, to bring any extra guns, gear or accessories they might want to sell or trade to a central location, to let new players fill out their loadouts, or let experienced hands swap parts and pieces. Just two days later, the concept was born, a name was chosen…the NCAirsoftshow…and a location came to the forefront: a paintball field like no other, which was about to be invaded by airsoft for the first time. But this place has been “invaded” many, many times before.
“Stuck in the middle, with you…”
Look for the small town of Star, North Carolina on the map, and that’s what you’re likely to find: a “star” stuck smack-dab in the middle of the state. Star, NC bills itself as “the Geographic Center of North Carolina,” and if a successful event is all about location, location, location, then the Wolf Creek Paintball field just east of Star was the perfect site for this first-ever yard sale and skirmish. Its central location is less than a 2-hour-drive from most of the major cities in the state, and within 3 hours of most airsofters, even from south or north of the state line. Wolf Creek was THE perfect place. Owner Barry Lamonds and his crew have hosted some mega-paintball events, but had never hosted an airsoft event of any kind. “We were not sure what we might have signed on for, but we knew this was as good a chance as any to see what airsoft was all about.” And, being ‘unconventional warriors’ in the best sense, Barry and his “family” of helpers agreed to host NCAirsoftshow Numero Uno!
If it’s good enough for the Green Berets, its perfect for airsoft.
Lamonds does have plenty of experience hosting more than just paintballers at Wolf Creek. The rolling woods and farmland has been in his family for generations, as has another use for the fields and old buildings here. Since he was 9-years old, Lamonds (and many of his neighbors) have been part of the “Pineland Militia,” a fictional force of oppressed rebels trying to shake off the yoke of pretend dictators, with the help of the U.S. Army Special Forces. Twice a year, the area around Wolf Creek becomes the final training ground for Green Berets in real-life exercises known as “Robin Sage.” In fact, as airsofters arrived for the swap meet, dozens of ‘blank’ M-4 and M-16 rounds littered the grounds, testimony to a massive firefight just the weekend before. “Several fields here are registered as helicopter LZ’s (landing zones)” Lamonds says, and UH-60 Blackhawks routinely ferry in troops from Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall as “Robin Sage” heats up. “They even captured the airport at Star a couple of weekends ago” said Rick Johnson, a retired U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Controller who is now part of Lamonds’ “Pineland Militia” training group, along with Barry’s wife-an area commander known to be hard-core tough on Green Beret candidates! All were impressed by the uniform loadouts, gear and airsoft weapons on display, as well as the well-mannered, polite airsofters who turned out.
Getting down to business
But, Airsofters came from far and wide, for the bargain hunting, as well as a little battlefield “hunting” too. In spite of being the day after a major statewide airsoft event in South Carolina, more than 4 dozen members of teams from across the Tarheel state, and many individual players turned out for the NCAirsoftshow. And, they found everything from gently used uniforms, to the latest in brand-new high-tech plate carriers, dump pouches, and loads of gear to buy, sell and trade. And the big plus; several well-known NC airsoft merchants came to the show with every variety of AEG’s, GBB pistols and magazines, internal parts galore, plenty of bits and baubles to mount on Weaver rails.
Father-and-son team members Scott and Brendon Harris of Asheboro, NC were excited to see so many players at the first-of-its-kind event. “I thought it was evenly ‘age-dispersed;’ I didn’t feel too old out there” said Scott, a 48-year-old IT director for a manufacturing firm, while Brendon, 16, was happy that the east-coast Airsoft scene is finally starting to grow. “We started with our team, Recondo, just 2 months ago, and already we’ve seen the quality of players and gear improve.”
And that performance carried to the 68-acres of fighting space in the woods at Wolf Creek. Several prepared forts, including an impressive western-style log stockade with towers at all 4 corners, a guerilla headquarters, and even a shoot-out style village called Helltown provided players from Red and Blue teams with unique areas to explore and battle.
Since most players were here for the very first time, knowledge of the terrain was even-Stevens for both sides. And, players faced some unique scenarios from “Umbra;” in one, a player from each team donned a white hardhat and became an “engineer.” Objective: protect your team’s engineer while searching for a weapons cache that only the engineer could open with his wrench. Inside was a combination for a 2nd crate that had to be located, secured and then ‘safed’ by the engineer.
And, if that wasn’t heart pounding enough, other scenarios featured insertions via a “veteran” weapons carrier truck, and armor/anti-armor tactics versus Wolf Creek’s special surprise, an 8-wheeled Light Armored Vehicle that fires Nerf rockets at area targets up to 200 meters away! Lamonds calls his baby “the Blue Goose” and it allows handicapped paintball and airsoft players to move around and enjoy the action, too. And, as Paul Lopansri, 1st NC team member and NCAirsoft.org co-founder had his hands full, trying to take on the ‘Goose’ with just an M-4 Carbine! “I couldn’t get the hatch open in back, so we just ran from building to building, spraying it with rounds! What a blast!”
In the end, everyone was a winner. An enjoyable day, good competition, and a first for US airsoft; a Free Enterprise Free-Fire Zone where new friends and great deals were made. And this is one event that should go far in spreading the word about a unique new playing field and a growing hobby, in “Pineland” and beyond!
Wolf Creek Paintball
1 mi. east of I-73/US Hwy 220 on Spies Road, Star, NC
Contact: 910-576-1990 Shop or 910-220-7184 Field
Power Limits: Standard for North Carolina Games:
400 FPS for AEG’s and Pistols with minimum 10-foot (3.3M) no-fire distance, and 450 to 550 FPS for snipers and LMG’s, with minimum 100-foot (33 M) no-fire distance