WYOMING — Three years ago, Boyd Williams didn’t know much about the paintball business. The Exeter resident worked for an auto parts store. Paintball was the last thing on his mind.
Boyd’s son, JJ, had been playing the sport for almost two decades. When the old beverage center adjacent to the Midway Shopping Center was available for purchase, the Williams family jumped on it. Now, the 10,000 square-foot facility is home to the only indoor paintball field in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Luzerne County Paintball was established in April 2012. After a year of renovations, the family-owned business opened its doors in March 2013.
“I don’t know what made me do it,” Boyd said. “I came home from work one day and had the idea. Let’s open up a paintball business. I’m not sorry I did it.”
The first three years have been exciting, he said.
“We had a lot of people help along the way,” Boyd said. “We couldn’t do it without them. So far it’s been exciting.”
But it wasn’t until recently that the business had one of their most important clients. Boyd is a Vietnam veteran; when it comes to taking care of fellow veterans, the man doesn’t hesitate.
In early January, the Williams family hosted Iraqi war veteran and triple amputee Bryan Anderson. Anderson is a spokesperson for Quantum Rehab, a Pride Mobility company.
On Oct. 23, 2005, while serving a routine mission in Southeast Baghdad, Anderson’s convoy rolled over an improvised explosive device (IED). Due to his injuries, Anderson lost both legs and his left hand. He was later awarded the Purple Heart.
During the session, Anderson’s power chair, the Quantum Q6 Edge 2.0 iLevel, was equipped with a pair of paintball guns on top. He used his right hand to control the action. The chair was built and developed by Pride Mobility.
“Those guys were awesome,” Anderson said of the staff at Luzerne County Paintball. “When I got to Pennsylvania I wanted to make a wheelchair for paintball.”
Anderson said the staff was willing to help with anything he needed, including getting around the facility’s field, which is made up of wood chips.
“There were things we could have done different to make the chair even better,” he said. “I wish I went to those guys first to see exactly what we needed.”
Throughout this career, Anderson appeared in the film “American Sniper” and was a stunt driver in the movie “The Dark Knight.”
Luzerne County Paintball features two indoor playing fields, air ball and crates. The fields are handicapped accessible and currently have several observation areas.
At Luzerne County Paintball, bachelor and company parties are usually what brings in the customers, Bpyd said. There are also options for birthday parties and options for the weekend warrior to come play during open play hours.
However, paintball isn’t the only thing that is popular at Luzerne County Paintball. A year after opening, the family decided they needed something geared more toward the younger population. That’s when the family got the idea for laser tag.
The family didn’t want the laser tag everyone thinks of. There are no vests with this version, but beams of invisible light shot from one gun to the other. The guns are similar to paintball guns, and can reach up to 100 yards.
“We’ve had a good reception in the community,” Williams said. “They love it. Between paintball and laser tag, mostly laser tag, we even have the parents out there to play. The kids come out dirtier than if they are playing paintball.”
Luzerne County Paintball is located at 1082 Wyoming Ave. For more information call 570-693-0580.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick