MCCC student Justin Alcorn spent his weekend as a human paintball target for the local charity T.H.A.N.K.S. Inc. at its annual Winterfest fundraiser in Ida.
Splatz Paintball is a small attraction started by John Branham and Randy Lentz. Combining the fun of an arcade with real guns and moving targets (i.e, poor college kids in need of employment), Splatz calls itself Monroe’s only human arcade.
“I basically run around while people shoot balls of paint at high velocities at me,” Justin said. “I try to make it entertaining as much as I can. I run, jump, dance, and occasionally take my shirt off.”
Though he wears some protection, Justin says there are plenty of places where it hurts to get hit. He claims the sides of the legs, his sides, underarms, throat, and, of course, the “boys” are the worst places to get shot.
“All not fun places,” Justin said.
Justin’s first experience with Splatz was last year’s Winterfest event.
“I got into it because a friend said it would be fun. I gave into peer pressure. We all make mistakes,” Justin said. “But I loved it. We raised over $1,500 for T.H.A.N.K.S. last year just by running around and playing extreme dodge ball. It feels great.”
Due to the success Splatz had at Winterfest, John and Randy decided to take the show on the road as a money-making attraction. They set up at various carnivals, festivals, biker clubs, and even the Monroe County Fair.
“It was hit and miss business,” Justin joked.
Despite all of the welts, bruises, and general soreness, Justin really enjoys being a human paintball target.
“It is a really fun way to make money,” Justin said. “And all the people I work with are great to be around. There is never a dull moment.”
Along with being a human target, Justin also volunteered his time this weekend by serving as an umpire for the softball-snowball tournament and cleaning up the T.H.A.N.K.S. pavilion each night.
“It has been a really long weekend,” Justin said. “I umpired today for a bunch of drunk guys and gals. I clean tables, sweap garbage, clean up puke, get shot at, sort cans full of who knows what, and I also get to watch really drunk people dance, a memory you will always cherish.”
A glutton for punishment, Justin invites anyone to come shoot him whenever they get the opportunity.
“Come see us at the fair, the Monroe County Fair,” Justin said.
By the end of the weekend, Justin and Splatz raised just over $1,500 for T.H.A.N.K.S yet again. The money T.H.A.N.K.S. raises is used to help needy families in Monroe with children afflicted by cancer.
“T.H.A.N.K.S. is a good organization,” Justin said. “I’m glad I could help.”