It took a sudden death overtime to decide the winner of the adult category for the Eagle River Area Rotary’s Battle Royale last Saturday. In the end, the six-member team from the Eagle River High School Air Force Junior ROTC won top honors.
It was a fitting end, according to John “LJ” Kennedy, a Rotarian and the event’s lead organizer, who noted that 25 members of the ERHS ROTC showed up at the Harry J. McDonald outdoor field at 8 a.m. and worked the entire day in support of the Battle Royale.
Forty-two teams ranging from adults to pint-sized elementary-age children battled in three divisions shooting Nerf darts at their opposition from behind stacked tires and pallets made into obstacles on the four fields of play. The three divisions were: Adults (ages 12 and above), Kids (ages six to 11) and Family Feud division. The adult division required two fields of play. A fifth field was also staked out for children younger than six as a “free-for-all” spot designated for safe play for them.
“This event was a phenomenal success,” Ruth Armstrong, current ER Area Rotary president, said. “We could not be happier with the turnout and everyone had fun.”
The event was organized by the Rotary as a fund-raiser for the Eagle River Town Square Park, which is maintained by the Eagle River Parks and Recreation. Shrinking municipal budgets and increased vandalism in the park have put financial pressure on its maintenance. The local Rotary club has a long history – dating back to the park’s beginning – of financially supporting the park.The Rotary Battle Royale – for which an additional event this year is already being discussed – has become an official part of the local Rotary club’s regular effort to support the park.
Armstrong said based on the revenue from the Rotary Battle Royale, the local Rotary club can now designate an additional $2,500 toward helping the ER Parks and Recreation department with park maintenance. Other proceeds from the RBR are being used to help with other Rotary projects including its popular “Choices” program teaching middle school students about the impact of life decisions.
Under spectacular sunny skies on April 8, the infamous foam darts with the plastic tips were flying across the battlefields as teams attempted to capture flags stationed in the opposing team’s bucket and return the flag to their own side of the field. As the team’s arrived, spectators were treated to a Nerf-like fashion show: Nerf weapons of all shapes and sizes were “brandished” by the competitors along with holsters on both hips, holsters strapped to thighs and calves and chests covered with gun belts chock full of additional “ammunition” of the Nerf variety. Many wore face paint – especially the dark stripe under the eyes to help with glare that professional football players are often seen sporting.
In the end, the ROTC members finished strong assisting Rotary members with removal of all items from the field. Except for a Nerf dart or two that may have been missed, the outdoor fields at the Harry MAC showed no trace of the event even occurring there and the hang-gliders launching from Mount Baldy were able to resume landing at the popular zone.
“Stay tuned,” Kennedy told all in attendance. “There is another event coming. Think zombie.”