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Tactical paintball adventures await players at Splat Happens


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON, W.Va.  — Southern West Virginia’s mountainous terrain is a good environment for ATV and off-road cycling enthusiasts, hikers, hunters and other tourists that love the outdoors, but one area entrepreneur had added paintball matches to local tourists venues.

Julie Stoneman fires a paintball gun during a game at Splat Happens.
(Photo by Jessica Nuzzo)

Splat Happens, located on Black Oak Road off of Route 19 near Princeton – next door to the former Fink’s Cafeteria site – is a tactical paintball facility, owner Billy Bailey said.

“I’m a veteran paratrooper. Everything here has a military-type feel, the scenarios we play with our guests. We use some bunkers and other things. We don’t have buildings yet; that’s definitely something we want to do when we have the revenue for it.” One goal is to build a “shooting house,” a structure like the ones the military uses for urban combat training.

The scenarios at Splat Happens ranges from hostage rescue to search and recovery missions; what’s being rescued isn’t a person, but something of “value.”

“Usually it’s an object that we can hide on the field that has some inherent value to the mission,” Bailey stated. “We have had games with five to 25 players. When you get enough players, it really gets involved.”

Bailey recalled how he came up with the idea for a paintball facility two years ago.

“A friend of mine and I were drinking beer one night and I had never played paint ball before,” he said. “And we discussed getting a game going, and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got all this property up here. Let’s set up a paintball field.’ In a couple of days, I had ordered the equipment to get it started. Right now we have about eight acres open. We’re right in the woods, and there are plenty of natural rock formations that provide great cover.”

Bailey said Splat Happens has hosted parties and other groups. “We’ve done bachelor parties, birthday parties, church groups, and we’ve had some couples and had some boys verses girls that take out their frustrations.” He laughed. “It’s great couples therapy if your marriage survives it.”

Most paintball beginners wear extra padding to help buffer the hits they will take, but they will likely do with less of it once they get the feel of the game and learn what it feels like to get hit with paintballs. Bailey described the sensation.

“It’s a lot like being whipped with a wet towel,” he said. “We do wear masks and everything. Some people do wear extra layers; we encourage that with the kids.”

Besides local paintball enthusiasts, Splat Happens has hosted groups from as far away as Wheeling. “We also do other things like concealed carry classes. I’m an NRA instructor as well,” he said.

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