NJ teen's Nerf Wars company takes off

Monday, September 11, 2017

CINNAMINSON, N.J -- Several teenage boys hid behind inflatable bunkers, two of them looked like tanks. They ran toward one another with Nerf guns drawn on the "battlefield."

The objective: shoot one another and force the wounded to the sideline for a few minutes, giving them more time to collect balls and get them back to their side.

The Cinnaminson High School boys' varsity soccer team was just hours removed from playing in its final preseason scrimmage and were surprised by their coaches and team captains with a game of "Nerf Wars."

They were playing a game called "ball blitz," where the objective is to get all six balls onto one side.

Nerf Wars is the creation of Delanco teen Austin Dasher. The 17-year-old Burlington County Institute of Technology Westampton senior started the mobile Nerf battle company about five months ago and it has since taken off.

He now is booked for at least two events each weekend, sometimes three. Dasher and a few of his buddies and often times his mom and dad load up a minivan with the equipment and travel to the various locations and set everything up. Then, it's game on.

"We started it Easter week, actually," Dasher told the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill. "I have a lot of experience with Nerf guns. I've been playing with them, pretty much my entire life, so it was already a passion of mine."

Cinnaminson Boys Soccer Coach Jason Miele met with his three team captains a week before the preseason to discuss some ideas for team building.

"As a coach, you're always looking for different ways to get the guys together and having fun," Miele said. "I was telling them (the team captains) how my son recently just did this (Nerf Wars) in my neighborhood and when I said it to three guys, they just jumped all over the opportunity. They thought it was a great idea."

Team Captain Jacob Vermes, a senior center back, said his teammates were pleasantly surprised to learn they'd get to participate in Nerf Wars.

"It's been a lot of fun," Vermes said. "All the guys enjoy it. It's a great event, getting everyone together. It's kind of a team-bonding session. Everyone's having a lot of fun."

Dasher said the events typically last for 90 minutes and it's continuous except when they change up the game modes. He has nearly 10 different game modes teams can use, adding a bit more fun to it, instead of "just running around and shooting each other, because that can get old quick."

The average cost of Dasher's Nerf Wars events are about $350.