CHESTERVILLE — Obstacles, walls and bunkers now dot the land behind Rob and Sharon Goding’s property at 144 Zions Hill Road.
The couple opened Slab City Paintball in June. The obstacles and bunkers create spaces to maneuver around and hide during paintball games that provide exercise, test shooting skill and mental strategy.
It gets them and their children out in the woods enjoying nature and puts the property to good use, they said.
They decided to share the games and experiences and opened the courses to individuals and groups, and plan to develop tournaments.
After loggers cut part of their 120 acres, Rob started working to clean up the debris and realized how it could easily become obstacles and bunkers on a paintball course, he said.
There was plenty of room and the couple could capitalize on the use of the land in an environmentally safe way, said Sharon, who grew sheep in those fields before the couple married about a year ago.
With five children between them, it creates a space for them to enjoy family fun, nature and tell “war stories” after the games, she explained.
The couple stressed the importance of safety, family and fun as a priority for the new venture.
Living in one of the oldest houses in town, they named the new business Slab City based on the history of Chesterville, she said.
The now small, quiet town was a busy center with mills and a granite quarry in the 1860s. The fronts of properties were often lined with the large granite slabs earning the town the name, Slab City.
An artist and writer of historical novels under the name Sharon Desruisseaux, she paints signs and maintains their website while Rob clears the land and creates the obstacles, walls and bunkers out of tires, trailers and truck caps which people have donated to them, she said.
They have also developed a Pro-shop where paint can be purchased and gear leased. Repair of paintball guns, which operate on carbon dioxide tanks, is also available, Rob said.
Before first-time participants start on the course, the couple provide training and target practice. They instruct on how to load and use the gun and a list of rules governing use of the courses, he said.
The paintballs wash out of clothing and there is a safety range around each person in which they cannot be shot, they said.
Open mostly on weekends now and during the week, if arranged, some groups have already used the courses, they said. They hope to be open from April till it's cold in the fall.
More information is available at their website, www.slabcitypaintball.weebly.com , on Facebook or by calling 491-3758.