NORFOLK, Va. - Every weekend afternoon, groups of people suit up and arm themselves with bows and padded projectiles to play a sport called “Dodgebow,” a mix of archery and dodgeball.
“It's a safe way to shoot your friends,” Kyle McCarthy, the owner of Dodgebow 757, said.
Dodgebow 757 opened in February, but less than a month after opening, it had to close when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Kyle McCarthy, the owner, told News 3 people were already booking reservations to play dodgebow.
“We had a lot of bookings, believe it or not, for late February, early March, and a lot of people canceled because they didn't know about this COVID-19 thing,” McCarthy said. “People were starting to worry and canceled early.”
He said there was a surge of people wanting to try dodgebow, but unfortunately the business could not deliver.
Dodgebow 757 shut down, but McCarthy was determined to be back in business, saying, “We're going to tough through it and stick it out.”
At first glance, dodgebow may look violent and dangerous, but McCarthy assures people it is not.
“It may look kind of scary when you check us out, but I promise you -- it's quarter-inch foam, it's only 10 pounds, it doesn't hurt at all,” he said.
Players will get head gear and other pieces of protective gear to ensure safety. Even a child can play this sport.
"This small kid, he was awesome,” McCarthy explained. "He got pelted straight in the chest and when he got hit, he has this look on his face like, 'I know this should hurt, but it doesn't.'"
The staff also sanitizes the equipment when they set up for the day, as well as after each session.
“The barriers, bows, arrows, guards and wrist guards,” McCarthy explained. “We want everyone to be safe and clean."
McCarthy said dodgebow started in Canada before coming down to the United States, and said Dodgebow 757 is the first facility of its kind in Virginia and the second on the East Coast.
Currently, Dodgebow 757 is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. The other times, the facility is used by a CrossFit studio, but McCarthy they said they hope to get their own place in the future.
Reservations are required ahead of time and can be done on Dodgebow 757’s website. Dodgebow 757 is located at 1081 W 35th Street, Norfolk.