‘A bang up job’: Airsoft war game Op Valour sees record ticket sales

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A record number of combatants have turned up to unleash the dogs of war — for a charity event, of course, organizers say.

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Operation Valor, an outdoor war game, held its 10th annual run on Saturday at the former site of Total Off Road Experience, an 80-acre property with off-road vehicle trails located about 45 km west of Edmonton.

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Ticket sales for the event on Friday afternoon saw 306 spectators showing the greatest interest in the history of the game, organizer James Rowland told Postmedia.

“Word of mouth is spreading and it’s a decent game,” he said. “People tell their friends, and then they bring their friends, and it just grows in popularity.”

Dubbed Op Valor X in honor of her age, the event is much more than an open-air free-for-all, it’s more of a simulated military exercise where players are armed with airsoft guns and complete missions over a period of The seven-hour timeframe said Rowland, who also owns the B Squared Airsoft Store at 116 Avenue and 145 Street.

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He modeled this year’s event after Tom Clancy’s The Division, a video game that follows tactical sleeper agents in New York City who have been activated to restore order after a virus outbreak leads to social collapse. The organizational theme for Op Valor changes about every two years to keep it fresh for players, Rowland added, but Saturday’s game also includes a twist.

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“This is the first year we’ve competed with four teams, so it will be interesting to see how it goes,” he added.

Proceeds from ticket sales will support the newly formed Valor Park Association, a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities for the public to learn more about the Canadian military and its operations.

The organization offers volunteer and employment programs to repair and overhaul privately owned military equipment for display and educational purposes, board member Scott Collacutt told Postmedia.

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“We have over 100 vehicles in our collection and at the end of the day we want to make a museum out of it,” he said.

Some of the vehicles will be on display in the battle zone and will be used to transport players as they complete their objectives, Collcutt added.

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One of Op Valour’s original founders, Collacutt, said he asked Rowland to help plan the event about three years ago.

Since then, he has been pleased to see the event evolve and turnout grow. The 2021 edition of Op Valor drew 268 participants, which was a record year at the time, Collcutt added.

“It’s nice to see it’s grown this far,” he said. “We took it to one level, and James has already taken it to another level, so he’s done a great job with that.”

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