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| October 18, 2021

Remember back when the pandemic first hit Arizona, and some were convinced that this catastrophic event could result in, well, zombies?

Well, while that hasn’t happened, October is the perfect month to pretend that zombies are real and you can find them at the KOLI Equestrian Center, 6940 W. Broken Ear Road, Chandler.

KOLI provides year-round horseback riding for anyone looking to enjoy beautiful views.

But on weekends through November 7, the scenery takes a turn for the worse as a zombie outbreak occurs at various times Fridays through Sundays.

And because the point of finding zombies is to get rid of them, KOLI is holding “The Hunt: Arizona Zombie Assault.”

Organizers of the hunt have provided the back story: “There was a viral outbreak in 2019. A rare virus spread across the country. This virus has been reawakening dead people into zombies after their vaccine wore off.

“This reaction was unknown to the masses and needs to be stopped. We need you to help us conduct a hunt of these infected zombies before they re-infect the population. Send these zombies back to the grave!”

Guests board a military-style vehicle (also known as a zombie assault vehicle) and head to a double-decker trailer. The first station is where they receive ammo, which comes in the form of paintballs. After a mission briefing, guests head out into the desert in search of the undead.

Arizona Zombie Assault was once known as Zombie Warz and was the brainchild of Utah-based Wayne Park. Park had the idea for a zombie hunt back in 2015 and decided that the desert landscape of our state would be better suited than his home.

He headed to Wild Horse Pass and eventually Maricopa Wells, where the hunt was open for three years until it shut down in 2018.

Zombie Assault General Manager TroyScott Farrar and owner Chuck Pablo says the concept of the hunt is the same as Zombie Warz, with a few changes to fit the venue.

“It’s the perfect time of year for an event like this — and it doesn’t require a lot of physical activity,” Farrar says. “Piggie-backing on the pandemic makes for a great storyline that is intriguing guests to come out and hunt. Who doesn’t want a chance to shoot a zombie?”

The creepy monsters are hired by the staff at KOLI a few months in advance. Their primary purpose, other than to avoid getting taken out, is to have fun.

“Actors must fill out an application online, but one of the things we look for is a great zombie leg drag or grunt,” Farrar says. “Their looks and movements might be intimidating, but the zombies do not come within 20 feet of the trucks.”

The mission lasts around 20 minutes and either individuals or groups can participate.

Paintball experience isn’t necessary, but Farrar says shooting the zombies is more complicated than it looks because not only are they moving slowly, so is the zombie assault vehicle.

Once the ride is over, guests will have a chance to take photos with zombies for proof that they survived the hunt.

One important thing that Farrar and Pablo want guests to know is that they are not allowed to bring anything with them on the hunt.

“The Hunt: Arizona Zombie Assault.”

When: Various times Fridays through Sundays, through November 7

Where: KOLI Equestrian Center, 6940 W. Broken Ear Road, Chandler

Cost: Tickets start at $25

Info: koliequestrian.com, thehuntaz.com.

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