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‘Zombies’ needed for Halloween production

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Something new and a little creepy, if organizers get it right, will descend on Bandera during October when a team of film stuntmen and performers brings a live-action showdown between “zombies” and sharpshooters firing paintballs in the fields around the Farm Country Club near Medina.

It’s called the Thirteen Nights of Fright Haunted Hayride and will send groups of customers firing paintballs from wagons to ward off hordes of actors dressed like zombies and vampire overlords who have overtaken the fields around the RV park and event center at 347 Pue Road.

Jody Stelzig, a stuntman and former rodeo cowboy who is among the partners in a company called the Cowboy Capital Dinner Theatre that have are putting the Halloween production together, said while other zombie-repelling haunted hayrides are held across the country, he does not know of another one that incorporates an Old West feel into its presentation.

“We want to give people of all ages something fun and exciting as an option for their fall, Halloween activities,” said Stelzig.

Wagons will be sent out starting at 6 p.m. each night that the hayride is presented with room for 14 shooters and six non-shooters to be on the lookout for the zombie hordes in tours scheduled to last for a little more than 20 minutes.

Shooters will have paintball guns loaded with 100 rounds in them to keep the zombies at bay and to fire at other targets along the trail, including some targets with animatronic components.

For a $20 ticket, shooters can get into the hayride grounds, get on a wagon and shoot the first 100 rounds. If they want more ammunition, they can buy additional rounds of 100 for $5 per round.

Non-shooters will get to take the zombie-hunting tour for $15 apiece.

A general admission ticket allowing a visitor on to the grounds of the outdoor venue will cost $5. That will give customers access to food and merchandise vendors along with the live music and games for youngsters that are planned for the venue.

Also in the general admission area will be an area where guests can take target practice at zombies with a paintball gun. A $1 fee will get guests 10 shots at the targets.

“I think it’s going to be a great entertainment option for folks around here,” said Stelzig.

The production is scheduled to start on Oct. 5 with what is called a soft opening that will allow members of the media to get a firsthand look at the hayride’s attractions.

It then will continue on Oct. 6 and every Friday through Sunday that’s left in October, along with Oct. 29, 30 and 31 ending on Halloween.

But before the action gets started, the organizers are still lining up musicians, food vendors and sponsors for the show.

And this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 and 22, they will hold auditions at the Pue Road venue for the men and women who make up the cast of zombies and vampires, along with the parking attendants, ticket takers and other crew members.

Stelzig said a full crew for the production will be about 35 people, which includes 20 or 21 zombies. Zombies can be men or women, but they need to be at least 18 years of age, have reliable transportation and be able to work all 13 nights of the show if needed.

The audition will run from noon to 4 p.m. each day this weekend. Interviews for other positions needed by the production will be held two hours before noon on Saturday and two hours after 4 p.m. on Sunday.