Twin Ports Nerf Wars Causing Neighborhood Concern
HERMANTOWN - People living in Hermantown may have seen high school age kids running around town with Nerf guns.
It's part of a new social media craze that's made its way to the Twin Ports.
While it's all in good fun some people are concerned with the message it's sending.
Hermantown Police compare it to a harmless game of cops and robbers.
Nearly two thirds of Hermantown High School students are taking 'Nerf Wars' seriously because there is a serious amount of money involved.
“Just a bunch of kids trying to have fun in the spring,” said the leader of Team BANGERZ, Tanner Kimball. “It's been a long winter we need something to do.”
More than 300 students in Hermantown have come together with the common goal of winning the war.
“I have two guns in my car, one in my hand usually and one in my bed,” Kimball laughed.
He got the idea from a friend in the Twin Cities and launched the city wide game two weeks ago.
Kimball thought there would be 10-15 teams involved, but as the Nerf war grew 68 teams signed up.
To start off each team paid $5 a person to make a pot of nearly $1,800, and the last man standing gets the dough.
Teams have been driving around town shooting Nerf guns out of cars, and hiding outside of businesses.
Mason Moris of Team BANGERZ works at Bridgeman’s Ice Cream and he said, “Getting into work is unbelievably stressful I have to sometimes call people to let me in the back door.”
He said people have been calling his work ahead of time in attempts to get his schedule so they know what time he is off.
“We're aware of it, and nothing really to be concerned of at this time,” said Deputy Chief Shawn Padden with the Hermantown Police Department.
Police have gotten a handful of calls from concerned neighbors, but as of now the kids aren't doing anything illegal.
“Get your buddies and go into a back yard in the back 40 whatever,” Padden said. “Don't do it out on the corner of a major highway because you're going to get called on.”
The rules clearly state it is illegal to paint the Nerf Guns black so they can’t be mistaken for real guns.
With more than 300 people keeping track of who's in and who's out is a big job. If a person gets hit, they take a picture and post it on Twitter. Every Friday, one person goes through the twitter and updates a spreadsheet to show who is in and out.
“There are a lot of people I've never talked to before that would have never caught on without social media,” Kimball explained.
From Freshman to Seniors, the students say the Nerf war has brought them together and at the end of the day it's all just a game.
In Hermantown, there are more than 170 people left in the war.
It's become so popular, this week Duluth East, Cloquet, and, Marshall School have all started its own version.
We reached out to the principal of Hermantown High School, but he declined to talk with us on camera. He said the district does not want to get involved with the game.