By Jackie Holbrook
Most people can’t wait to escape their home these days. But before the coronavirus pandemic trapped everyone indoors, some paid good money to get locked up.
Escape rooms offer real-life adventure where teams must overcome obstacles within a specified time to break free. These rooms are popular for date nights, birthday parties and corporate retreats. And now archery offers escape rooms, too.
“We were trying to think of different ways to get more people into archery,” said Tom Goldsmith, manager and co-owner of Plum Creek Archery in Dyersville, Iowa.
Goldsmith masterminded the shop’s archery escape room after discovering its virtual shooting equipment could upload his own video. He then devised an escape-room shoot, and sought help from his son in the entertainment industry.
“My son knows all about filming and producing, so I told him my idea,” Goldsmith said. “(He and) his sister did all the writing for the video we produced.”
Plum Creek Archery’s escape room took about six months to create. The premise is simple and a little scary: Evil Dr. Bull’s-eye holds your team hostage. To escape, everyone must complete a series of archery challenges in under an hour. The challenges aren’t easy, and Dr. Bull’s-eye tries to thwart you with a team of attacking beasts that includes bears, snakes, monsters and a Tyrannosaurus rex.
The game has three levels to accommodate archers of all skill levels. Level 1, “Dr. Bull’s-eye,” is for beginners. The archers use Genesis bows set at low poundage so anybody can shoot the game. The store also has some Genesis Minis for younger kids.
For Level 2, “The Dungeon,” archers use the same equipment but shoot farther distances. Level 3, “Catington’s Claw,” is for those who want to use their own equipment.
“Most people who come in and play want to come back,” Goldsmith said. “If they don’t win, they want to try again. And if they win, they want to play another level.”
Goldsmith is already working on a theme for next year. He’s also encouraging other archery shops to open escape rooms. Even if they don’t offer one, most archery shops still offer plenty of fun through ranges, leagues and virtual shoots.