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Patrick Springer, Published April 11 2010

Big boys and their big toys

Men like paintball battles, ultimate fighting, scuba diving, wall climbing, video games, customized motorcycles, loud car stereos, beer and guns.

They really, really like guns, but will shoulder the occasional crossbow.

All of the above were on display at the first Big Boys Toys Expo on Saturday at the Fargo Civic Center, which functioned as a big “man cave” for vendors and the curious.

Rick Tungseth was there with his fiancée, Sara Kovach. Yes, women attended, too.

He was looking for something besides golf to keep his buddies entertained during his upcoming wedding celebration.

Paintball presented itself as a novel possibility.

“It’s all the fun of combat without the horror and death,” said vendor Sean Burns, owner of Valley Paintball, which has a field near Sabin, Minn. “You get to take part in really intense mock combat.”

Tungseth asked a few questions, got some answers, and came away thinking it just might be the ticket.

“It looks like a fun thing for guys to do for one and a half to two hours,” he said. He likes the idea of renting the gear, adding, “I’d rather buy golf clubs.”

Another form of combat was on display nearby at an exhibit by Chris “Crowbar” Tuchscherer, a professional mixed martial arts fighter who is also a fight promoter.

He sat at a table, signing autographs and selling tickets for the April 24 fight event at the Urban Plains Center. Behind him, in a ring, fighters sparred.

“This is where the real big boys play,” said Tuchscherer, a Rugby, N.D., native and former Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestler.

Nobody argued with him.

Lots of guns, many of them rifles with scopes, and a wide variety of accessories were on display at the OutdoorBunker booth.

“We didn’t really know what to expect, so we brought a little bit of everything,” said Alec Thomas, the store’s director of operations.

Browsers seemed especially interested in a rifle equipped with a holographic weapon sight, a scope designed to offer faster target acquisition. A shotgun without a stock is designed for defense against home invaders.

“The guns are always the big draw,” Thomas said. “It’s not every day that people see the guns that we’ve got here.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522