Monday, June 1, 2009

Ukua's Field | Galt, Ca.











Nam Nguyen phone photos using Samsung Impression | Mac upload


For most of last week, I had to endure Robin’s repeated requests, “Dad, can I go to Ukua Field?” In which I consistently replied, “no, you can’t.”


On Monday and Tuesday, he constantly asked me to look at a web site in which I stubborn refused to look. Then Robin turned his monitor to face me as I was approaching the room, “Look, Dad. Look.” I glanced briefly at the site and told him off the bat, “No, Robin. We are not going there!”

On Wednesday, Robin replayed another round of the same questions in various phrases, which I gave the same answers, “No. No and No. Leave me alone Robin.”

So he countered back annoyingly, “Why not? Dad, why not? This is a place where you can shoot airsoft legally. Dad, Dad, why not? Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad...” I finally have to explain to him my reasons: “That place looks dangerous. Those are for big kids and adults.”

Robin replied, “There are small kids in there. I’ll show you.”

I said, “No. I don’t want to look at it. I already know what it is.”

Robin continued, “There’s a kid name Chris Nguyen.”

The room was quiet and the air felt heavy.

I shot back, “Really. I don’t care and he’s not related (to us). We’re not going there! Did you brush your teeth yet Robin? Go do it now! And good night!”
On Thursday night, two days before the Saturday event, Robin started to make statements such as, “Dad, I think you will like this place. This is what I’ve been looking for all long.” His voice was in desperation and weak as he pulled on my shirt and shoulders over to his monitor to look at a youtube video, I didn’t want to look but I was in front of it then so I did.

I was already tire having just coming home from work. I told him, “well, that looks fun, but I don’t want you to get hurt, and we can’t afford it anyway, all those (safety) gears, and the membership fees...”

Robin cut in real fast, “It costs only $15 and dad, they have very strict rules. You can’t shoot within blah blah...” Then while he still has his left arm around my back with his left hand locked on my shirt around the belly to keep me in front of the monitor, he directed me to the Web pages he mentioned. I soon found myself click after click, reading page after page, looking at picture after picture, I turned to Robin, “Did you say 15 dollars?”

Robin was no longer in the room, but my eyes were scanning the table and my hands were running through my pockets, looking for my
Samsung Impression. The only concern on my mind at the moment was when to break the news to my wife and if she would let us go.
Up until Saturday, the day of the event, I expected to tag along Robin as an observer. I will have my phone fully charged with almost 8 GB of memory available in the SIM for shooting pictures of Robin in action. I also carried along our other cameras: Robin’s Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W55 and the FlipVideo MinoHD cam. I was mentally prepared to get hit by tiny plastic balls by the dozens in crossfire in the field.

So here I was, only seconds after the first shooting game started, Robin was already no where to be seen. A tall and big middle-age man in bright orange jacket caught my shoulder lightly while I was running and told me that he has a jacket like his in his truck that I can use. He explained to me that this way I will be invisible, meaning that I will become an observer and no one supposes to shoot me. I think the jacket he let me borrowed was a couple sizes larger than the one he has on, at least that was how I felt. But that didn’t bother me a bit and I was happily ran to the battle field.
I took lots of pictures of big and small men and boys in soldier uniforms, with big guns and small guns in hands. Some were running and jumping. Some were shooting through windows with wide smiles. Some were holding large pipes and shooting rockets, some were pointing firm with tiny pistols. Some were hiding behind walls with thrilled grins. Some were leaping over dead trees with excited eyes. Some jiggly peeked through small holes of broken walls. I fearlessly crossed flying bullets to get some up-close shots of firefighting outside and inside of an abandon bus.

But then sometime
later in the mist of all this, everything seemed stood still. I suddenly stopped hearing sounds and noises from running shoes and triggering toy guns. All I could hear then were the twisting winds and moaning cows, along with the constant echoing of rolling tires in near-distant highway. The sounds intertwined to form a perfect sound track for a horror movie scene, well maybe, since I’ve hardly seen any gory movies.
My eyes no longer see men and boys rolling, climbing, wavering at one another. Everywhere and at every direction that I looked, I could only see fascinating objects, forms, shapes, lines, shades, light rays and bouncing mirages ... So I firmly helped up my phone and camera and shoot, shoot, shoot with all my might. A few times I realized that I’ve forgot about Robin. I tried to look for him but that only lasted for a blip. I was lost in the field, wandering in what seemed to be an ocean of wonders.



For picture quality comparison purpose, the photos in the Picassa Web albums were taken from both, Samsung Impression and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W55 cameras, as noted in each photo caption. Click on albums below for viewing photos:




THE PLAYERS    |    THE THINGS    |    THE PLACE



WHAT I'VE LEARNED:

My 11-year old son Robin found
Ukua's Field after he did a search in Google for “airsoft” and “elk grove.” I learned that the group is also linked through Meetup.
Locates at
12395 East Stockton Blvd., Sacramento County, CA, Ukua's Field has no signage and is not visible to the public. The field is sandwiched by a nursery in the north and a cattle ranch in the south. The shooting area is located a quarter of a mile east from the club house and barn.
The staff were polite and professional. Members were mostly men and teenage boys. The people I encountered were friendly and overly enthusiastic about the game.
To join, each member (or legal guardian of a minor under the age of 18) has to sign a “RELEASE AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY, ASSUMPTION OF RISK, AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT.”
Safety policies: Each airsoft gun will be test around 11 a.m., right before game starts, to make sure the gun is legal and it is not over the 400 fps (feet per second) limit with .20g bbs.

No shooting within 20-feet distance is allowed during the game.

Everyone is required to to wear safety-approved protective eye gear in the shooting field.

No magazine attaching to airsoft gun allow inside the club house.
You can rent an airsoft gun there for $15 plus $5 for a eye gear per day. Air-soft bullets are available for purchase in the clubhouse.
Fees: $15 per day. Game starts at 11 a.m. Lunch break at 2 p.m. Raffle drawing to win a prize, following after lunch. Game resumes and last until 4 to 5 p.m.
Food and beverages: $2 a soda or juice drinks; Mega lunch costs $5 for a soda, bottle of water, a small pack of chips, and a choice of grilled hamburger or two hotdogs. Hot chilly bowl costs $3.
Parking: dirt and grass parking area next to club house. You can also drive your car through a narrow dirt road to the game field area for parking.
Restrooms: One portable toilet behind the club building, near the entrance. None in the game field, which is a 4-minute walk away. Oh well, you are in the farm.


View Ukau Airsoft Galt Field in a larger map

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

my son come home yesterday after being at Ukua's field with welts on his face and head. is this a safe place for young kids and why didn't someone make sure a helmet was worn? does't seem like a safe or responsible place to me.

Nam Nguyen said...

They had very strict safety policy that required players to wear correct eye protective gears. My son wore a face mash that has built-in safety glass for the eyes. On top of that it's common sense to wear a protective vest or jacket and long pant or jean and shoes. I am glad my son is more busy with school now so he's not been back to Ukua Field for quite some time.