Brian Elliott

Brian Elliott with the Zombie paintball truck at Shooter's Alley in Oxford.

Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star

Brian Elliott is the manager at Shooter’s Alley indoor firearm and archery range, at 321 Hamric Drive W. in Oxford. A lifelong gun safety enthusiast, Elliott is one of the people in charge of the Shooter’s Alley Zombie Apocalypse Hayride, in which participants shoot paintballs at live zombies. The hayride, at 3232 McIntosh Road in Oxford, is every Friday and Saturday in October, as well as Halloween night, from 7 p.m.-midnight.

Have you always worked with guns?

No, I got my degree in psychology from Jacksonville State University, and I worked as a counselor for many years. I was also in real estate; I have my broker’s license. After working in real estate, I started working here for Phillip (Booke, owner), one of my friends from elementary school. I am also helping with our Zombie Apocalypse Hayride that we debuted this year.

Where did your interest in psychology come from?

I was first introduced to it in high school, and I thought it was a very interesting subject. I have always been interested in helping people, as well.

What kind of counseling did you do?

I worked at Inner Harbor Hospital dealing with juvenile sex offenders. I was lead counselor over there.

How did you become involved with Shooter’s Alley?

Phillip asked if I wanted to help him. I agreed because I have been shooting for decades. My father would take both Phillip and I shooting when we were kids.

How old were you when you shot your first gun?

My dad started explaining gun safety to me when I was 6 or 7, and I believe I was 10 years old when I shot my first gun, a .22 caliber.

Tell us about Shooter’s Alley.

We opened to the public last August. We have batting cages, an archery range with bullseye dot targets and 3-D animal targets, nine pistol lanes and four lanes for rifles or shotguns. We have guns available for sale and rent.

Is there a most popular item you sell or rent?

People tend to like the exotic stuff, like the Desert Eagle. Machine guns are very popular with folks as well.

What is the rate to use the shooting range?

Most of the time, it is $17 per person per lane, or $12.75 each to share a lane. The rate to rent one gun is $15, two guns is $25, and unlimited rental is $35. Unlimited rental lets you swap out with any semi-automatic pistol, rifle or shotgun. If you want to rent a machine gun, it is $35 per machine gun. Ammunition for all guns is an extra cost.

Tell us about the Zombie Apocalypse Hayride.

We have a 1968 M35 Deuce and a Half that pulls our trailer. We can have 18 people on the trailer and seven people on the truck. The paintball guns are mounted on the truck, and you use them to shoot at the zombies. It is about a 15-minute ride with 10 scenes. At the halfway point, people are invited to take photos with the zombies, and we sell extra paintballs.

Is the Zombie Apocalypse Hayride appropriate for all ages?

It is not overly scary; we make it family-friendly. We have a lot of kids coming through. If there are younger kids, we make special arrangements for them to sit where they best can see. If a parent needs to ride to supervise their child, we do not charge the parent to supervise.

Are the zombies cutouts, or are they portrayed by actors?

The majority of the zombies are actors from Lincoln High School.

How much is admission to the Zombie Apocalypse Hayride?

The basic ticket is $20 (the ride and 200 paintballs), the elevated ticket is $30 (basic ticket plus 100 extra paintballs and if space is available, your choice of seating on the Deuce and a Half) and the VIP ticket is $50 (400 paintballs, skip-the-line pass and a guaranteed seat on the Deuce and a Half).                                       

What are you passionate about?

I love training other people to shoot. I love working with first-time shooters and seeing people go from being afraid of guns to being comfortable with them.

Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com.