It’s been a hot day. It’s Saturday, July 9, and despite the overcast skies the temperatures have soared upwards just as promised. To stay out of the heat I decided to take a little night adventure, and as the sun began to set around 7:30 p.m. I began my trip from Pueblo West to what was formerly known as Bi Daddy;s Fast Tracks. For many years Big Daddies has been known for it’s adult and children karts as well as a decent sized track nearly a mile in length that runs in a figure eight. It is also largely been known for hosting parties, serving excellent food and of course it’s wonderful arcade. In fact for a few years it even added a small outdoor paintball course in a side lot behind the race track.
However, this year several changes have come to Big Daddy’s as it has received a new name, Pueblo’s Family Fun Center, though it retained it same location and management. Also brand new to the center, and acting as a long awaited replacement is outdoor laser tag. The arcade and party rooms however are still intact and it makes a great place to take children for their birthdays.
After calling ahead to double check the hours (the Pueblo Family Fun Center stays open until 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday) I made my way out to the track. Taking U.S. Highway 50 toward Pueblo City, I turned right on Pueblo Boulevard, which makes a great loop around the southside of Pueblo. I followed Pueblo Boulevard down past Prairie Avenue and kept a look out for the center on my right hand side as the turn off is easy to miss. Then sure enough almost the last turn off before you hit Lake on the Blvd. I hit the fast track.
Walking in the gates I found the track and arcade exactly how I remembered them, with the Arcade having many of the old fashioned games we used to know and love. Many of these games were the type that gave children a chance to win tickets for prizes and here and there I saw a few with parents either eating or playing the game. Yet the main attraction for almost everyone present was the go kart racing taking place outside.
As I waited in a very small line to purchase my pass to ride and play laser tag I stared out the open door enjoying the night air, and watching several small children race around the track clearly enjoying every minute of it. Soon enough however, it was my turn and I purchased to rides on the go-karts for five dollars apiece, as well as two rounds of laser tag at $7 apiece. I then went outside and enjoyed the cool night air and watched the remainder of the children’s race with the rest of the waiting line.
Finally the attendant put up his index finger to all the racers that they had one lap left and they began to slow coming around the last turns save for the last tiny girl who rammed the girl in front of her. This is of course not allowed on the track, but sometimes exceptions are made especially for the younger children. After this one mishaps the attendant quickly got all the carts lined up in the correct lane and finally it was my turn.
Now before I describe my race, I feel a need to describe the carts. And there are many of them, at least five lanes with six karts per lane, and the adult group I was with took up nearly two full lanes. Yet for the number most of them are adult cars with only one lane reserved for kids, and another for go karts with two seats. Each is low to the ground and built with a metal bumper around the body in case you hit the metal railing that surrounds the track or any of the other carts. There is no cage for protection rather just a strap seat belt that covers both your shoulders and straps together in the middle. The Kart is designed so that the steering wheel sits squarely between your legs, with your left foot resting on the break, clearly marked by the red pain, and your right foot on the gas, painted green.
The Karts themselves are rather small, and I immediately felt cramped in mine, yet this did not take away from the experience as I was eager for the attendant to start my engine and begin the race. The engine itself is a standard pull engine you would see on a boat or say lawnmower. Once he had started all the engines the smell of gas was heavy in the air and my adrenaline was going. Being at the front of one column in a red and white kart I quickly found myself racing the lead of the other column, and older man in a pure black kart. Racing around the track he managed to keep me at bay by taking the inside track, yet I was able to pass him on the outside as we neared the end of lap one.
While I call this racing, the karts themselves can hardly go faster than 30 mile per hour and many have no desire to race merely enjoy the ride. Yet, despite this go karting brings out a competitive edge in most people and they begin to take joy in racing each other around the small track. However, after quickly passing the other lead I quickly found myself way in ahead of the pack and I began to just enjoy the wind blowing in my face, and the feel of whipping around the track. Faster and faster I went around using a style that made it impossible for other to catch me and indeed even to pass me as I was later told.
Because the course is set like a figure, eight though with what one may call ripples throughout, often the inside course on one turn becomes the outside turn on the next. The method I used to stay in front was to sharply follow the wall around a bend before shooting out in an angle across the track so I could continue to hug the inside track. This method worked so well that I was able to catch and lap several people before finally being stalled behind three cars in the second to last lap. Yet for all of this I managed to pass two of them before being rammed into the wall by my competition.
Finally after all go karts were parked, we we’re allowed to exit the track though many including myself got immediately back in line. The second race happened almost immediately and as we raced many people began to arrive and wait for their turn. The lights were on the track as it was dark out, and it was racing unlike I had experienced before. Yet it was not as action packed as the first ride, as I found myself alone on the track for most the race. However, this was nice in itself as I was able to enjoy the track zooming by and appreciate how close to the metal wall I was without actually touching it.
After the second race I quickly disembarked and went back to the arcade to get another attendant to walk me to the laser tag field. As we approached I quickly found that it was the same field they had used for paintball years before and was bear save for a few tire and wood walls, with one wooden shack in the middle. The shack in the middle was open at either end that faced towards the long sides of the fields, with a star shaped window on the other two sides to shoot from.
While I played 1 on 1 with another person, I couldn’t help but feel the experience would have been much better with more people. Also as laser tag is still a brand new feature at the Pueblo Family Fun Center, the only equipment provided is the guns, with the scoring system not yet hooked up. Also the only way to score is to shoot the other players gun as we did not have the traditional vests. Yet, despite these several shortcomings it proved to be one of the more fun courses to play on.
This I believe was so because the guns provided can shoot in either burst (like a shotgun) automatic, or semi-auto, though for this game we kept them on burst. Also unique to anywhere else I have played these guns required you to press a red button on the side to reload. After a quick two round of laser tag however my adventure had come to a close and I walked back to the gate, stopping only one last time to take a look at the track.
Drew Lane is a working writing student at Colorado State University-Pueblo and an active outdoorsman. He writes a weekly adventures column for the Pueblo West View.