We catch up with Roy, the owner of Ram Training, to find out more about this (un)deadly experience…
Zombies, paintballing, boot camp? Roy, tell us exactly what you do at Ram Training, it sounds intense!
Well, I suppose the best way to describe what we do is combat training and military experiences with a twist! Zombie Boot Camp, for example, is a team event where you'll come face to face with zombies in a simulated zombie outbreak scenario! You'll join a realistic riot squad and get trained by real soldiers in riot tactics, with the aim to learn about zombie behaviour, and how to bring them down using paintball guns!
We also have a SWAT experience, where again, you are trained by real soldiers and have to complete various missions like hostage rescue. All the experiences are physically demanding and give participants a chance to encounter intense situations, and use the skills we teach them as well as teamwork.
How did you first get into this type of experience day?
I have been a soldier for nearly 30 years, and I had the idea about 3 years ago while putting together a training package for my guys prior to deployment to Afghanistan. Obviously I wasn't training the lads to fight zombies, but the concept of using paint guns, riot kit and military tactics sprang to mind! Initially we started with a SWAT training package, then one day I had a 'eureka!' moment and thought about the concept of zombies fighting a SWAT team. This combination has proven to be very popular and now we are moving on with plans for werewolf and vampire events, so watch this space.
I've seen a few photos from previous boot camps and the makeup looks amazing, does it take long to do and to remove after each day?
All of the zombies apply their own make up, it takes them about 15 minutes to get ready. The most important preparation for a zombie is his PPE (personal protective equipment). They wear full body armour and in many cases riot helmets with visors.
You mention on your website that the day is designed to be scary, what sort of thrills might a customer come across during the training?
Getting dragged off by a group of hungry zombies! It's just the sheer violence and the feel of the training areas. Many customers get fazed by having to grapple zombies in the dark.
Sounds insane! Does this mean you would only recommend it for a slightly older age group or would children enjoy it as well?
No, it’s not suitable for children, it's just too scary. there’s too much swearing and the kit is just too heavy for them! We have a minimum age of 16.
What's your favourite part of the job?
Watching the squads return from the missions, sweaty, bruised and knackered; especially if one of their group has been captured. They all say the same thing…"I can't believe how unfit I am".
Do you have any funny or interesting stories?
We have had tears, tantrums and the occasional scrap.
What has been your most stand-out memory from Ram Training so far?
People just love it, every weekend the customers are raving about their experiences. Everyone enjoys it; from policemen, prison officers, and the military through to bankers! They all love the rough and tumble of the experience. One lady told me it was the greatest experience of her life, I felt sorry for her husband standing next to her!
Apart from screams or relief to still be alive, are there any other reactions after the experience?
Some people actually hug each other on completion of their missions. People get totally immersed in the whole story. One dad was totally gutted and was almost in tears after realising that his 16 year old son had been left behind. That’s what makes it so valuable as a team building activity for corporate days out.
Do you have anything stirring or chilling planned for the future?
Oh yes, we are launching our werewolf event this September and Vampire Hunters will be on sale for Christmas.
Thanks for talking to us today Roy, let’s hope you don’t give our Experience Day customers too many nightmares at the Zombie Survival Experience