NEAR WIKIEUP, AZ - Explosions and gunfire rang out in northern Arizona; it may have sounded like a war zone, but it was all in the name of fun.
The Big Sandy Machine Gun Shoot started off with a few thousand bangs this weekend. Hundreds of people attended. Organizers call it the biggest event of its kind in the world.
"These folks are dedicated collectors and shooters,” said General Manager Ed Hope. “Most guys will bring four to 10, or 12 machine guns."
Ed operates MG Shooters out of Scottsdale, which runs the Big Sandy Shoot. He estimated more than $10 million in advanced weaponry is present at the event.
The guns range in sizes, from something that can fit in your hand, to guns bigger than most people.
"It’s just kind of a rush knowing that you have that much power in your hands, and that you can control it with the skill and knowledge to do it safely," participant Mary Warden said as she fired off her Mini Uzi.
Mary was at the event just south of Kingman celebrating her wedding anniversary.
"Everybody's shocked because this side of me is not little, soft spoken Mary the homemaker,” she said of what her friends think of her hobby. “Yeah, they're pretty surprised I would do something like this."
Crowds gather for some of the crazier events, like bowling balls being fired more than a mile into the air from mortars.
Over the years, the Big Sandy Shoot has become a family event. Children as young as 10 years old were firing guns under the supervision of their trained parents and supervisors.
Although it might appear to be dangerous event, the shooters are incredibly well trained. They all have to go through as much as six months of background checks before they can own any machine gun.
For more information on the bi-annual event, go to www.mgshooters.com