This is not my work. I do love history and like knowing where stuff comes from and its evolution. So in a current search for info on an old mag, I came across this write up of the history of paintball and wanted to share. This thing was kind of a pain to get into a readable format here, so I hope you guys enjoy. For those who remember the events attached to the timeline, prepare to feel old.
I want to thank Pete Robinson for posting it originally. He got it from the June 2005 issue of Paintball 2Xtremes magazine entitled "81 Moments that Shaped Paintball".
1. Summer 1970-1974
(U.S. patent 3,788, 298 issued on January 29, 1974)
Long Before the First Game Was Played, the Nelspot Marker and the “Paint-Ball”* Were Invented
While the first game of paintball wasn’t played until 1981, 1970 was surely a year that was important in the history of the sport. That was the year the Nelspot, the first paintball marker was designed.
What was the first paintgun you ever played with? For many players it was a semiautomatic. For some it may have even been an electronic marker capable of firing 20-plus non-toxic, biodegradable balls per second. It wasn’t that easy for those that played in the early 1980s though.
The Nelson Paint Company, founded by Charlie Nelson in 1940, was approached by a northeast forestry group in the mid 1960s and asked to manufacture a paint-filled ball--one that could be shot from an air-powered marker for the purpose of marking hard-to-reach trees for excavation and other forestry uses. They eventually took on the project and manufactured a .68 caliber oil-based ball in conjunction with RP Scherer (Nelson made the paint and RP Scherer encapsulated it). The next challenge was to figure out how to fire these new paint-balls. Nelson then went to Crossman, one of the two biggest airgun manufacturers and the first paintgun, the Nelspot “707,” was designed and manufactured. Sales were slow for Crossman early on and they backed out of the deal. Nelson went to the other airgun giant, Daisy, who picked up where Crossman left off. Despite the folklore, the Nelspot “707” predated the Nelspot “007,” which became the model that inspired later markers the likes of the Bushmaster, Phantom, Razorback, and many others. After the success of the “007,” the “707” was re-released but never took off.
Like today’s paintball player, enthusiasts tinkered with, customized, and tweaked their markers trying to get that extra edge on the field, even in the 1980s. Players made extended magazines for the Nelspot; they added ball drops, and one player even designed his own pump handle from PVC in 1983. Ken Muffler of the Delaware Delta Dogs spent five days designing and incorporating a pump-handle on his Nelspot and played four games with hits newly upgraded gun on November 20, 1983. Later, in the 1984 regional Survival Game tournament playoffs, a team the Dogs were playing protested the enhanced Nelspot claiming it gave his team an unfair advantage.
"I still have scars from the cocking bolt on my Nelspot. I couldn’t take it anymore so I finally designed a cardboard pump-handle for my Nelspot. Before long I was making pumps for everyone on the team." --Bill Churchwell, member of the NSG Championship LRRPS and owner of Tech-na Ball, one of the leaders in paintgun upgrading in the mid-to-late 1980s.
*The term “paintball” had not yet been coined at this point in time. The most common spelling of the word was a hyphenated “paint-ball.” The terms used to describe the game in the early stages were “The Survival Game,” war-games or skirmish.
What else was going on in 1974?
1974 Most Popular TV shows
1. All in the Family (CBS)
2. Sanford and Son (NBC)
3. Chico and the Man (NBC)
4. The Jeffersons (CBS)
5. M*A*S*H (CBS)
President Nixon resigned from office before being impeached.
2. Spring, 1976
Meeting of the Minds: Who Would Come Out Alive?
Bob Gurnsey, Charles Gaines and Hayes Noel Dream Up This Great Game
Charles Gaines’ preface in “The Official Survival Game Manual” tells one story--years later he remembered the early days slightly differently. Bob Gurnsey confirmed most of Gaines’ story but will also give you a slightly different version. To piece this story together we spoke directly to Gaines and Gurnsey, as well as Debra Dion Krischke, who was there for much of the beginnings. We also interviewed several other people that were there in the beginning.
Jupiter Island, Florida was the backdrop for probably the biggest moment in paintball history, although no one knew it then. While sipping Gin and Tonics and grilling freshly caught King Mackerel one afternoon, Charles Gaines and his life-long best friend Hayes Noel got into a debate about Survival. Noel recently returned from a hunting trip which got him thinking. He wondered if a sharp, city-dwelling businessman would stand a better chance of surviving a “stalking” game than a true outdoorsman. Was survival a matter of instinct or was it a product of environment? Noel was a very successful stock broker in a very competitive New York market and he believed this would give him an advantage. While living in New York he was once “jumped” by three men and he actually scared them off by screaming and throwing trash cans at them. He believed that his instincts to act crazier than them may have saved his life.
Gaines, from New Hampshire believed that an outdoorsman like himself would stand a better chance of “coming out alive” in a survival scenario. After all, he had hunted, fished and done everything else imaginable in the outdoors for years. Surely this would be an advantage over a city boy he thought. The two debated this for hours. A third friend, Bob Gurnsey, also from New Hampshire was brought into the debate. He too agreed that the outdoorsman would have the advantage.
A short time later the three were talking about a situation in a book written in the 1930s called The Most Dangerous Game. In the book an insane man lived on an island and invited guests to play a survival game. What the guests didn’t know was that they would become this crazy man’s prey. Later than night Gurnsey and Noel discussed doing an activity that would throw a series of adverse circumstances at the participants. They discussed several different whitewater scenarios that involved cliffs, rock climbing, and flags; they talked about having a BB gun battle; they discussed wax-tipped .22 caliber bullets and just about anything else that would help them determine what type of person would perform best in these crazy scenarios.
Months later a mutual friend named George Butler, who was privy to the conversations between Gaines, Gurnsey and Noel, saw a Nelspot marker in a farm catalog and phoned Gaines about it. Soon after being contacted by Butler, Gaines purchased several of these markers and the dream was about to become a reality. Invitations were sent out to nine men, who with the original three would make twelve players.
Source: The Survival Game Manual, Gurnsey, Gaines, Krischke
3. May, 1981
The “Real” First Game Ever Played
“Before we ever played that first game, Hayes and I each wrapped towels around our waists and shot each other to see how badly it would hurt. Hayes shot first and missed. Then I shot him in the butt. Once we realized it was going to be fairly safe, we talked about playing our first one-on-one game. We wrote some simple rules, went into the woods and played a 45-minute game. It ended when I got snuck up behind Hayes and said, ‘I guess I won the argument!’ Neither of us fired a single shot.” –Charles Gaines speaking at the 2004 IAO in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Most people believe the first game of paintball played was in June of 1981, but in reality it was months earlier when Charles Gaines and Hayes Noel played that one-on-one game that lasted about 45 minutes. After their one-on-one game, they knew they would have to do this again with a larger group….and the rest is history.
4. June, 1981
Twelve Players, Twelve Flags and the Winner Didn’t Fire a Single Shot - An Industry is Born
You have to figure that in the eleven years between the time the paintgun was invented in 1970 and the first recorded game was played in 1981, there were probably other instances where people shot each other with those oil-based balls using Nelspots. It’s hard to imagine that in seven years of forestry work no one “accidentally” fired a shot at a coworker in the field. But like the first recorded basketball game 90 years earlier in 1891, the only one that really matters is the game that is documented.
The first known group game played barely resembles the last game played. Twelve men armed with Nelspot 007s, shop goggles, and each carrying a map and compass played the first game of what we now call paintball. It was an “every man for himself” game and the object was to collect as many flags as possible by the game’s end. The story is now legendary.
Gurnsey, Gaines, and Noel made a list of possible participants for this first game of paintball. They believed the list should be limited to those that were successful in their particular field as this would be the only real way to settle the “argument.” On the final list were stock brokers, writers, master hunters, surgeons, and others. There would be twelve players in all, each paying $175 to cover expenses. The game was to be played on a 100-plus acre tract of land and the object of the game was to collect as many flags as possible. Eliminating the opposition would be only a small part of the game, proven by the fact that the game’s winner never fired a shot.
The field was divided into four quadrants with three flags in each. The twelve players, each with their own unique strategies, crawled, ran, or sneaked around the property trying to eliminate players and/or capture the twelve flags. In the end it was Ritchie White who managed to grab all twelve flags, winning the first game of paintball ever played.
Ken Barret surrendered to Jerome Gary, becoming the first player officially eliminated in the first multiplayer paintball game.
Dr. Bob Carlson eliminated five of the twelve players in what Gurnsey called a “stealthy, wiley, and cunning” manner.
After being “bounced,” Charles Gaines eliminated Lionel Atwell.
Hayes Noel was eliminated by Bob Carlson.
Ritchie White captured all necessary flags and won the game without firing a single shot.
5. October, 1981
The First Female to Play
Jessica Sparks and Debra Dion Krischke are known to many as the first ladies of paintball, but neither was the first female to play
If you were asked to name a few female paintball players you’d probably come up with names like Keely Watson, Bea Youngs, and maybe Karen Barber if you’re old school. But if you’re REALLY old school you might know that the first female to play paintball was none other than Governor George Wallace’s wife, Cornelia Wallace. The setting was Wilcox County, Alabama—this was Ronnie Simpkins’ territory and along with Gurnsey and Gaines, Simpkins brought a bunch of friends to this game. This was not just a “game” however. The purpose of this one was to see how much interest there would be in a commercial version of the first game played. Gurnsey, Gaines and Noel had already begun what would soon after become the National Survival Game. On the way to Alabama Gurnsey presented Gaines and Noel with the idea to run this event in a team format. He thought this would be the best way to market the game. He was outvoted by Gaines and Noel at first, but eventually they did play five-man teams games which were a huge hit with the players.
6. Winter, 1981
The National Survival Game Is Born
Bob Gurnsey, with the help of Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines created the first paintball products distribution company
Bob Gurnsey saw the potential that this new found game had after that first time they played as a group in 1981. Gurnsey had just lost his ski shop business and was in financial straits, but knew this paintball thing could be big. So he went to his closest friends Charles Gaines and Hayes Noel and asked them for financial backing to start a new company called the National Survival Game. Noel put up $20,000, and in addition to the startup money, paid Gurnsey $139 a week to work on the project. Gaines went to work on the public relations side of things. In the meantime, articles about the first group game of paintball ran in Sports Illustrated and Sports Afield, creating a buzz that Gurnsey was sure would help things get started.
According to Gaines while speaking at the 2004 IAO, “After the Sports Illustrated article ran, I received hundreds of letters from people that wanted to know where they could buy the gear from. Somehow my address ended up the article. Gurnsey, Noel and I bought a bunch of Nelspots, shop goggles and pellets and packaged them together with our original rules and sold the kit for five times what we paid for it.” We later included rules for a second variation which was similar to the Capture the Flag game that was and is still played.”
By the end of the summer of ’81 Gurnsey and Gaines flew to Wisconsin and met with Charlie Nelson of the Nelson Paint Company where they reached a worldwide exclusive distribution agreement for selling their Nelspot paintguns to anyone, anywhere, as long as it was not for forestry or agricultural use. It sounded like a great deal and it probably was, but things did not go as planned for a long time. After paying attorney’s fees and start-up costs to get the NSG going, Gurnsey’s company was already struggling. Still Gurnsey stayed on course.
By Spring of 1982 Gurnsey’s business bank account was down to a mere $400 and his two partners were losing patience with the business. Noel was about to be $20,000 poorer and Gaines had probably already moved on emotionally. A few months later Gurnsey ran an ad in Shotgun News which generated about 200 sales, “But I still wasn’t making any money,” Gurnsey recalled. One night Gurnsey got a call from an Oklahoma oilman named Carl McCown who heard about this paintball game. Guensey talked him into buying twenty kits which he rented to his friends. This got Gurnsey thinking that he should market and sell kits that included everything you needed to run games. He spent the next six months on the phone talking people into playing at his field, with the thought that they would purchase these paintball business start-up kits. The plan worked and by the beginning of ’83 there were more than 350 National Survival Game fields across North America.
Meanwhile Guensey developed a team game concept that was catching on. This eventually led to the formation of the NSG Championships, a yearly team tournament held in places like Pittsburgh, Houston, and Nashville. Gurnsey’s thought was, “There would never be any real money in an individual game.” Gurnsey’s National Survival Game business lasted until 1993 when he decided to throw in the towel amidst lawsuits and mounting debt. Among many other things, NSG is best known for designing and selling the Splatmaster and Rapide paintguns and for running the NSG Championship tournaments for seven years.
Source: APG September, October 1992 – Gurnsey, Gaines, Krischke
Did you know? Debra Dion Krischke was NSG’s Public Relations and Tournament Director from 1983-1985.
First Commercial Fields Open
Although Caleb Strong is generally acknowledged as the first commercial paintball field owner, Bob Gurnsey disputes that claim. “Carl McCown was the first. Caleb was one of the original four, but not the first,” Bob stated in an interview in Action Pursuit Magazine in 1992. He continued, “Jerry Braun (Survival New York) was one of the early field owners as well.” According to Gurnsey there were four fields that were up and running months before any others. Within a relatively short time after the first field opened, NSG began helping people get fields open around the country. “NSG wasn’t even charging a franchise fee to open a field. They were just trying to sell paint and supplies,” Debra Dion Krischke remembered. Debra’s husband Ryan Krischke was one of the early field owners—his site was in the Pittsburgh area.
About a year after the first four fields opened there were 350 fields in virtually every region of the country. “It was chaotic,” Krischke recalled. There were people selling regions for $250,000 that weren’t even legally able to do so. They paid nothing for their regions and were selling sub-regions for hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Here we are just a little more than twenty years later and there are an estimated 2500 commercial playing fields in the U.S. alone, and hundreds more in Europe and around the rest of the world.
8. PMI Enters the Picture and Cuts A Deal with RP Scherer
9. Fall, 1983
Tournament Paintball Is Born – The First NSG Championships
The Unkown Rebels are the first International Champs
Just two years after the first game ever played, Bob Gurnsey’s National Survival Game hosted the first paintball tournament--the 1983 NSG Paintball Championships. Eight teams from the U.S. and Canada made their way to New London, New Hampshire to compete for the $1000 first place prize. Shooting oil-based, non-washable paint, these twelve-player teams played games that lasted 90 minutes each. Players were only allowed to carry 40 rounds of paint and three 12-gram C02 cartridges. The event was covered by People Magazine. The Unknown Rebels from Ontario, Canada won that first event, getting stiff competition from teams like Twelve Man Jury from Miami, the Buckaroos from San Jose, the Landsharks from New York, and Faces of Death from Ohio.
The NSG Championships continued as a yearly event until 1989 and was played at a variety of locations – Atlanta (1984), Houston (1985), Pittsburgh (1986 and 1987), Nashville (1988) and Cincinnati (1989). The format from the original event changed somewhat as time went on. Subsequent years saw the twelve-man format increase to fifteen-man, and game times decreased from 90 minutes to a mere 45 minutes. The limited paint format was nixed later as well.
“Do you remember the Pittsburgh field that the NPPL used to hold their event on? Well, the ’86 and ’87 NSG Championships were held at a field right on the same exact road, just a few hundred yards away. Isn’t that ironic?” --Debra Dion Krischke
10. Fall, 1984
Let the Cheating Begin
It wasn’t an All American, or Jeremy Salm, or an Ironmen, Navarone, or Wild Geese player that was the first known tournament player caught cheating. It wasn’t Marty Fisch in Pittsburgh or Joe Fortin either. It wasn’t Entourage, Redz Hurricanes, Shanon Mahone, or that guy that was shot in the shoulder in Reno about a dozen years ago. It wasn’t even Mike Bruno of Aftershock sneaking out of bounds and coming in behind his opponents at the World Cup. As a matter of fact, we will probably never know who the first player or team was that cheated—it’s all a distant memory now for those that were there.
The scene was the second annual National Survival Game Championships in Atlanta, Georgia. The event was a limited paint affair where players were only allowed to carry 40 rounds of paint onto the fields of play. Although players were frisked going onto the fields, it still didn’t stop the cheating. “We found paint stashed on the playing field,” Debra Dion Krischke remembered. It was the beginning of cheating in paintball because it was the beginning of paintball, period.
Cheating in paintball, especially at the tournament level has become almost an art form. It went from stashing paint on the field to wiping hits in the woods; from “freight trains” to playing the “dark side,” the side of the field with no spectators; from dumping liquid C02 into your paintgun to cracking the back block of your Autococker; from adjusting your velocity on the field to ramping cheater boards in today’s game. Cheating is here to stay people. Get used to it.
“People cheat…all people. I cheat, I admit that. At least I’m not a cheat and a liar.” –Ron Kilbourne, Bushwackers.
11. July 30, 1985
The NSG Splatmaster Unveiled
The First Marker Designed Specifically for the “Survival Game
(U.S. patent number 4,531,503 - issued July 30, 1985)
After the first game of paintball was played in the woods of New Hampshire with Nelson bolt-action pistols, Bob Gurnsey, Charles Gaines and Hayes Noel, three of the founding fathers of paintball, scraped together investment money and sketched a business plan to market paintball, then known as "The Survival Game," to the world. Lionel Atwill's initial article about the game introduced it to the populace, and with some of the last of their investment money, National Survival Game, or NSG, later placed an advertisement about the game in Sports Illustrated, and the phone began to ring. Thanks to such innovations as the water-based paintball from PMI/R.P. Scherer and NSG/Banner Gelatin in 1983, the Survival Game began to grow. The initial success of the Survival Game pumped money into the fledgling sport, and by 1985 NSG was able to design and produce their own paintball gun, the Splatmaster.
The Splatmaster was a green polymer pistol, firing paintballs from a ten-round tube magazine placed horizontally above the barrel, which was plastic. To **** the paintball gun, a plunger at the rear of the receiver was pushed in, chambering a paintball. Air was supplied from a twelve-gram CO2 capsule inserted into the bottom of the pistol grip. Retailing for approximately seventy-nine dollars, the Splatmaster was, at first, sold only to official Survival Game dealers. After approximately one year of dealer-only sales, National Survival Game made overtures to major firearm and sports shows, and began developing relationships with reps and distributors that helped move the Splatmaster into mass merchants such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Sports Authority. The Splatmaster became a hot seller, and was the first mass-marketed paintball gun ever created.
Eventually, over one hundred thousand Splatmasters were manufactured, and by 1987 a successor, the double-action Splatmaster Rapide, was introduced. It too was extremely successful, with over twenty thousand selling out quickly. The Rapide featured the ability to fire as quickly as the trigger was pulled, and a gravity-fed magazine that held twenty paintballs in four, five-round tubes. As each tube was emptied, the magazine was rotated, supplying another tube of paintballs to the shooter. By the end of the road for the Rapide, over 75,000 were sold, making the Splatmaster and the Rapide two of the earliest key inventions in the foundation of paintball.
Tom Cottrill, who worked with Bob Gurnsey from the beginning, said, "I remember the beginning of others in the marketplace, meaning competition. But we all decided this was actually a good thing; it would help make the pie bigger and it was up to us to maintain our position in the new industry. Competition meant the industry was here to stay. We eventually manufactured over 100,000 Splatmasters."
Elsewhere in 1985
Ronald Reagan begins second term as President of the United States
Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the USSR
Terrorists from the PLO hijack the Achille Lauro cruise ship
Reagan and Gorbachev meet at Summit
First games played in the UK and the Start of Worldwide Paintball
A Mini History by Pete “Robbo” Robinson and John Amodea
Paintball in Europe first began in the UK where sites began to spring up in 1984. Unlike that first burst of paintball mania in the U.S. in 1981-83, the game started out slowly in the UK. Fields opened sporadically and the game was built one player at a time. In 1988 the Survival Splatmaster Championship, the first serious tournament, was held just outside London in a place called Hatfield. The event played host to 16 teams that included Bart Farmer’s Bart’s Stud Squad, Steve Mattacott’s Bad Company, Robbo’s Nam Wreckin’ Crew (NWC) and the Terminators. At this stage of the UK’s development, tournaments were 15-man and the following year brought the hugely successful Mayhem Series that was held in Coventry; the Bart’s Stud Squad eventually won the tournament with Bad Company placing second and NWC third.
The early days of UK tournament ball were dominated by these three teams, with the Barts Stud Squad being the powerhouse. But at the next Mayhem Masters Championships that were held in Finmere in 1990, the emergence of the UK Predators took everybody by storm. Marcus Davis, captain and driving force of the Predators steered his team to an unexpected win, and the next six or so years not only saw them completely dominate the UK and Europe, but also saw the tournaments go from 15-man to ten.
The mid nineties also saw an explosion in the number of paintball sites opening up in England reaching a maximum of about 250, but as the late nineties began to draw near, a decline was seen in both these and the number of teams entering tournaments. During this period, France and Sweden had began to expand their tournament scenes and with teams like the Tontons and Joy Division bursting onto the scene, it wasn’t long before the supremacy of the Brits was challenged.
The Tontons from France were really the first team to break the Brit stranglehold and in the new era of Sup ‘Air Ball (ironically invented by one of the Ton Tons, Laurent Hamet) and Hyperball, they had begun to take hold of the tournament circuit. The Preds had now faded into obscurity and once Marcus Davis decided to retire in 1996, the fate of the Preds declined.
The mid-nineties also saw countries like Norway, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and most of the rest of Europe playing serious paintball, albeit illegally in some places.
In the late nineties, the Europeans began to organize themselves into a coherent tournament circuit that would endeavor to emulate its Stateside counterpart of the NPPL. The Millennium circuit was born and with the likes of Laurent Hamet heading up its board, a series of five tournaments spread over Europe and ensured a varied calendar for the serious Euroballer.
With venues like Toulouse, France and Stockholm, Sweden, it wasn’t long before the Americans began to come over and start to contest, adding to the credibility of the circuit. Ironically, as this tournament series evolved with all the razzmatazz and marketing expertise of Laurent Hamet, the series began to show the Americans just how to promote big tournaments. Crowds of five thousand people would come to Toulouse to watch the finals which were housed in soccer stadiums, while Stateside, the flagship tournament of the NPPL, the World Cup, was still being held at a farm auction site with little or no spectator seating, spectators, or fanfare. The Europeans truly paved the way for tournament paintball.
Brass Eagle Founded by Aldo Perrone
When Brass Eagle was founded by Aldo Perrone in 1985 it was a completely different Brass Eagle than what you may know of today. This wasn’t the mass merchant supplier of today and it wasn’t publicly traded—Perrone’s Brass Eagle was a fairly small company in its early days, but they did many unique and innovative things.
Perrone’s company warehouse and offices were located in Toronto Canada, not far from where their first paintball brand, Zap Paintballs, would be manufactured beginning in 1990. That’s right; Zap Paintball was once a part of the Brass Eagle line. Brass Eagle’s first paintbgun, the Nightmare, was introduced in ’85. Under Perrone’s leadership and with the help of Nick Oddo, the company’s general manager, Brass Eagle introduced an extensive line of markers including the Cobra, King Cobra, Ninja, and the Barracuda and Jaguar, both of which were double-action, semiautomatic guns. Later they releases two true semi-autos—the Golden Eagle and the Poison.
In 1993 Daisy began manufacturing products for the growing Brass Eagle under a license agreement. Within a year the company’s sales topped the 2.5 million dollar mark. By 1995 those sales numbers doubled and Daisy purchased assets to include certain intellectual property from Brass Eagle and places Brass Eagle as a “product line” within the Daisy corporate structure. Aldo Perrone was out of the picture and under the Daisy name the company continued to grow.
This story continues at Moment 55, “Brass Eagle Sold to Daisy”
Water Base Paint Replaces Oil Base
As the game of paintball gained in popularity, oil based paint, intended for marking trees for excavation was becoming a problem. Goggles, clothes, and that thing we call the environment were not very oil-base friendly. The hard part for the manufactures was the chemistry of making a water-based paintball. The fill needed to be compatible with the gelatin shell; it would need to be water soluble, but contain no water; it would need to contain pigments but be thick enough as to mark a player long enough to clearly see the hit. Quite the challenge.
Although water base paint was beginning to show itself on the various fields in the U.S. by late 1984, it was in the next year (1985) that it became the industry standard. That’s not to say that all was perfect with these new balls. Players were often seen rolling their paint in dry dirt or even graphite powder to keep them from sticking together. The paint was inconsistent at best for the first full season of use, but things were at least headed in the right direction.
RP Scherer, the Florida based pharmaceuticals encapsulator, was the first to produce these new water soluble balls, which would finally relieve players from having to clean their gear and themselves with turpentine after a day’s play. After the introduction of water based paintballs, the industry experienced its first real growth explosion. Water based paint made it easy to want to play paintball, and easy TO play paintball.
Wayne Dollack 'Invents' Scenario Paintball
As huge as scenario paintball is right now, not many people know how long ago it was started. One recent paintball magazine article stated, “Scenario paintball started around 1995.” If they had added, “give or take a decade” they would have been okay, as the first scenario game was actually played in 1985. The game’s creator Wayne Dollack told us, “The first scenario game was called Operation CIA (Cash in Action), and everybody that came to play, all 38 of them, put a couple of dollars in into a pot. The purpose of the scenario was to find a tower that had been constructed and hidden on the field. The team that found the tower and took it away from the folks that were defending it got to split the money.”
Unlike today’s scenario games, that one lasted only eight hours (today’s games are usually 24-hour games). Dollack added, “One day I thought it would be fun to have a night game. We would start playing at twilight and continue until... whenever. The shadows change so you can get a lot closer to someone creeping around. So we organized a couple of these night games and they went really well. So then we decided to go straight through the night, into the next day and play 24 hours." Those early games often included players such as Diane “Mother” Howe (and later her husband “Pacman”), Spiro Mamaligas, Viper and many others that went on to produce their own scenarios later.
When we asked Wayne about the origins of role playing he said, “Lenny Lancaster was a Vietnam Veteran, who played paintball with us at the Survival Zone. He used to play role-playing board games. He did fictionalized war games, where you would roll dice and move accordingly. He used to go to the National Board Games in Texas where he was known as GOD (Game Operations Director). Lenny played about three of those early 24 hours game. One day he came to me and asked, ‘Have you ever thought, instead of just a story line, actually using role playing, where players could portray another person for the period of the game.’ I thought that was a great idea, so we incorporated what he had done in the board games into what we were doing in our scenario games. That's how the role-playing part came into the scenario game.”
As Wayne Dollack’s games evolved, props and costumes became an integral part of their show. Dollack’s games are truly a unique experience. The Wayne Dollack Grand Finale is one of the most anticipated events in tournament year after year.
Frontline Magazine, the Industry’s First Paintball-Only Publication
Details of Frontline Magazine are difficult to come by. This mostly west coast magazine was the first in paintball. It was published in Huntington Beach and circulated throughout California and sparsely distributed east of the state.
Frontline helped shape paintball in two ways; it was the first paintball-only magazine and it inspired CWF Enterprises, who at that time published only Marshall Arts magazines, to release Action Pursuits Magazine, the first widely distributed magazine in paintball. Aside from NSG’s newsletter, Frontline offered the first documented account of what was going on in paintball.
Other magazine firsts:
Paintball Sports International - August, 1989
Paintball Consumer Reports International – March, 1992
Paintball Ragazine, 1996
1985 – Also in paintball:
Fred Shultz played his first game of paintball
Gramps and Grizzly, the Originators of Constant Air
When was the last time you heard a C02 tank referred to as Αconstant air≅? Ever? When Gramps and Grizzly (as legend has it) introduced the first bulk C02 tanks for paintball guns in 1986 the industry collectively shrieked, 'How much technology are we going to allow in this game?' That’s exactly how players were feeling, especially on the east coast. For several years tournament promoters and field owners were divided whether or not to allow constant air systems onto their fields. After-all, with the Six Pack and other 12-gram C02 changers a player could shoot several balls per second. Many felt there were enough technological advancements in the game already. But as usual, technology won over tradition.
Constant air hit the Southern California market in late late1985 amidst much controversy. This technology allowed players to shoot hundreds of balls without changing tanks, and at that time you would be lucky to get 25 shots from a 12-gram C02 cartridge. Commercial fields were forced to split the constant air equipped gun users so both teams would have equal firepower. Even then, many players felt that constant air guns shot harder than 12-gram markers. Back in those days chronographs were few and far between. By 1987 most established fields has at least one chronograph and it was proven that constant air, in and of itself, was no more “powerful” than C02 powerlets. Many players will tell you that once chronographs hit the scene in a big way it was discovered that many of the old Nelspots and PGP’s were shooting 375 feet per second with a fresh 12-gram.
“Something most people don’t remember is that in the tournament world, most teams played with 12-grams long after constant air was introduced. It was almost like cheating if you used constant air those first few years.” – Tom Kaye, Airgun Designs
US Military Academy Starts First College Paintball Club
Paintball clubs at the college level are astonishingly diverse, successful, and organized and it all started when the United States Military Academy formed the first club back in 1986. It was the first of its kind and it is still active today (www.armypaintball.com) in both the tournament and big game sectors of paintball.
There are now more than 240 university paintball clubs in the U.S. and the National Collegiate Paintball Association (www.college-paintball.com) was created by college players to promote and grow the sport at the collegiate level.
The NCPA (National Collegiate Paintball Association) has kept tournament event scores and rankings since 2001, with as many as 31 university teams participating in the six event series. Some of the participating schools include, Purdue University Boilermakers, Rutgers University Scarlet Knights, Clemson University Tigers, Virginia Tech Hokies, United States Military Academy Army and many others.
Music Promoter Turns to Paintball: The Music City Open in Nashville, Tennessee
After Bob Gurnsey got the ball rolling on tournament paintball, Jim Lively and his company Lively Promotions took tournament paintball to the next level. Lively had been working with Gurnsey’s
From Rock and Load to Gravity: The Stick Feed Modification
(U.S. Patent USD0314021 Applied for December, 1987, Received January 22, 1991)
For the first six year of paintball rapid firing could be measured in seconds per ball, not balls per second. Feeding paintballs into your gun’s chamber required you to turn your gun upside down or to the side, essentially shaking the balls into the chamber, especially if you owned a PGP or a Nelspot 007. There were other paintguns around during those days, but the PGP and Nelspot were considered the hi-end guns of their day.
As new Sheridan guns were release to the marketplace, guns like the Sheridan Rifle and the PMI II, a few airsmiths were doing gravity feed modifications for many of the serious players. The first gravity feed modification simply involved extending the horizontal feed tube upward from the rear of the marker. The problem with this design was that once the level of balls in the stick feed got low enough, there was not enough downward pressure to push the balls down the vertical feed and horizontal tube and into the gun’s chamber. After some rethinking, airsmiths were then removing the horizontal tube altogether and welding/soldering a small “direct feed nipple” which allowed a player to attach the stick feed directly onto the elbow just above the gun’s chamber.
The gravity stick feed modification allowed players to have 25-plus balls ready to fire, while freeing the player of having to tilt the gun to feed paint into the chamber. This was as good as it got until the Ammo Box was invented.
“I remember calling some guy in New Jersey about adding gravity feed setup to my Sheridan Rifle. I think it was 1988. I met him in a movie theatre parking lot in the pouring rain one night to drop off the gun. A few days later I picked it up in the same place. ‘That guy’ turned out to be Rick XXXXXXXXX of Top Gun Paintball I found out years later.”—John Amodea
21. March, 1987
Tippmann Hits the Scene (and brings the first full automatic paintgun - SMG-60)
Did you know SMG stands for Sub Machine Gun
In 1986, paintball was growing quickly. Technology in paintball was growing as well, with the "rock-and-cock" paintball guns with which the sport was created rapidly giving way to direct-fed pump models like the Bushmaster. As an industry, paintball was rife with innovation, and it was at this juncture that Dennis Tippmann, Senior, a former firearms manufacturer, introduced his first paintball gun to the game, the SMG-60. The SMG-60 was like nothing paintball had ever seen before, and it completely changed the direction in which paintball gun design, manufacture and use was heading forever.
SMG-60 fired sixty caliber paintballs from five-round plastic stripper clips fed through a fifteen-round box magazine at the side of the receiver. SMG stands for "Sub Machine Gun," a moniker that the SMG-60 truly deserved, as it was both fully automatic and semiautomatic, the first paintball gun of either kind in the industry. Available in three models, the short-barreled Bulldog, the standard model and the long-barreled Sniper version, the SMG-60 used another new innovation, screw-in constant air bottles, to hammer paintballs downrange in excess of 300 feet per second at 500 rounds per minute. At paintball fields across America that were still populated entirely by pump and stock class paintball guns, the SMG-60, or "Smig" as it became known, quickly developed a reputation for brutality on the playing field, as players equipped with it were able to lay down suppressive fire and move around or through even large groups of pump-gun-wielding opponents who were easily dominated by its firepower. Eventually, however, the pump players learned that like any other monster, the SMG-60 had an achilles heel, its fifteen round magazine, that was quickly depleted by players ripping off bursts of paintballs. Once the SMG stopped firing and needed to be reloaded, players learned to rush the SMG-toting player and eliminate him before he could push more stripper clips into his paintball gun. In addition to its reputation as a weapon of mass destruction on the paintball field, Tippmanns also garnered a reputation that has stuck to this day: the ultimate reliability and support. Players could jump, crawl, dive and creep through rough terrain, water, mud, sand or nuclear war, and their Tippmann would always function, and if it didn't, Tippmann would make it work, plain and simple.
Once the industry and sport of paintball began to standardize to a .68 caliber paintball, the SMG-60/62 gave way to the SMG-68, a semi-automatic version of the same paintball gun. Pump paintball guns, the SL-68 and SL-68 2, that proved indestructible, came into the picture from Tippmann as well, in 1990 and 1991, respectively. Their first true semiautomatic paintball gun, the 68 Special, was released in late 1990/early 1991 to rave reviews for its simplicity, firepower and reliability. Items unique to Tippmann that endeared their products to their owners, other than their signature reliability, included the sling that allowed a weary player to throw their paintball gun over their shoulder on the way back to the staging area and constant air, that enabled them to out shoot and overwhelm any twelve-gram shooting opponent. Tippmann pioneered the development and eventual adoption of constant air CO2 tanks as the accepted form of propellant for paintball guns throughout the early and mid-nineties with seven-ounce tanks, and later their "Super Tanker" twelve and twenty-ounce bottles. Even their advertising was better than most, as in a day when many companies relied on fuzzy black and white pictures or even sketches to show off their gear, Tippmann was using full-color, professionally photographed and arranged advertising.
In 1992 came the Pro/Am, and with it the configuration for paintball guns for years to come. A bottom-line CO2 setup was standard, the paintball gun was streamlined and the large outer linkage arm that slapped the thumbs of so many 68 Special-toting players had been minimised and moved within the body of the Pro/Am. Advertised with the "You Don't Play Half-Way, Don't Buy a Gun That Way" statement that struck home for any player in search of the ultimate in reliability, the Pro/Am became a best-seller rapidly. After a long stint of success with the Pro/Am, Tippmann returned to the drawing board and perfected its design, releasing the Pro-Lite in 1994. This paintball gun became the standard rental paintball gun for many fields across the country and most are still in service today, as no one has yet figured out quite how to break one. Featuring a similar but updated Pro/Am design and a much lighter, carbon fiber grip that greatly reduced its weight, the Pro-Lite was one of the best paintball guns ever designed. Model after Tippmann model received rave reviews in magazines and the coveted four-star seal of quality from Paintball Consumer Reports.
Passing through the 68 Carbine and Factory Full-Auto on their way, Tippmann again completely reinvented their wheel with the 1998 release of the Model 98, which was a complete departure from anything seen from Tippmann before. "It was so different from anything Tippmann had ever made before, I wasn't sure it would work for them" stated long-time Tippmann friend and paintball gun builder Tom Kaye of Airgun Designs. The Model 98 featured a revolutionary clamshell design that split the receiver into two halves, essentially creating a paintball gun that was encased in aluminum, making it virtually indestructible. A vertical fore grip reminiscent of something from a "tommy gun" helped it stand out and large barrel threads, a swing-down hopper adapter, stainless steel bottom line hose and light, fast trigger made it an instant hit. A refined version, the 98 Custom, was released at the turn of the century that retained the great features of the Model 98, but was updated to be upgraded with the plethora of custom modifications available from Tippmann, including the Flatline barrel system, a backspin barrel that launched paintballs over one hundred feet farther than any other paintball gun at the same velocity, double trigger systems, low-pressure kits and the machine-gunning Reactive Trigger kit that put SMG firewpower back into the hands of Tippmann players. The 98 Custom was even used by Tippmann's factory team, Tippmann Effect, to win the 2002 International Amateur Open's seven-man division.
Tippmann's latest paintball gun, the A5, was again a complete departure from anything seen from the Indiana company before. Field stripping like a firearm and resembling a submachine gun, the A5 turned heads when it was released thanks to its look and its function. Using a revolutionary Cyclone Feed System, the A5 slings paintballs into its breech for firing by using air from the firing paintball gun to spin a propeller. Unlike nothing else in paintball, the A5 has become Tippmann's latest success story. Recently, Tippmann was reorganized and came under the auspices of Summit Partners, an international firm with holdings well in excess of five billion dollars. With a new 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility, new investors and new products, Tippmann, so great a part of paintball's history, is certain to be a driving force in paintball's future.
"When you're building a house, you have to start with a strong foundation. The basement goes in first. We definitely have a strong foundation and a solid basement here with Tippmann. In addition to retaining the aspects of customer service and quality that have made Tippmann a leader in the industry, we're going to focus on increasing the marketing and advertising of Tippmann, and broadening the scope of the Tippmann product line," said Tippmann's new CEO Howard Kosick.
Elsewhere in 1986
William H. Rehnquist approved as Supreme Court Justice
Nuclear disaster at Chernobyl power station in Russia shocks the world
America attacks Libya
Iran/Contra scandal rocks the Reagan administration
Scott and JT Save The Day
Finally, Goggles Made for Paintball
Uvex goggles and a Woodstalk mask—that was the standard of the day pre 1988 (and post '88 at some fields). It’s amazing people were not hurt more often by the paintballs flying in the woods around the world, as chronographs were not widely used and goggles were little more than a suggestion, rather than the norm, throughout the early years of the sport. When players began to realize that face protection was nearly as important as eye protection in paintball, they began to use the green plastic Woodstalk mask, that provided some face protection and could be worn underneath goggles. The first goggle/facemask system to provide full throat, temple and ear protection specifically for paintball was the PMS (Protection Means Safety) plastic mask, that attached to several models of goggles including UVEX ski goggles, which were withdrawn from the paintball marketplace in the early nineties. Z-Leader entered the paintball marketplace in the early nineties with their goggle and facemask combination, which provided solid face protection and a comfortable fit.
In spite of all the goggle and face mask models available for paintball during the late eighties and early nineties, it was two popular motocross companies that turned the tide of paintball facewear towards safety and style once and for all. In 1987 John Gregory, Marty Tripes and JT Racing entered the paintball marketplace with its GSX Pursuit, Whipper Snapper and OTG goggle and facemask systems, then introduced the Crossfire mask in 1991, which was one of the first truly professionally constructed goggle/facemask systems in the sport. The first paintball field to exclusively offer JT goggles to their players as Arizona Survival Games. JT also innovated in paintball with their dual pane thermal lenses, which helped players play the game without fogged goggles in most weather conditions. By the mid-nineties, JT was selling Crossfire systems and their hottest new paintball goggle, the Spectra, as fast as they could be manufactured. At one time the largest motocross clothing manufacturer in the world, JT devoted itself to paintball throughout the nineties and was eventually sold to Brass Eagle in 2000.
Meanwhile, Scott, another leading ski and motocross manufacturer, founded in 1958 by Ed Scott, also entered the paintball industry the late nineteen eighties. The Scott Panorama protection system was used by 1989/1990 Music City Open champions the Florida Terminators, 1990 World Champion team Navarone, 1991 Champions the Ironmen, and Aftershock, Top Gun and Bad Company in the early nineties. Eventually, Scott would employ legendary motocross rider Marty Tripes, who had also worked for JT. In 1991, another paintball goggle company, Vents, entered the scene with their impressive Predator goggle systems, which became popular with players across the country. Worn by such teams as Phantom Force, the Vents goggle system proved reliable, safe and performed well. Scott acquired Vents in the mid-nineties and closed the line down, to the dismay of many paintball players.
In 1994, the American Society for Testing and Materials Eye Safety Subcomittee began researching paintball and established a task force with the goals of regulating paintball protective eyewear and ensuring the safety of those who played the game. By 1997 their standard, ASTM F1776, was published and paintball goggles finally received the scrutiny and regulation required to keep players safe. Now joined by VForce, JT continues to produce goggles for the paintball industry, as does Scott, in a diminished capacity.
"My first game was played in Gargoyle sunglasses, at the time we all were playing with Splatmasters, so the Gargoyles seemed like a better idea than playing without any eye protection," said Larry Motes, promoter of the Carolina Field Owners Association. "At the time, I felt mostly safe, but was aware of the potential risk involved. In the next couple of years, we used everything from shop goggles to raquetball goggles for eye protection. Shortly after that, JT and Scott had released their Xfire and Stalker goggle systems. After the guys in our group obtained their first made for paintball eye protection, we were quick to understand how fortunate we had been while using inappropriate eye protection for so long. Once we knew better, we all felt foolish and reckless."
Elsewhere in 1988
George Bush defeats Michael Dukakis in Presidential Election
Pakistan elects first woman prime minister, Benazir Bhutto
US Navy mistakenly shoots down an Iranian airliner
1987 – Also in Paintball
U.S. patent 4,634,606 granted January 6, 1987 to George A Skogg for the first washable paintball.
The Phantom and Bushmaster Dominate the Gun Market
Mike Cassidy and Jerry Dobbins (with the help of Ross Alexander) shook up the paintball industry in 1988 when each introduced their hi-end pump-guns, the Phantom (Cassidy) and the Bushmaster (Dobbins/Alexander).
1988 – Also in Paintball
After a long court battle, Ray Gong got paintball legalized in the state of New Jersey.
Bud Orr’s Worr Game Products introduces the 45-round Ammo Box.
24. March, 1986
The Guns of Navarone: Tournament Paintball First - Dynasty
“The team that wears their paint tubes upside down”
Who could forget that Line SI ad for the Bushmaster? Navarone had been dominating competitive paintball and Line SI, their gun sponsor designed an ad that pictured all of the team Bushmasters with the tagline, 'The Guns of Navarone.' Classic. A year before “the ad” Navarone became the first-ever factory sponsored paintball team. Captain, Andy Greenwell later developed the moderately successful “Blade” paintgun.
One of the most amazing things about Navarone’s early run was that they never used constant air—the team vowed to win their events using 12-gram guns while the rest of the field chose the more high-tech constant air markers. In their second incarnation in the mid 90s Navarone finally joined the rest of the tournament word and upgraded to constant air.
The history of Navarone is an interesting and successful one. Andy Greenwell and six playing mates one March afternoon in 1986 decided to take their weekend playing a bit more seriously deciding to call the group “The Guns of Navarone.” They were finally officially a team. They later shortened the team name to “Navarone” and at the request of their first sponsor, JT Racing, changed the name again to “Team Navarone.” Most people simply called them Navarone. For about five years Navarone was as good as any team in the world, winning or placing in every event they played, both locally and nationally.
When the team began the seven initial players put together a handbook that described the team’s goal to win the NSG Championships and detailed every important point as to how they were going to accomplish this. Prospective members would each receive a copy of this book and those that could not make the commitment to follow the team’s stringent guidelines and plan to become champions, were asked to leave.
Within one year Navarone reached their goal as National Champions, winning the 1987 New York Air Pistol Open event.
Gino Postorivo Starts South Jersey Paintball
The Origins of National Paintball Supply East
Gino Postorivo was barely 20 years old when he started selling paintball products in a small display case in his father’s pizzeria in Mantua, New Jersey. His company was then known as South Jersey Paintball, which he started with a mere $1000. “I fired a paintgun for the first time in November of 1989,” Postorivo recently recalled. Just a few months after firing that paintgun, Gino was playing regularly with friends, most of whom were buying their gear from him.
Postorivo bought his first batch of paintball products from National Paintball Supply, then owned by Rick Fairbanks in Greenville, South Carolina. Within nine months his company was the largest National Paintball Supply dealer in the U.S. “Rick called me one day and me to meet with him in Greenville, which I did. That’s when he asked me to use the name National Paintball Supply East instead of South Jersey Paintball. That’s how the whole thing got started,” Gino explained.
1989 – Also in Paintball
The original Viewloader is introduced.
The Ironmen, Lockout, Bad Company, and Bushwackers were nationally ranked.
26. May 7th, 1989
Tournament Ball Comes Out of the Woods
SC Village Debuts “Speedball”
Picture this: It’s 1989 and virtually every tournament played to date has been in the woods. Players all wore full camos and most didn’t wear facemasks--only goggles. Constant air tanks were rarely seen and there were no bulk hoppers, players carried their paint in ten-round tubes, and you play all day on 200 rounds of paint. Got it? Out of the blue SC Village, SoCal’s premier paintball field introduces this new concept field/game known as “Speedball.” The field is 30 by 60 yards with brightly painted pallets and huge tires used for bunkers and the field is completely enclosed by a solid eight-foot wall with netting above. Each side of the field is a mirror image of the other. The game is designed for seven players per side and games are quick and action packed. It sounds more like 2004 than 1989, doesn’t it?
Today many players use the term speedball to describe any tournament game played in an arena setting. What most people don’t know is that the game “Speedball,” conceived by Ken ****ani, a visionary that worked as field manager at SoCal’s SC Village in 1989, was a trademarked, very specific version of paintball. ****ani’s vision was to design a game that was more spectator friendly and less military-looking and he clearly captured that long before tournament paintball came out of the woods for good in the late 1990s.
Speedball premiered on May 7th, 1989 to a crowd of more than 400 players attending SC Villages Monster game and trade show. Just over a month later, (June 17-18) the first tournament was held at SC Village’s Speedball field and players showed up in Hawaiian shirts, shorts, red jumpsuits, and baseball pants.
“I played my first game of Speedball at Survival New York in 1990, which I believe had the second Speedball field in the U.S. They called it “Arenaball,” but it was a very close copy of the SC Village Speedball field. It was my first tournament ever and I had a blast, despite the 10-degree weather that day. The Master Blasters won that event.” – John Amodea
1989 – Also in Paintball
1. Bart Stud Squad wins Mayhem (UK)
2. Florida Terminators win Jim Lively’s Music City Open
3. The Razorback pump gun is released
4. Brass Eagle debuts the Barracuda and Jaguar semiautos
5. The Boonie Rate win the TCC Midland, Texas tournament
27. May 26-27, 1990
First Annual Paintcheck Five-Man
The Largest Tournament to Date
Back in the 1980s and early 90s Pennsylvania’s Skirmish USA was the Mecca for east coast tournament paintball. From the legendary Rhododendrons to the boulder fields and creeks, Skirmish USA had every possible terrain imaginable. With 30-plus playing fields (even back then) Skirmish was huge in stature and in physical size. There’s even a rumor circulating that a player once got lost and spent the night amongst the deer, black bear, and other assorted wildlife found on the field’s property.
With all of its grandness Skirmish USA was the easy choice of Claudia Weilikson, Publisher of Paintcheck Magazine for the first annual “Paintcheck Five-Man” tournament. Top level teams like the California Black Diamonds (featuring Shane Pestana, Chuck Hendsch and others), Master Blasters, Wild Geese, Bushmasters, Lords of Discipline Piranhas, Wild Geese, and many others attended this event which became a mainstay until the magazine was purchased by Rick Fairbanks in 1993. There were 57 teams in attendance for this tournament, which made it the biggest event of the year.
Playing the huge rhododendron fields at Skirmish was an adventure. On a good day you could sprint down one tapeline, cross a creek or two, cut through the thick Rhodos, and get to your opponent’s flag station without anyone seeing you and without firing a single shot. It was that kind of field—fun to play, almost impossible to ref. On this weekend the PMI Piranhas reigned supreme, taking home the $5000 and free entry into the Line SI Masters later that year. The Lords of Discipline finished second and the Master Blasters placed third.
The first Paintcheck five-man also featured a pretty hot trade show. Brass Eagle introduced their Golden Eagle semiauto, Jim Cain was showing off his new Black Widow pump-gun, and Tippmann had their new SL-68 on hand for players to test fire.
After that first Paintcheck event the tournament moved to the Jack Frost Ski area just a few miles from the original Skirmish location.
“I played in that event with a pickup team. We registered about a week before the event and didn’t have a team name. When we got to the event, Skirmish field manager Barry Hill told me, ‘I named your team the Reflections.’ That was pretty creative on Barry’s part. I worked for a company that manufactured mirrors and Barry’s brother worked for me.” – John Amodea
“I remember that event like it was yesterday. That was our first tournament on the east coast. We played really…finished sixth. Not bad for our first major tournament!” – Chuck Hendsch (California Black Diamonds, now President of the NPPL)
From Robots to Paintball: Gaze the Automag
Tom Kaye and Airgun Designs have been involved with paintball for longer than most current paintball players have been alive. After stints creating machines that printed names on pieces of bubble gum, building facemasks and then making products like the "Six Pack" twelve-gram quick change, Kaye and company set to work building their own semiautomatic paintball gun in the late nineteen eighties. Airgun Designs concluded, after a prototype known as the "Panther" was produced, that the blowback operation utilized by the semiautomatic paintball guns of the day was incapable of performing to the level they desired, so they did away with their "Panther" design and returned to the drawing board, completely wiping the slate clean. Re-engineering the entire concept of the semiautomatic paintball gun, what came off the drawing board and into the hands of paintball players was to change the paintball industry. In 1990 the Automag was born.
Firing as quickly as a player could pull the trigger, the Automag was built around the concept that air returning the hammer and bolt to the cocked position after a spring drove it forward to fire a ball was an unreliable design. Instead, the Automag utilized a blow forward operation that used regulated air to push the bolt forward, and a spring to return it after each paintball was fired. Constructed entirely of stainless steel and aluminum, the Automag was built on the cornerstones of durability and reliability, and both the Automag and Airgun Designs itself quickly garnered a world-wide reputation as the very best. A regulator was built in to the Automag, which field-stripped with the removal of only one bolt, and the aluminum barrel removed quickly and easily with just a quick turn and pull, preventing it from unthreading during a game. The Automag featured the first power feed design ever, a concept that used excess blowback air from the firing of each paintball to ricochet the next paintball into the breech, greatly reducing chops and ball breaks.
"It was a strange feeling traveling across the country to places you had never been to or heard of and seeing stuff that you built being used on the fields," said Automag creator and legendary paintball industrialist Tom Kaye. Kaye continued "Having strangers come up to you and thank you for their marker, like they have known you for years, was an experience I will never forget. To see an industry emerge and grow up was a rare treat only experienced by a few lucky people. I was doubly lucky to have contributed something to its growth." While Kaye considers himself lucky to have contributed to paintball, those in paintball's most respected circles consider themselves lucky to be a colleage of Kaye, as he is widely known and respected as one of, if not the most intelligent man in the industry.
Quickly adopted by top teams around the world and players everywhere who desired the very best, the Automag began winning tournaments. Teams including Bad Company, the Jacksonville Warriors, Rage, the SOB's, Phantom Force (east), Bad Company Two, the Palm Beach Predators and members of Aftershock all used the Automag to win tournaments and play paintball at the highest levels of the game. Some of the earliest legends in paintball, including Oh "The Pro You Know" Pawlak and Fred Schultz of early professional team Constant Pursuit shot Automags to win numerous trophies. Having since evolved into models including the RT, EMag, RT Pro and XMag, the Automag design and concept have soldiered on through the years, still reliably shooting paintballs all over the world. As one of only three surviving paintball gun manufacturers from the nineteen-eighties, AGD continues to innovate today at www.airgun.com and supports the most popular paintball gun owners group in the world, www.automags.org as well.
Other News from 1990
Drug Czar Manuel Noriega surrenders to American authorities after the US invades Panama
Nelson Mandela is freed from prison in South Africa
The Hubble space telescope is launched
Iraqi troops under leader Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait
East and West Germany reunite into a single German state
Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister of Great Britain
Source: Airgun Designs, Airgun.com, Automags.org, Tom Kaye
1990 – Also in Paintball
1. The PMI Piranhas Win the North American Paintball Championships
2. The Splatmaster Rapide “Comp” was introduced
3. Bullseye Paintball’s George Statler publically challenges PMI’s Jeff Perlmutter to a one-on-one $10,000 paintball game
Glenn Palmer Shows the First Auto-Cocking Paintgun
The Sniper Morphs into the Autococker
31. August, 1991
“Tired of Getting Lit Up by the Pros?”
Team Effort Events/Cal Mag Amateur Open
Although there was no distinction between professional and amateur players or teams in 1991 Debra Dion Krischke, owner of Three Rivers Paintball and former NSG employee had a brilliant idea—to run a major paintball tournament for lower and mid-level paintball teams. This was the first major event to exclude teams like the Bushwackers, Constant Pursuit, Texas Storm, the Ironmen and the other unrecognized pro teams of the day. This was the event that that started “divisional” play at the major tournament level.
"I played in the first IAO and actually came in third (if I remember right)" said Tom Kaye, owner of Airgun Designs and creator of the Automag. "It was a different kind of tournament, with all amateurs playing there was a sort of camaraderie, an ease with the thought of just having fun. It felt good to be there and to compete. No hassles, no complaints and NO DRAMA! We all knew that this was an event we would come back too next year. More than a dozen years later I still haven't missed one!"
The event was a huge success for Krischke and all of the teams that attended, despite the truckloads of inferior paint manufactured by California Magnum. This was also the beginning of the end for the west-coast paintball manufacturer.
The IAO has continued on as the premier amateur tournament for fourteen years. Cranberry, Pennsylvania each July is to paintball what Liverpool, England in the 60s was to music—a breeding ground for new talent. Some of the teams that came through the IAO over the years on the way to the pro/am circuit include Bad Company, Nemesis, KAPP Factory, Lockout, OBR, Thunderstruck, the SOB’s, and many others.
What else was going on in 1991?
Operation Desert Storm forces Iraq out of Kuwait in the Persian Gulf
South Africa ends Apartheid
Anita Hill accuses Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, Thomas appointed to US Supreme Court
The Soviet Union dissolves as Gorbachev resigns, Commonwealth of Independent States takes its place
Boris Yeltsin becomes first freely elected president of Russia
32. October, 1991
The Fight: Idema and “Fast Eddie” Duke it Out
Love him or hate him Keith Idema is an original. This decorated former Green Beret has a passion for his country and had a passion for paintball. Idema’s now defunct company, Idema Combat Systems (ICS) manufactured web products such as paint-carrying vests, belt pouches, squeegee holders and the like. Later ICS introduced “Puppy Paint” which featured a dog print on each ball. Idema’s dog “Sargie” inspired the idea and also inspired Idema to begin the “Sargie Awards” at major tournaments. The Sargie awards were give out to the “coolest team,” “best dressed team” etc. at major events.
“Fast” Eddie Dovner owned a company called USI which manufactured a huge line of inexpensive, mostly knocked-off products. One of the knock-offs was a web vest called the Featherlite Vest, which was a watered-down version of the ICS Wolfen Vest. One thing about Idema everyone knew was that he was an original. The thought of someone knocking-off his products was a bit more than he could take and still sleep at night.
In October of 1991 at the Line SI Masters, Idema and Dovner were both in the trade show tent when the “incident” happened. According to Idema Dovner’s “bodyguards” assaulted him earlier and came back for more in the tent. Video taken at the scene clearly shows Dovner getting in Idema’s face and taking a swing at Idema, who then struck Dovner, knocking him down for the count.
Idema, rumor has it was so upset with Dovner for knocking off his product that he later started a ragazine (newsprint style mag) called “Paintball Planet.” The Planet was your basic watchdog publication and its editorial content was harsh. It was essentially Idema’s soapbox. In the first issue, December 2001, the centerfold had a pictorial time line of the fight. The Planet published six issues before being put to bed.
(Source: Paintball Planet (publication); interviews with Idema; Dovner could not be reached for comment.)
UK Preds Win on U.S. Soil
The rivalry between the U.S. and British teams was thick. Neither had won an event on the other’s turf, but that all changed when Marcus Davis and his Sterling-shooting buddies won the five-man “open” portion of the 1991 Line SI International Masters in Nashville, Tennessee. It wasn’t the coveted ten-man title, but it was significant. To this point in tournament paintball history no team from across the Atlantic had come to the U.S. and won an event…none. As impressive as this win was, the Preds finished in 23rd place in the ten-man portion of the event for which they were bitterly disappointed. The Preds five-man win at the ’91 Masters solidified the U.S./Brit rivalry which really heated up in 1993 after the formation of the National Professional Paintball League. The Preds were so dominant in Europe for a four year span that they were greatly feared in the U.S. and considered by most to be on par with the Ironmen, All Americans, and Aftershock until their breakup in the mid-1990s. Although they never won a major ten-man event in the U.S., they placed second in the 1992 and1993 World Cup events in New York.
So It Wasn’t Smart Parts, eh?
Was John Sosta’s Gun the First Fully Electronic Paintgun?
The year was 1971. The U.S. Navy filed a patent for a pneumatic “machine gun” with “photo cell interrupted circuit.” The patent was granted on October 3, 1972 (U.S. Patent number US003695246). Some wording from the “Abstract” in the patent may sound a little familiar to all of you electro-pneumatic toting paintballers, “A pellet firing pneumatic machine gun wherein a toothed wheel carries pellets from a hopper and conveyor assembly…through which the pellets are propelled by an air blast from a solenoid valve…”
Get this though, a 1958 patent (U.S. Patent number US002845055) was granted to E.J. Collins for an electro-pneumatic air rifle that was also solenoid driven. This was your basic BB or Pellet rifle, but way ahead of its time in that it was an electro-pneumatic firing gun.
35. March, 1992
PCRI: First ΑConsumer≅ Magazine for Paintball Players
As paintball slowly began to mature into a serious sport, and as the paintball industry began to find itself supplying a ever-growing number of players, the number of paintball products, both good and bad, increased. Throughout the early years of paintball the only source for information on the newest paintball products, from paintball guns to clothing and goggles, had been the paintball magazines that predominantly catered to whatever interests their advertisers desired and whatever rumors and gossip players could take from one-another. All this changed when, in spring 1992, a new magazine hit the scene, "Paintball Consumer Reports International, or "PCRI." Though the name was later changed to "Paintball Competitions and Ratings International" the mission never changed. PCRI quickly proved itself as the place to look for completely unbiased, fair, balanced and scientific reviews of paintball products of all kinds. PCRI's staff of paintball insiders allowed them to obtain the latest, hottest paintball products from the leading manufacturers and distributors, and their knowledge of the game of paintball allowed them to debunk rumors, disprove the lies and cut through the hype that so often surrounds paintball products even to this day. From bench-mounting paintball guns for accuracy testing to shooting holes in goggle lenses and measuring the average thickness of paintball shells, PCRI rated the products they tested on a four-star system, with the best products receiving the highest ratings of four stars. The industry quickly embraced the mission of PCRI and the "four star seal of quality" quickly became a regular statement in the advertisements of companies whose products made the grade. Likewise, many companies whose products were proven to be of questionable quality or poor manufacture often expressed dissatisfaction with PCRI, but the magazine soldiered on.
PCRI was much more than a magazine filled with gear reviews, however. PCRI also featured some of the very best reporting on and coverage of paintball tournaments, including the fledgeling NPPL when it was first created in the early nineties. In actuality, PCRI and its management even promoted some of the earliest NPPL tournaments across the country, helping professional paintball grow into what it is today. PCRI also featured in-depth interviews with team captains and industry leaders, and was applauded for the creation of the "PCRI Dream Team," in which the top players in the game voted for the best paintball players in the professional leagues, and the players with the most votes became that year's "Dream Team"
The World in 1992
President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin officially declare the end of the Cold War
Democratic Party nominates Bill Clinton and Al Gore as their candidates for the Presidency
Police officers accused in the beating of Rodney King are acquitted
The United Nations approves the creation of a United States-led force to protect human rights efforts in Somalia
US Forces officially pull out of the Philippines after almost 100 years
Prince Charles and Princess Diana agree to seperate in the United Kingdom
36. April 1992
Paintball is given its official Newsgroup
37. Nitrogen/High Pressure
Did you say ΑElectronic Hopper?≅
Dave Bell of Viewloader Introduces the VL-2000
When I saw the VL-2000 at the 1992 Paintcheck Five-Man tournament at Skirmish USA my first comment was, “There’s no paintgun made that can keep up with this system, so what’s the point?” Yes the Automag and Autococker were out at that time, but not many players had them and most of those that did couldn’t shoot them fast enough to outgun a standard non-motorized hopper. That changed quickly though as players got faster and as nitrogen/high pressure air allowed the guns to shoot at rapid rates without freezing up.
VL Shredder Introduced in 1995
1992 - Also in Paintball
PMI introduced the Trracer
All Americans win the International Masters Ten-Man, Paintcheck five-man
Ironmen win the Windy City Open
The Lords of Discipline break up
RP Scherer opens first paintball-only plant
39. November, 1992
Tournament players unite: The NPPL is Born
After nearly a decade of competition that began shortly after the creation of the game of paintball itself, the sport had evolved to a point resembling competitive paintball in the modern day, with "professional" paintball teams battling for tournament titles across the United States. Professional and amateur teams travelled the country playing in events that started with the National Survival Game Nationals, PBGA North American Tournament and Air Pistol Open and evolved into the Great Western Series, the Last Blast, the Splat-1 Indoor Paintball Championships and the Lively Productions Masters, Music City Open and more. As tournament paintball evolved, events moved from fifteen-man down to ten-man, where teams including Scream, the Lords of Discipline, the Black Diamonds, the Florida Annihilators, the All Americans, Aftershock, Constant Pursuit, the Bushwackers and, of course, the Ironmen, competed for cash, titles and bragging rights. Along the way to a form of paintball that would be recognized today, it became clear to the teams and players at the highest levels of the game that things needed to change in order to help the sport evolve from its predominantly recreational past into a true, professional sport.
As tournament promoters continued to raise entry fees and better represent their supporters, the manufacturers and distributors who were making money in paintball, it was the players who began to suffer. Tournament entrance fees rose, as did the costs of paintballs at what were predominantly "event paint only" tournaments, while the quality of officiating and reffing began to decline. Teams expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of prize money being paid back to the teams that populated and financed these events, but most complaints fell on deaf ears, until finally the players acted. Steve Davidson, longtime player and head of the World Paintball Federation, called a meeting to be held in November, 1992 in Chicago, at which representatives of the top teams, companies, leagues and the media could voice concerns, raise points of conflict and, hopefully, initiate changes that would lead competitive paintball into a new era.
When the meeting finally occured, representatives included members of Aftershock, the All Americans (including Adam and Billy Gardner), Fred Schultz of Constant Pursuit, Tom Cole of Bad Company, the Bushwackers, Bo Peep, Todd Inman of Green Machine and the International Paintball Players Association (IPPA), Friendly Fire, Master Blasters, New England Express, the SOB's, Swarm, Thunderstorm, the Wild Geese, the Black Diamonds and the Terminators. PMI, Vents Goggles, Russ Maynard and the Great Western Series, the Paintball Sports Series, Jerry Braun, Paintball News and Paintball Sports Magazine were also in attendance. Issues including entrance fees and prize money, promotions, referees, prizes and scheduling were immediately put on the table and broken down into committees to be discussed, and before long issues were being solved and tournaments were being planned for the 1993 season. Entrance fees were set and carved in stone, cost of paintballs was capped at three and four cents per paintball, and the competitive game was changed when it was agreed that virtually all penalties for in-game rules infractions would be handed down during play, on the field, in the form of one-for-one, two-for-one and three-for-one eliminations. For the duration of the 1993 season committees were set and Steve Davidson was installed as the first representative of what would be known as the National Professional Paintball League.
Promotions and Marketing
Fred Schultz, Constant Pursuit
Al Podufaly, NE Express
Ron Kilbourne, Bushwackers
Bill Gardner, All Americans
Adam Gardner, All Americans
Doug Haskins, Wild Geese
Chip Kuhrt, MUFFS
Bob Long, Ironmen
Kevin Donaldson, Master Blasters/Bo Peep
Al Podufaly, Expressed
Skip Swift, Thunderstorm
Cost and Prizes
Adam Gardner, All Americans
Rennick Miller, Aftershock
Fred Schultz, Constant Pursuit
The National Professional Paintball League agreed to host six, five and ten-man "pro-am" tournaments in 1993, that offered at least twenty thousand dollars in prize money, six weeks apart. Two professional teams would referee each event, with teams mixed on all fields, and these referees would be responsible for selecting and balancing the wooded playing fields. Events for the 1993 season would include San Diego, Dallas, Boston, New York and Reno, with entrance fees capped at 1500 dollars for field paint only events, and 1850 dollars at "bring your own paint" events. Prizes and trophies were mandated, and for the first time in paintball's history, the sport had its own true professional league, governed by the players, for the players. Many of those who attended are still involved in paintball, with some now leading the industry and the sport into the new millennium at the head of teams, companies and, of course, tournaments.
Elsewhere in the World in 1992
US Forces formally leave the Philippines
Czechoslovakia formally seperates into two nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (who didn't see that coming?)
US agrees to send troops to Somalia to support humanitarian efforts
Bill Clinton elected President of the United States
Sources: Paintball News, January 2, 1993
40. March 26-28, 1993
After a San Diego Washout, the NPPL Hold First Event
41. Fall, 1993
The Infamous Reno Tape: Does the Camera Tell the Whole Story About Cheating?
The first truly professional paintball tournament video ever released, Aloha Productions' NPPL Reno coverage was filled with all the things that make paintball tournament videos successful even to this day. An opening title sequence with clips of all the best players and teams in the world including Bob Long and Dave Youngblood of the Ironmen, Adam and Billy Gardner of the All Americans, Tom Cole of Bad Company and Renick Miller and Aftershock, commercials from Splat Action, Worr Game Products, Palmer's Pursuit and Techline, games set to fast-paced music and interviews with winning teams and players like Renick Miller and GBD (Good, Bad and the Deadly). A commentator, John Quintero, explained how the game was played and looked and sounded professional while doing so, and scores from the event's action were highlighted. Editing on the tape was solid and the overall impression of the hour-long Reno tape was excellent.
Games on the Reno tape included match-ups between some of the sport's best teams, including games between the All Americans and the Untouchables, Eclipse against Texas Storm, Bad Company versus Aftershock and even the All Americans taking on the Ironmen for the title. Paintball Consumer Reports International, who reviewed the tape shortly after its release in their January 1994 edition, even awarded the tape their coveted best rating of four stars for its quality. Why, then, did the tape become infamous? Simple: it almost inadvertently tackled an issue that still plagues paintball to this very day, cheating. In one game on the video, Adam Gardner of the All Americans, then and now one of the best paintball teams in the sport, clearly wiped a hit and continued to play. Once this was seen, the information spread like wildfire throughout the paintball industry and ignited a controversy.
“I was in the year end meeting in ’94 with all of the team captains and they were ripping Adam. I stood up and said, ‘There’s not a captain in this room that can tell me they haven’t done the same thing.’” – Tom Cole, Captain of Bad Company and one of the founding NPPL teams.
The World in 1993
Boris Yeltsin's forces crush an attempted coup in the Russian Parlaiment
Jean Chretien becomes Canada's twentieth Prime Minister
China violates the moritorium on nuclear weapons testing
The European Union is created
The Ironmen Dominate the NPPL
Three Titles in Three Years for Bob Long’s Boys from California
“We own Texas,” Shane Pestana exclaimed as the Ironmen just finished off Bad Company in the pro finals of the NPPL Dallas Open in 1995. They did own Texas. In fact they won the Dallas Open in 1993, 1994, and 1995. In 1993 the Ironmen made the finals in all five events, taking the title in the process; in ’94 they placed second or higher in three of the four events they entered (they reffed one event); in 1995 they placed third or better in each event they played. This was the most dominant team of its day. One bad event in 1996 (10th place in the World Cup) was the only reason they didn’t win the title that year (they won two events and placed in the finals the other two) and when that season ended, so did the Ironmen as we knew them. The team everyone feared fired its captain Bob Long and shortly after, the wheels came off the cart.
Their dominance on the field was only half of the story of this team. The team’s captain, Bob Long, was known then (and now) as the best tournament team captain in history. Bob’s success in paintball started with the Ironmen and continues to this day. He is probably best known as the designer of the Intimidator paintgun, if not as he greatest team captain ever. Off the field Bob is a world renowned bow-hunter who has traveled the world more than most people leave their home state. Marty Bush, one of the last pro players to out away his pump-gun was one of the most fun players to watch. Marty talked more smack (he invented it) on the field than any other player.
“I remember watching the Ironmen and Bad Company in the finals in Texas one year. It was a really tough game. Marty was coming down the tapeline and one of ‘Company’s players who was shooting at Bush was yelling, ‘check yourself’ over and over and over. Meanwhile, Marty crawled the tape until he got almost close enough to touch the still yelling Bad Company player. Marty quickly popped up and ‘grilled’ him and loudly said, ‘Check your face player!’ That was Marty’s M.O.” – John Amodea
The original Ironmen consisted of top players such as Bob Long, Shane Pestana, Daryl Trent, Marty Fisch, Marty Bush, Kyle Clayton, Jamie Cannivaro, Dirk Gadbury, and other bit players.
Other Ironmen First Place Victories
1991 Lone Star Open
1991 Western Classic
1991 World Cup
1991 Bay City Open
1991 Windy City Open
1991 Manufacturers Cup
1992 ASO Open
1992 Masters Five-Man
1992 Windy City Open
Elsewhere in 1993:
Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern share Time Magazine's cover
US President Bill Clinton signs Brady Bill, regulating firearms industry
White House official Vincent Foster commits suicide
European Union created
Federal Agents surround Branch Dividian Compound in Waco, Texas after several agents are killed in attempted raid
World Trade Center bombed by terrorists
43. April, 1994
PCRI Gets Paintball on ESPN
Not Braun, Not Fred, PCRI Opens the ESPN Door
A full 16 months before the ESPN World Championships aired on the Disney-owned network, Paintball Consumer Reports International (PCRI), promoter of the NPPL “DC Cup” brought Bill Pido (still working as an ESPN “head”), a cameraman, and a producer to the Nation’s capital to cover the event for the all-sports network. To everyone’s surprise ESPN showed footage of the event on their live “Sports Center” throughout the five day event and beyond. In addition to live game action, Pido did a piece on what it was like to shoot a semiautomatic paintgun for a first-timer. There were numerous interviews shown on the network including Mike “Pev” Peverill’s very funny description of the thrill of playing paintball where he used the term “stalking” seven times in under a minute.
“I was sitting at the bar in a restaurant in Baltimore and all of a sudden I see myself being interviewed at the DC Cup a few days before. I looked at the girl across the bar and said, ‘Hey, that’s me on ESPN!’ She said. ‘Yeah right and laughed.” – Tom Cole, Captain of Bad Company
Quiz Question: What does the Acronym ESPN stand for?
44. Fall, 1994 Fred Schultz Inks Deal to Play Paintball in Main Street Disney (shown on ESPN II)
Paintball USA—the Made for TV Paintball Special
Navarone may have landed the first major paintball sponsorship back in the late 1980s when JT signed them to a “factory” deal, but it was Fred Schultz that became the first sponsored “spokesperson” in 1993?? when Zap Paintball hired him to represent their product line at tournaments worldwide. Fred Schultz was the captain of Constant Pursuit, a professional northern California paintball team that was on top of their game in the late 80s and early 90s. Unfortunately for Constant Pursuit they peaked a few years too early—by the time the NPPL was formed and off the ground in 1993, they had already fallen out of the top ten.
Constant Pursuit’s Record
1989 – First place Pacific Northwest Tournament
1990 – Second place at the Windy City Open
1990 – Third place Mayhem Masters (UK)
1991- Second place at the World Cup
1992 - Second place at the Music City Open
1991 – Fourth place at the Line SI Masters
1992 – Third place at the ASO Players’ Cup
1992 – Fourth place at the Lone Star Open
In 1994 the charismatic Shultz signed a deal with Disney and ESPN to do a television show filmed on Main Street in Downtown Disney. Schultz brought with him Denny Tippmann Jr., Tom Kaye, Dan Colby, Rene Boucher, Tim Schloss, and a host of other paintball industry notables as well as some of his Constant Pursuit teammates. The show pitted the industry contingent against Schultz and C.P. Despite the fact that the show was the highest rated program on ESPN that weekend, it was only a one-off affair. It did however get the ball rolling with ESPN, who later filmed the World Paintball Championships and showed the event for several months on both ESPN and ESPN II.
Fred will best be remembered as the sport’s first true ambassador. His on-stage persona was legendary as he worked the crowd in his camo tuxedo. For years hosted the awards ceremony at IAO, did color commentary on TV and videos, and was in demand at number of charity events and big games.
“This was one of the high points in my paintball life, playing paintball down Main Street in the old section. They netted off the ends and the customers were watching. We blew the foam bricks off the corners of the buildings and then about 50 guys came through and cleaned the place entirely in 20 minutes.” – Tom Kaye, Airgun Designs
A Real Life Prophesy from 1994
“Watching paintball on TV sucks. It's one of those things that is much more fun to play than it is to watch. Until there is some technological breakthrough in broadcasting techniques, paintball in the woods will continue to be boring, lack a real audience, and most importantly, lack any form of commercial support.
Several years ago, I told Bob Gurnsey how I would make paintball a success on broadcast television. First you would have to change the playing field. SC Village had the right idea with their original speedball field. It was a lot of fun to play on, but more importantly, it was a lot of fun to watch. Why? Because even the spectators were participants. You could yell at the players and tell them where the guys on the other team were and what they were doing. It was the first time there were actual "fans" of a particular team.
But I would have taken it one step further--the step to make it a commercial success. Instead of making bunkers out of tires or wood, I would make them in the shapes of can of Pepsi, or a bag of French fries, or a hot-dog, hamburger, candy bar, etc. Instead of shouting, "He's in the bunker!" people could shout, "There's a guy behind the burrito!" or "The Coke can! He's at the Coke can!" – Former editor of Action Pursuit Games magazine Ranky Kayama, 1994 Courtesy www.Deja.com
Paintball on the =Net: WARPIG.com Introduced
The First Only Paintball Websites is Launched
What began as a technical exercise in web serving and content on a single computer has grown into a website on the computer of nearly every player in the game. In 1992, before the World Wide Web existed, paintball players communicated online via an online newsgroup known as rec.sport.paintball. When Steve Mitchell began to compile information, mostly news and stories but even some pictures from two players named Bill and Dawn, from rec.sport.paintball onto an FTP server, it became one of the earliest true resources of paintball news, information and pictures. In 1994, when Steve Mitchell was ordered to learn how to operate a web server to utilize the new World Wide Web, he moved the paintball information on the FTP server to HTML pages on a web server that shared the network location of his desktop Mac computer, warpig.cati.csufresno.edu. This became the first paintball website in the world, and it was referred to as "warpig." When Steve Mitchell left his job, he gave the ownership of "warpig" to Bill and Dawn Mills, and a cultural icon was created.
Eventually Bill and Dawn Mills moved the contents of "warpig" to a commercial server, thanks to the support of industry members such as Randy Kamiya, one-time editor of Action Pursuit Games and Paintball Industry Magazine, and Rene Boucher of Paintball News. The address: www.WARPIG.com. It was Dawn Mills who came up with the "World And Regional Paintball Information Guide" acronym, not before, but after the name was created and had stuck. By 1996 the Mills were traveling to paintball tournaments around the nation, providing information to the public in record time thanks to the World Wide Web. The voracious and unquenchable appettite for instant information exhibited by the modern paintball industry was created by Warpig in the mid-nineties, as they covered tournaments and big games and provided technical information on many products.
Throughout the late nineties and into the twenty-first century, WARPIG led the paintball industry in up-to-date coverage of paintball events across the country, including every Skyball, National Professional Paintball League and Paintball Sports Promotions events, every Ultimate Madness, Pan Am and Great Western Series events dating back to the mid-nineties, International Amateur Open, Earon Carter Stock Class events, Paintball Long Island's Big Game, Shatnerball, Cal Jam, the CFOA, Airgun Designs Tech Classes and Aruba tournaments with informative articles, interviews and photo galleries that became the first thing players looked for when they arrived home from events. WARPIG also became the original source for paintball press releases, allowing companies to quickly and easily address the entire industry with topics from JT releasing J-Balls and Paintball News Network teaming up with the USPL to PMI and Smart Parts settling their lawsuit and the resignation of Phil Dominguez as the NPPL's head referee.
WARPIG evolved with the sport to take on a newer, more progressive look. Technical articles and reviews of equipment by Bill Mills became a mainstay on the technical scene and WARPIG's editor/owners, Bill and Dawn Mills, became the darlings of the industry. Bill Mills' technical articles covered topics such as side-by-side loader comparisons, Shocker high efficiency bolt kits, Custom Products' inline regulator and reviews of paintball guns like the Vector M1. Pig TV, an online video show covering major paintball events such as NPPL and PSP events, was launched and evolved from 1997 to 2004 with episodes including coverage of Mardi Gras, Aruba, the Nashville NPPL and the Zap Masters. In addition, WARPIG's field and store listings, classifieds, store field listings and links to all manner of paintball websites were by far the first, and likely still are some of the most complete on the Internet. By the turn of the millennium, WARPIG was by the undisputed king of paintball on the Internet. Bill and Dawn Mills even served as editors of Paintball Magazine, published by CFW, producers of Action Pursuit Games, for six issues per year throughout 1999. At events like the 2002 Ultimate Madness, WARPIG even broadcast coverage live from the event and the fields themselves. Forums added to WARPIG more recently rapidly grew to over six thousand registered members, with topics for practically every paintball gun made and every style of play.
When asked about WARPIG and what the future might hold for it, Bill Mills stated "From the beginning it's been a project by and for paintballers. As for what the future holds for WARPIG, I think it is more of the same - information by and for paintball players without the marketing hype and BS - tournament info, photos, videos, product reviews that don't force an opinion down the reader's throat, but rather give them hard product data so they can make up their own minds about what is right for them."
Elsewhere in 1992
General Manuel Noriega of Panama sentenced to 40 years in American prison on drug charges
Prince Charles and Princess Diana agree to seperate
American forces pull out of the Philippines
The First ΑCheap≅ Non Plastic Semi Sold: Meet the Spyder
Until 1994, paintball was quite the expensive sport. Cases of 2,500 paintballs were often sold for over one hundred dollars and the average pump paintball gun, the standard for entry-level paintball players at the time, still cost in excess of one hundred dollars or more. While semi-automatic paintball guns had been in existence for some time 1994, the reliable semiautomatics, such as the Tippmann 68 Special or Pro-Am, F-2 Illustrators from FASTech and the Automag, easily sold for well over three hundred dollars, with some models costing a great deal more than that once all the accessories needed to play the game were factored in. While some "low cost" semiautomatic models had been introduced to that point, their reliability had been extremely questionable and none had met with any degree of success. This all changed when Kingman, a company that had experienced some success with a line of pump paintball guns called the "Hammer" released what would become a phenomenon; the Spyder.
The early Spyder models featured brass lined barrels with porting, a stacked-tube aluminum body design reminiscent of the VM-68/PMI-3, a Lonestar M16 grip frame, single trigger, sight rail, standard bottom-line CO2 tank adapter and a power feed, an accessory that, until that time, was reserved for top-level paintball guns like the Automag. Lightweight and possessing a simple blowback design, the inexpensive Spyder immediately began to fly off store shelves across the country, and before long the Spyder had become the best selling paintball gun in the history of the sport. A line of accessories was quickly introduced as the Spyder became a family of Spyders, and Kingman became a paintball powerhouse. Ten years later the Spyder is still selling quickly, now a featured item at Wal-Mart, Sports Authority, Dicks Sporting Goods and other major chains as well as in paintball stores worldwide. Electronic Spyder models are now available, and are being used by members of Kingman-sponsored professional team, Bad Company. Kingman even promoted the Spyder Cup paintball tournament, in which competitors allowed to use only Spyders played for lavish prizes, including Ford Mustang convertibles. As paintball grows, the Spyder shows no sign of losing its hold on paintball, ten years after it changed the game.
1994 – Also in Paintball
1. Aces and Eights and Dark Justice win the NAAPSA Nationals
2. Phantom Force (OR) wins five Great Western tournaments
3. Phantom Force (VA) wins the NPPL Amateur five-man title
Elsewhere in 1994
Olympic Figure Skater Nancy Kerrigan assaulted
Earthquake in Los Angeles kills 51
Nelson Mandela elected president of South Africa
OJ Simpson Arrested, Charged with Killing wife Nicole and Ronald Goldman
Private Plane crashes near White House
Ronald Reagan announces he is victim of Alzheimer's Disease
World Terrorist "Carlos the Jackal" apprehended
Bad Company Wins the NPPL Pittsburg Open
Finally the “Big Three” Take A Back Seat
For the first two years and two events of the NPPL, Aftershock, the Ironmen, and the All Americans won every ten-man pro event. Before an event even started it was a forgone conclusion that one of the “big three” would walk away with the first place prize. Although Bad Company, the Palm Beach Predators, GBD, and Rage occasionally snuck into the finals from time to time, no one believed any of them could win an event. That all changed in the third event of the 1995 season. But it almost never happened.
In Bad Company’s last game of the semifinals they needed a win against Aftershock to make it to the finals. Likewise, the final rounds hinged on the win for Aftershock as well. As fate would have it the game came down to a one on one, with Jeff Shank of ‘Company facing Gary Noblet of ‘Shock on the upper mound field. Noblet was camped out just in front of his flag station and Shank was hunkered down at the ‘Shock 30 yard line on the spectator tape. The two traded shots for literally five minutes when Noblet finally raised his left hand and walked off the field. Bad Company made the finals. “I knew we had a good shot to win the event. We had practiced these fields for weeks leading up to the event and we were playing them well,” ‘Company captain Tom Cole told us.
The final round bracket consisted of Bad Company, the Ironmen, the Florida Terminators and a new upstart pro team called Avalanche, who just declared their pro status during the event. Going into their third and last final round game, Bad Company trailed the Ironmen by enough points that they needed the flag hang and lots of bodies. All the Ironnen needed was a win or stalemate. The Terminators and Avalanche already played themselves out of the running for first place. The game started with both teams coming out hard, but Bad Company getting the better of the Ironmen. The furious pace lasted several minutes with losses on both sides, but ‘Company had the 50 yard line across the whole lower mound field. All Bad Company needed to do was close out the game and they did. They finished strong with five bodies alive. Bad Company squeaked through the chronograph—one hot shot from Mike Lefler scared the team to death, as a hot gun penalty would have given the win to the Ironmen, but a scare was all it was. Bad Company broke the “big three’s” streak and opened the door of hope to the rest of the NPPL’s pro division.
The Ironmen Become the First U.S. Team to Win a Major Tournament Overseas
The Ironmen Win the Mayhem Masters
For years the UK Predators couldn’t do it, and then they broke through in the five-man portion of the 1991 Lively Masters, becoming the first non-North American team to win on U.S. soil. Despite attempts by Aftershock, Bad Company, the All Americans and the Ironmen many times, no U.S. team could get the job done in England or Europe…until 1995 when Bob Long and his California based Ironmen won the Mayhem Masters.
1995 – Also in Paintball
1. After Bad Company’s Pittsburgh win, Rage won the next tournament in Chicago.
2. The Sheridan Equalizer is released but is not a commercial success.
3. Air Power’s Vector is introduced.
4. VL-3000, 300 round motorized loader is released
49. April, 1995
The New Pro Super-Team
The Tommy and Ritchie Mailszewski Leave the All Americans and Form Team Image
1995 – Also in Paintball
The pulse rifle, a fully electronic paintgun debuts in Paintball News
Washington University’s Shadow Dancers win the 1995 College Paintball Championships
The IAO allows nitrogen to be used
VL-3000 (300 round agitator hopper) introduced
The Ironmen Wear JT Motocross Gear at Splat-1 Indoor
When the Ironmen showed up at the Splat-1 Indoor Championships in 1995 wearing blue JT motocross apparel most people didn’t know whether to clap or laugh out loud. Watching the Ironmen that weekend was like getting a dose of the 70s glam-rock band the New York Dolls perform a set at Max’s Kansas City. But it didn’t take long to realize that this day was the beginning of the end for tournament teams wearing camo.
World Cup Moves to Orlando
Sun, Disney and True International Competition
Even when it was played in Nowheresville, New York, the World Cup was something special. The creation of Jerry Braun, the World Cup was perennially the best attended event of the season, with teams like the Ironmen, Tour De Force, Constant Pursuit, and Bad Company vying for the first place check.
Skirmish USA Draws 2063 in World Record Game
Skirmish USA is one of the biggest, best and well-known paintball fields in the world. Known mostly as a field that welcomes new players, groups, corporate games, and other less hardcore paintball events, Skirmish has a rich history in doing things first and biggest—their 1992 World record game is no exception.
Amazing All American Five-Man Run
No Five-Man Team Has Ever Done It Better
There have been a lot of great five-man paintball teams over the years. Some that come to mind might be Lockout, the Ironmen, Phantom Force in the amateur ranks, and many others. No team has ever had a better three year stretch in the five-man pro division in major events than the All Americans had from 1994 to 1996 though.
All Americans 1st Place Finishes
’94 Splat 1 Indoor Championship 5 Man – TN
’94 NPPL Los Angeles 5 Man – CA
’94 NPPL World Cup 5 Man – FL
’95 Splat 1 Indoor Championship 5 Man – TN
’95 NPPL Dallas 5 Man – TX
’95 NPPL San Diego 5 Man – CA
’95 NPPL Chicago 5 Man – IL
’95 NPPL World Cup 5 Man – FL
’95 NPPL 5 Man Series Champions
’96 Splat 1 Indoor Championship 5 Man – TN
’96 NPPL Las Vegas 5 Man – NV
’96 NPPL Chicago 5 Man – IL
’96 Brazilian Masters 5 Man – Sao Paulo, Brazil
’96 NPPL NY 5 Man – NY
’96 NPPL World Cup 5 Man – FL
’96 NPPL 5 Man Series Champions
ESPN World Paintball Championships
It was the year 1995; the year tournament paintball first got its chance to be seen on national television, courtesy of the ever-popular ESPN channel. Numerous legendary teams played the event, such as Bad Company, Rage, Ironmen, All Americans, New England Express and Swarm. Several amateur teams were present as well, including All Americans 2, Nemesis, Palm Beach Predators, Minnesota Terminators, Team Xtreme, and the Washington Reign. The final games came down to the above mentioned teams in each division. Rage came out on top, winning the first ever 1995 ESPN World Championships of Paintball.
Although the paintball industry had not yet seen this opportunity, it pulled together the recourses it had to help ESPN cover the event. The paintball industry’s primary job was to help raise more than $90,000 to cover production costs, since ESPN was financing everything else. No prizes were awarded at the event due to all resources being redirected to making production possible. The fact that that amount of money was raised only 6 days prior to the event showed the power of our sport, our industry and the individuals involved. We showed ourselves how powerful we were, and that the industry could get along, at least for a day. The paintball industry was united in its efforts. This valiant effort made by numerous industry leaders who are still around today, seemed to be in vain when lawsuits began to fly from industry to industry, primarily paintball to ESPN. Although ESPN had been interested in a series, disputes started over the times that ESPN would air the event. Paintball on television went sour.
The year 1995: Pete Sampras is crowned three time Wimbledon champ, Baseball Legend Mickey Mantle passed away, The “OJ” Simpson trial ends with his acquittal, Christopher Reeve became paralyzed through an accident while riding his horse, The founder of The Grateful Dead music group, Jerry Garcia passed away...
Brass Eagle Sold to Daisy
The Ironmen Split
Southern California Ironmen and Bob Long=s Ironmen Formed
57. Summer, 1996
WDP Introduces Hyperball
Hyperball: futuristic-looking paintball fields constructed of black corrugated plastic tubing from a few inches in diameter to several feet in diameter and length, arrayed in symmetrical patterns and constructed in shapes and sizes that better resemble something out of "Logan's Run" than a sports field. Hyperball fields can be found around the paintball world in modern times, and are enjoyed by players from their first day of play. The splatter flying off of the hard plastic bunkers and the signature "knock-knock-knock" of paintballs breaking against the bunkers keeps every player's heart pounding, and Hyperball fields may have finally taken a back seat to inflatable paintball fields from Sup Air Ball and Ultimate Air Ball, but there was a time when Hyperball was created and reserved for the very best players in the game.
WDP, manufacturers of the Angel and owners of Pure Promotions, producers of the National Professional Paintball League Super Seven Series, conceptualized, created and launched the Hyperball concept at the first-ever Hyperball tournament, the 1996 Hyperball World Championships, held in the United Kingdom. Teams from across Europe and even the United States attended the event, which WDP also used as the venue to launch their revolutionary Angel V6 electropneumatic paintball gun. In a shock to the entire paintball industry and the attending teams, camouflage, long the default uniform for any paintball player, was completely banned. No team at the event was allowed to play on the Hyperball field if they chose to wear camouflage to the tournament.
The championships were held again in 1997, and the show was even better, with live bands, body piercers, beach volleyball and even extra-industry sponsors like Corona. However, while the World Hyperball Championships were, according to most who attended, the first time paintball had ever been promoted properly outside the woods, WDP received little support from the paintball industry at the time, and found the events less than profitable, other than from a public relations standpoint. After selling the Hyperball concept to Brass Eagle, WDP turned their backs on the paintball tournament promotions business to focus on their hot new paintball gun, the Angel, which was selling as fast as they could be made. WDP remained out of the tournament promotions business until 2003, when Pure Promotiosn and WDP began promoting the National Professional Paintball League Super Seven World Series of paintball tournaments in the United States.
Owen Ronayne of WDP believes that the concept and style of play of Hyperball were extremely influential on the future of the game, sport and industry of paintball. "We invited teams to play Hyperball to test the fields, and one of those teams was the Ton Tons. Laurent Hamet was one of the first people to play Hyperball, and he went away from that to develop Sup Air. For that reason, the impact of Hyperball is evident wherever you go today." Ronayne continued, "Hyperball was great, but it was imperfect. You can't easily clean the fields and it would take a forty-foot truck to transport a field. We went to Toulouse the next year and saw the games played on Sup Air fields and we realized it was a better system. You can fit an entire field in the back of a van now."
Elsewhere In the World in 1996
France ceases nuclear testing
Bob Dole sweeps the Republican primaries to become their candidate for President
Valujet airliner crashes into the Florida everglades
Taliban seize control of Afghanistan
Paintball airs up: Inflatable paintball fields invented and marketed by Adrenaline Games of France
At Paintball & Company, R.P. Scherer and Powergames' Toulouse seven-man tournament in France in 1996, players found themselves playing behind a completely new and alien style of bunkers. Akin to the Hyperball tube bunkers pioneered by WDP the year before, Laurent Hamet and company created colorful, dynamic new bunkers that differed from anything paintball had seen before, because they were inflatable. For the first time in paintball's history, bunkers could be blown up, plugged, played behind, deflated and carted off with little fuss. Unlike any other type of bunker used in the game or sport of paintball, the soft inflatables encouraged incoming paintballs to bounce rather than break, eliminating the mountains of shell and buckets of splatter that often transform Hyperball or other speedball fields from futuristic-looking arenas into muddy sludge pits, keeping the event spectator-friendly and colorful for the duration as well as allowing referees to much more easily distinguish a broken paintball on a competitor. The nearly 1,300 spectators at the event reacted favorably to the spectacle, applauding for strong play and enjoying the event in a manner no American tournament could advertise. Notable industry attendees included future National Professional Paintball League president Chuck Hendsch (then of RP Scherer), Todd Adamson, Billy Ceranski, Fabrice Halmone, Ian "Jacko" Parsons and Adam and Billy Gardner of the All Americans and Smart Parts.
In the end Aftershock and the All Americans took first and second in the professional division, and the entire industry embraced the Sup Air Ball format for the numerous advantages it brought to competitive paintball. In a momentous occurrence, the Mayor of the city of Toulouse himself handed out the prizes, showing an acceptance of paintball far beyond anything thus far. Paintball Games International's Peter "Robbo" Robinson played the event with Aftershock, and stated that the event was "one of my most enjoyable." In their October, 1997 edition, Paintball Games International stated that "A revolution is upon us...we find ourselves looking toward the French...as the new contenders for inspirational gurus of Paintball extravaganzas." They had no idea how correct they would eventually be proven, as inflatable fields swept across the landscape of paintball, eventually showing up in the United States at the most prestigious events in the game like World Cup and the International Amateur Open. Eventually, entire events would be built around inflatable fields until all other types of paintball disappeared into paintball's past and Air Ball was the accepted standard for paintball competition around the world. Laurent Hamet went on to lead a team, the Ton Tons, to world success on the seven-man stage and was awarded for his success with the Sup Air Ball format with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Amateur Open's Industry Conference.
"We needed something that could be set up on sand as well as on snow or on a football field without damaging the environment" stated Laurent Hamet, who continued "We've taken down four fields in six hours, and set up the equipavlent of one field in three hours. It is possible to install a field in a stadium, for instance, for just one day. Since they remain clean, they make a very good advertising support. People will be able to print the logo of their own sponsors on them. Just on Sunday, we counted 1,300 people through the front gate." Many of the statements Hamet made at the time have come to fruition in the present, as major paintball tournaments such as Huntington Beach was indeed played on the sand of a beach to great success, while numerous events have been played at major mainstream sporting venues such as Toronto's Skydome, the Polo Grounds at the Nemacolin Resort, ABC's Wide World of Sports Complext at Disney World and Raymond James Stadium. In addition, logos are popping up on inflatable bunkers from companies like Heineken, National Paintball Supply, Tippmann, Empire, Planet Eclipse and JT USA. Hundreds of paintball fields all over the world use inflatable paintball fields on a weekly and even daily basis, and what was once a style of play reserved for the professionals is now enjoyed by many players on their first day of the game. Laurent Hamet and the company that would become Adrenaline Games revolutionized paintball in the late nineties with their SupAir Ball format, and 1997 was became the year that paintball truly "aired up."
Source: Paintball Games International, October, 1997
Elsewhere in 1997
President Bill Clinton begins second term
Fashion designer Gianni Versacci murdered by Andrew Kunanan
Princess Diana killed in automobile accident in Paris, France
Timothy McVeigh sentenced to death after Oklahoma Federal Building bombing
Mother Teresa dies
Brass Eagle Goes Mainstream
Paintball Gear Now Available in Mass Merchant Stores
Insurance Age Lowered to Ten Years Old
The Fix is In
Team Xtreme=s Joe Fortin Admits to Throwing Pro Paintball Game
Game fixing was rampant during the early years of the NPPL. Some of the game fixing might have been considered smart at the time. Some teams would purposely lose a game in the preliminary rounds to get an easier semifinal bracket and most would not have a problem with that. It’s just the way things were in the early-to-mid 1990s. This type of game fixing usually affected only the team in question. But there’s another type of game fixing that was becoming a real problem. Teams were prearranging stalemates or losses to purposely keep other teams out of the semis or finals. Teams were helping like-sponsored teams and sister teams make the semifinals or finals in events by losing on purpose. In at least one known case, a team captain admitted throwing a game in the semifinals of an NPPL event, not to better their draw or to help a sister team, but for money.
“Do It In the Dome!” - Skyball I
For the first time in the history of the sport, paintball was played inside a major professional sports venue. And what a venue it was, as paintball players converged on the largest indoor sporting complex in the world, Toronto's Skydome, the home of major league baseball's Blue Jays, to play in Skyball, a five-man tournament produced by Focus, led by Adrian Villaca, and Zap Paintball. On March 20 and 21, 1998, three completely netted five-man paintball fields created from stacked, lashed inner tubes, inflatable bunkers and pipe and net bunkers were used for the competition, that drew over 120 teams from all over the world. Bill Cookston, at the time the ultimate referee for the National Professional Paintball League, acted as head referee for the event, which featured professional and amateur divisions. Professional teams attending the event included Bob Long's Ironmen, Bad Company, the All Americans, Ground Zero Black and Gold, Joy Division, Image and the Jax Warriors.
With the Hard Rock Cafe and a hotel directly overlooking the fields, players who were used to competing in the woods or in fields across the country suddenly felt like true athletes, surrounded by a massive professional sporting venue and watched by many people who had never seen paintball to that point. The venue was leased for 48 hours and to take advantage of the small amount of time, the arena's public address system was used to push teams to and from the fields. By the end of the event, the Oh No's were victorious in the amateur division, ahead of the SOB's and OBR. In the professional division, Ground Zero Gold took home eleven thousand Canadian dollars and first place, ahead of J&J Ohio, Image and the All Americans.
Skyball continued to make waves in paintball throughout the late nineties and early twenty-first century, as the promoters of the event came and went. Some of the early pioneers of professional-level paintball event promotion, Jim Lively and Sam Caldwell, tried their hand at Skyball under the auspices of their World Paintball Federation, and did well with the event thanks in no small part to Zap and the hard work of Chip Herbert, who continued producing the event even after the WPF became defunct. Eventually Zap took over the event entirely, and was recently replaced by Aldo Perrone and X.O. Industries, who produce the event today. While Skyball remains unaffiliated with any other tournament or league, it continues to be a mecca for paintball players and teams who love playing in one of the most remarkable arenas in the sport.
Mike Ratko, who worked on the Skyball project with Zap and is now the Commissioner of the National XBall League, still believes events like Skyball are the future of paintball. "Stadiums like Sky Dome are still the future of paintball. Now more than ever. I believed this when I began SkyBall at ZAP with FOCUS. The Sky Ball event has always about the fun and not the winning. At least in the crowd I go in. Many Americans are blown away at how safe, clean, and relatively inexpensive Toronto is. There is a hassle getting product across for the trade show but that is because American distributors/manufacturers don't plan far enough in advance and clear their products through customs or work with their Canadian distributor(s) to help set up a good trade stand."
The World in 1998
Ramzi Yousef sentenced to life in prison for first World Trade Center bombing
President Clinton accused in sex scandal with Monica Lewinski
Ted Kazcynski, the Unabomber, sentenced to four life terms
Terry Nichols sentenced to life for Oklahoma City bombing
Tournament Ball the Way it Should Be
Millennium Series First Event
It was almost embarrassing how well the Millennium Series events were run compared to the NPPL/PSP series, especially in 2001 and 2002.
Rock Stars of Paintball:
Rocky, LaSoya and Company Define Paintball’s New Image
Paintball had been dominated by men in the woods for years, but this began to change as many facets of the game of paintball evolved at once. Clothing companies like JT, along with others, began marketing clothing that launched the transformation of paintball players into athletes. Simultaneously, paintball was moving out of the woods once and for all as Hyperball and Air Ball on temporary, netted fields took the place of established, wooded paintball fields at the highest levels of competition. As paintball came out of the woods, spectators began to dot the sidelines of professional paintball games to watch their favorite teams and players shoot one another. Eventually, the nameless, faceless camouflage blobs practically out of sight on wooded paintball fields were replaced by brightly clothed paintball players with their own names and numbers on their jerseys, who would eventually become the first superstars of the growing industry.
The first lineup of well-marketed professional superstar players included Rocky Cagnoni and Chris LaSoya of star-studded ten-man professional team Avalanche who, for a season or two at the turn of the century, owned professional paintball. Behind their WDP Angel and Dark Angel paintball guns, this team won events like Las Vegas and Dallas in 1999, Nashville in 2000 and the infamous Gettysburg Open in 2001, and were contenders in many more events throughout the turn of the millennium. Avalanche won the NPPL ten-man professional series title in 1999, beating out such great teams as Aftershock, the Ironmen and Lockout. Other great players to have played on the Avalanche team include players like Travis Lemanski, Warped Sportz owner (and Avalanche team owner) Ed Poorman, Mark Knop, Jon Richardson, Steve Rabackoff, Glenn Forester, Todd Martinez, Todd Hugo, "Weasel" and Jeremy Salm. Many of these players are recognizable today for their continued stardom and success on the highest level of the game with teams including Dynasty, Infamous, Aftershock and the All and Philadelphia Americans.
Former Avalanche member Travis Lemanski, now playing for Infamous with many of his Avalanche teammates, summed it up. "Playing for Avalanche in the glory days was the best decision that I've ever made in tournament paintball. I was leaving Image (not by choice....I guess my attitude was not appreciated) Image was a much stricter team at the time and my love for a good time and going out at night was not much appreciated. But hey I was young and felt that I could do it all, go out at night, and play hard all day but they did not agree. That's when I caught up with Avalanche. I didn't know a single person on the team when I signed up but I can say that each and every one became a family member. I still talk to more than half of those guys on a weekly basis. That was probably the most fun I've ever had playing paintball. You see nowadays winning comes at a much greater cost, Hard work, being in decent shape, field walking, and a good nights sleep is almost a must if you want to win a pro finals. The days of winning and going out are over. Back then we ran on pure talent, we might have been in decent shape, but who cares, we partied like rock stars EVERY night of the event and still won tournaments with no sleep. It was a wild ride that can never be duplicated."
Elsewhere in 1999
PGA Tour golfer Payne Stewart dies in plane crash
World Population tops six billion
Two students go on shooting rampage in their Columbine, Colorado school, kill 15 including themselves
JFK, Jr. dies in plane crash
Cuban child Elian Gonzales' custody controversy plays out before the world
64. May 27-28, 2000
The Spyder Cup
KAPP Factory Wins Five Brand New Mustangs
It was an unprecedented concept in tournament paintball promotion: host a five-man tournament in which only a certain sponsor's paintball gun could be used in play, and award the winners five brand new Ford Mustangs. May 27 and 28, 2000, Kingman International partnered with Debra Dion Krischke and Team Effort Events to host the first Spyder Cup paintball tournament at the home of the International Amateur Open, Three Rivers Paintball near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Limited to teams with amateur status or less, the event was officiated by Bad Company of Maryland, the Green Dragons, Lockout and the All Americans Two, with Bill Cookston of the NPPL serving as Ultimate Judge, as he did in so many major events. National Paintball Supply provided 32 Degrees Team Colors paintballs to the event, while Raven Paintball debuted their Nuvis goggle system and sold Raven jerseys to numerous competitors. 99 teams, most of which were made up of rookie players, converged to play the event with stock, non-electronic Spyder paintball guns on the wooded fields of Three Rivers, which were augmented by two airball fields. Ford Mustangs weren't the only prizes given away at the event, either. Impressive prize packages worth thousands of dollars all the way down to eighth place included projection televisions, stereos and prizes from other event sponsors. In all, over one hundred thousand dollars in prizes was awarded to the teams who played the event. The Mustangs alone rang up over eighty thousand dollars in retail value.
Several members of the Pittsburgh Steelers attended the event and played their first games of paintball there in a grudge match on the air ball field that saw ten thousand dollars donated to Children's Hospital. Meanwhile, the rains came and inundated the fields, but the players pushed on and teams including Strange, Kapp Factory, OBR, P&L Factory and Farside moved on to the semifinals. Kapp Factory, manned by future stars including Ryan Greenspan, Brian Cole, Yosh Rau and Alex Fraige who would eventually make up a large portion of Dynasty and Kenny Chamberlain of Worr Game Products and the Bushwackers, won the event and took home the Mustangs, which honked their horns and flashed their lights for the winning teams. Team Strange, now National X-Ball League franchise team Detroit Strange, brought up second, with OBR in third. All the members of Dynasty that won the Mustangs that rainy day in May still count the experience among their best and most memorable, for obvious reasons.
One of the players on Kapp Factory that day, Ryan Greenspan, who went on to become one of the best players in the world with Dynasty, remembers the winning moment well. "When the last game ended they sounded the alarms and we ran up the giant hill in the rain to see all the lights flashing. It was super-exciting to see all of that. I think that there were people there that were more excited than we were!"
The World in 2000
Russian submarine "Kursk" sinks in Barents Sea
International Space Station completed
Presidents of North and South Korea meet for the first time
65. September, 2000 CHEAK YEAR
The Merging of ΑX≅ Sports: Challenge Park Xtreme Opens
The merger of paintball and other titled “extreme” sports was a significant moment in our sport. It presented the opportunity to hang on the coat tails of other larger sports in hopes of gaining larger audiences and eventually more recognition. Not only did this merger of extreme sports and paintball help our sport grow, but it in turn helped the other sports we were connected to grow as well.
The first significant merger of this type was undoubtedly the opening of Challenge Park Xtreme in 1999 located in Joliet, IL. Brass Eagle Inc., one of the largest paintball companies, signed an agreement with Forest Brown and Anderson Humphreys to develop Challenge Park Xtreme in Illinois, and bring retail shops, restaurants, a theatre, conference facilities, and a 300-car parking structure. Challenge Park Xtreme would also contain a 10,000 square-foot registration complex, which has been a retail center for paintball, skating and biking equipment and accessories. The facility also includes nine paintball fields, a BMX track, an in-line skating rink, skateboarding ramps and mountain biking trails. To have so many extreme sports all in one location near one of the largest, if not the largest NASCAR racing complexes in the world, Route 66 Motorsports Park is a monumental achievement in itself. The park was also located across the river from the Empress Riverboat Casino.
The merger of extreme sports such as skating, BMX, in-line skating, and mountain biking with paintball has opened the door for future events all across the world to include paintball in the vast growing category of extreme sports. Challenge Park Xtreme will continue to help grow the sport of paintball, along side numerous other extreme sports.
Lynn Scott, Brass Eagle President and CEO stated, “We are very enthusiastic about this opportunity, which enables us to leverage our expertise in the paintball industry while at the same time, creating an additional growth vehicle for the Company. We are particularly excited to be partnering with Forest Brown and Anderson Humphreys, who are among the most successful park operators in the country. Equally important, we have a superior location and a built-in customer base of more than 30,000 who are expected to visit the nearby Challenge Park this year.”
National Paintball Supply Purchases Paintball 2Xtremes from the Henries
Throughout the mid and late-nineteen nineties, paintball was growing faster than ever. With this growth came more paintball media sources, including a new magazine recreated from what began as a low budget magazine called "Paintball Player's Bible." Published by Mike and John Henry, this magazine continuously gave the sport and industry of paintball a black eye through back-door business dealings, questionable editorial ethics and more than questionable morality. Finally, the paintball industry had enough and Gino Postorivo, President and CEO of National Paintball Supply, stepped to the plate and purchased Paintball 2Xtremes from its owners.
Moving quickly to recreate the magazine in a more positive and family-friendly image, Postorivo made Paintball 2Xtremes a seperate division of National Paintball Supply and hired John Amodea, former editor of PCRI and Paintball Consumer Guide magazine, as the new editor. Gino Postorivo, President and CEO of National Paintball, said at the time "I have put together a fine team of editors, writers and designers who are going to take Paintball 2Xtremes to the next level. There will be exciting graphics and photography, interesting and informative articles, cutting edge product reviews, and many new features. There will be some sections that are just plain fun and some that will encourage the readers to get involved." Amodea then hired Joshua D. Silverman, long-time player, free-lance reporter and writer for Paintball News, Crossfire Paintball Magazine and Action Pursuit Games, as Assistant Editor to round-out the editorial team. Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine was quickly reborn as a reputable source for news, product reviews and event coverage that has since grown into the leading magazine of paintball sports in the world.
Paintball 2Xtremes immediately began involving the individual players across the United States in ways no paintball magazine had. 2Xtremes began printing "What the Locals Do," in which local writers in each region of the United States covered the local tournaments, big games, fields, stores and other paintball news from across the country. Using experience garnered from years in the industry, and further years in paintball publishing, Amodea and Silverman began covering major events including Skyball, all NPPL/PSP events and many big games and scenario games such as the Grande Finale and Castle Conquest, proving that Paintball 2Xtremes could, and would, cater to both the recreational and tournament paintball markets fairly. Other articles and facets of the new Paintball 2Xtremes included technical reviews of various paintball guns and other equipment, press releases, coverage of Market Trends and even rumors, gossip and inuendo carried over from PCRI called "On the Edge." As PB2X soldiers into the new millennium, new features including a sister publication Crossfire magazine, a television show on Spike TV and a constantly-updated news and information website at www.pb2x.com make Paintball 2Xtremes the best outlet for paintball news and information in the industry.
Sources: Warpig.com, Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine, PCRI.net, Gino Postorivo
Elsewhere in 2000
V-22 Osprey aircraft crash kills 19 US Marines
South Carolina removes Confederate Battle Flag from State Capitol
Israel pulls back from Lebanon
North and South Korea sign peace accords
Olympics held in Australia
USS Cole attacked in Yemen, 17 US sailors die
George W. Bush wins controversial election to US Presidency
Photos Do Matter: P8nt Magazine Debuts at the 2000 IAO
In the almost 15 years between the first issue of Frontline Magazine and the debut of P8nt Magazine in 2000, it was generally acknowledged that photos in a paintball magazine should take a clear backseat to the written word. Sure, good photography was a plus, but it wasn’t seen as “that” important…until Chris Haas and Chris Dilts showed us why it mattered.
National Paintball Supply NA Buys the National Paintball Supply Name
69. April 7, 2001
Three-man, indoor, with massive prizes, in West Virginia? They called it Madness. Now, after four consecutive successful years, we all call it a great success.
When Ultimate Air Ball and Brimstone Smoke team owner Milt Call and partner Paul "PGP" Bollenbach of the Jax Worriors and National Paintball Supply and Diablo fame announced their plans to host a national-level three-man tournament inside the impressive Huntington, West Virginia Civic Arena, most in the industry rolled their eyes. When Bollenbach and Call further announced intentions to allow and even encourage sideline coaching, give away a mountain of prizes like nothing ever before, to include a women's division to crown a women's three-player world champion and to throw a players' party that included free food and even free beer for those of age to enjoy it, the industry told both of them that it could never make money, nor likely succeed. However, those who shared Call and Bollenbach's vision, and even a few who didn't, pulled together and helped make the inaugural Ultimate Madness, held in Huntington, West Virginia, a great success for all involved. With six indoor three-man Ultimate Air Ball fields, Brimstone Smoke inside the nets to referee, carpet on the floors, an impressive trade show appearance from many of paintball's biggest companies and the official hotel less than thirty seconds' walk from the playing fields, the Ultimate Madness set a new standard for player friendliness and competition at major paintball events. Call and Bollenbach even promoted a top gun, one-on-one tournament at the Madness that awarded a five-man Ultimate Air Ball field to the winner.
Since the first Ultimate Madness ended, Call, Bollenbach and company have promoted three more of their Ultimate Madness events in West "By-God" Virginia, with increasing team and trade show attendance at each. The industry has taken notice as well, with increased press coverage and sponsorship as well, allowing teams their choice of prizes, including paintball guns down to eighth place in most divisions, with as many as 120 paintball guns overflowing the prize packages. Women's champions have included the Femmes Fatale and Superficial, while winners of the Top Gun have included Brian Ravenel of the Naughty Dogs (and later the Ironmen), Trauma's Brian Stewart and Eric Dearman of the Philadelphia Americans. Other competitors at the Madness have since included teans like the Naughty Dogs, who won the inaugural Ultimate Madness event, Tippmann Effect, Nemesis and Farside and players including Todd Adamson and Mike Paxson of Aftershock, Tom Cole and Chris Remuzzi of Bad Company, JC Whittington (then of Bad Company, now with Arsenal), Clare Benavides, Tami Adamson, Bea Youngs, and Joshua Silverman.
More recently, the Ultimate Madness served as the venue at which Arena Ball, a intense three-man game involving spectators, flashing lights, an announcer and television coverage, was introduced. An event capable of drawing hundreds of players and teams from across the United States, along with some of paintball's greatest companies, to West Virginia must be a great one indeed, and Milt Call, Paul Bollenbach, their families and Brimstone Smoke have come through year after year, proving that a tournament promoted for the players, by players, can be a great success.
Procaps/Draxxus executive and longtime industry member Craig Miller experienced, sponsored and helped produce the Ultimate Madness and had a great deal to say about its far-reaching appeal. "There is nothing that matches The Ultimate Madness on the entire Paintball calendar.
There's something for everyone:
For individual Players, the Top Gun is a pure test of snap-shooting talent, with a huge prize on the line. For Teams, the Madness Three-Player format is a pure pressure cooker, rewarding speed, agility, and fast thinking. Youth usually prevails. For female players, the Women's World Championship gives them the format, respect, and Championship they so rightly deserve. For families and spectators, you can cheer your friends or your kids from netside, to your heart's content.
For vendors, the entire thing happens literally a few feet in front of your booth, so traffic is absolutely non-stop. For everybody, the hotels, bars, and restaurants are literally right across the street, so you won't even need to drive once you're there. It's all indoors, it's an absolute blast, it's affordable, it runs like clockwork, followed by possibly the richest prize package in the sport. So, it's no wonder so many magazines have praised it as one of the best events to attend in the whole world of Paintball!"
Sources: Milt Call, Paul "PGP" Bollenbach, Craig Miller, Warpig.com
What else was happening in the Spring of 2001
A US Navy submarine accidentally sinks a Japanese fishing boat.
A US spy plane and a Chinese aircraft collide, the US crew is held captive in China for 11 days.
Cincinatti endures race riots after the shooting of a black suspect by white police officers
FBI Agent Robert Hanssen is accused of spying for Russia
70. March 2002
The Press release read, “X-Ball (tm) takes paintball and adds exciting twists borrowed from Hockey, Football, Basketball, and NASCAR, to make the game a lot faster, way more dramatic, and much more fun to watch."
71. April 29, 2002
National Paintball Supply & Diablo Direct Reach Distribution Agreement
One of the most successful new product developments and launches in the history of paintball was the creation of Diablo paintballs and the Diablo Direct distribution network in 1998 and 1999. Hard work and cooperation between numerous paintball industry personalities including Richmond Italia of Procaps Canada, Craig Miller, Ed Poorman, Dan Bonebrake and Marty Garrisson, and many more created a high performance, high quality paintball that took the industry by storm, snatching up successful teams, tournaments and stores and fields across the country and the world. In 1999, less than a year after the release of the Diablo "family" of paintballs, Blaze, Inferno and Hellfire, Diablo released dynamic new packaging that made the usual "case of paint" more attractive in a retail store than ever before. Shortly thereafter, Procaps and Diablo announced the acquisition of Mike Ratko, who had previously worked with Accucaps (Zap) and R.P. Scherer. Teams like Avalanche went on to win numerous tournaments throughout 1999 including the NPPL Las Vegas and Chicago events with Diablo Hellfire and Darts paintballs. In 2000, Midnight joined the Diablo paintball brands as the most economical and recreational-based paint yet from that company, and other products joined the lineup including jerseys and the Inferno line of paintball guns. Shortly thereafter, the Skul goggle was introduced. By June, 2000, the top four teams at the Chicago NPPL event were all shooting Diablo paintballs. Also in 2000, Diablo Direct became the exclusive distributor of the fastest growing goggle in paintball, VForce, and later acquired VForce in its entirety. Airtech Industries, a division of ProCaps, also developed the Matrix paintball gun that is now one of the most popular in tournament paintball.
Throughout the exponential growth of Procaps, Diablo and Diablo Direct, National Paintball Supply and Diablo had been at odds over the "Diablo" name. As early as Skyball 1998, National Paintball Supply's owner Gino Postorivo and ProCaps owner Richmond Italia had begun discussions to amicably resolve the differences between the two companies. As the negotiations continued throughout the growth of both companies, Diablo introduced a new brand of paintballs, "Draxxus" in 2002. When asked how the Draxxus name came about, Craig Miller stated "Draxxus has a unique brand name that has a special 'sound' and aggressive 'look'...that made for a perfect fit with the abilities, traits and successes that have been the hallmark of Procaps-manufactured paintballs and products." After exhaustive negotiations and some teasing of the paintball media by Diablo and National Paintball Supply late in the 2001 season, Richmond Italia and Gino Postorivo publicly shook hands at the 2002 Mardi Gras Open on a deal that made National Paintball Supply the exclusive distributor of Draxxus paintballs and VForce vision systems, and gave NPS the ownership of the Diablo name.
On the merger and the long road that led to it, Craig Miller commented "the relationship between Procaps and National has been of great benefit for both, bringing National and their Customers the best supply of reliable paintballs in their History, while bringing Procaps into the number one position among all the paint manufacturers in the world, and helping VForce to increase their lead as the fastest growing mask brand in the History of the Sport."
Elsewhere In 2002
Ken Lay resigns from Enron
US Bishops recommend "Zero tolerance" policy for priests who abuse children
North Korea admits to developing Nuclear Weapons
72. June 2000 (Chicago)
Quality and a Creative Process beat Quantity Any Day: Division 1 Debuts "PUSH" at the Chicago Open (closed screening) and the World Cup (Open screening)
Created by Division One Films, the brainchild of Patrick Spohrer and Brian Benini, "Push" came to life, as big as life, on a screen at Damon's Steak House in Kissimmee, Florida at the 2000 National Professional Paintball League World Cup. Prompted by a desire to capture the "dynamic personalities and stories behind some of the players in paintball," Spohrer began following the greatest teams of the day including the legendary Ironmen and Avalanche when the only professional paintball was ten-man paintball, incorporating candid interviews, action montages and looks into the private lives of paintball players on the practice fields, at tournaments and even at home. Push was the first truly professional film made about the sport and the adoration for its professionalism and incredible ability to inspire was instant. "It's inspired me to devote myself to playing harder than ever" said premier attendee and female paintball player Amy Low.
"Producing it [PUSH] was a *****," stated Push's man behind the camera Patrick Spohrer unequivocally. He continued "the whole time you are questioning yourself. Are people going to appreciate this? Will they think it's legit? Do I think it's legit? How is it going to come together when it's all done? Because you never really know if it is going to be any good until it's all done." According to Spohrer, even when the project is completed, the emotional strain is far from over. "Even then you are still hoping people like it. It isn't until you get to a place like Damon's and put on your first premier and hear the applause and get the hand shakes that you feel satisfied and know you did a good job." The applause and the handshakes that night at Damon's were heart-felt, by an industry that desperately needed an artist to tell its story and capture its soul in moving pictures. What began as a debut in front of the industry's greatest players and industry leaders became the favorite movie of paintball players across the United States as its release rolled across the country in the months following its first showing in Florida. Benini and Spohrer have since gone their seperate ways, Benini continuing his career at DYE and on the field with Aftershock and the Ironmen, while Spohrer has soldiered on behind the camera alongside Bonnie Demenge at Monkey With A Gun Productions, who are preparing to release their first production at the end of the 2004 competitive season.
Sources: Bonnie DeMenge, Patrick Spohrer, Warpig.com, Monkey-With-A-Gun.com
Elsewhere in the World in 2000
Hillary Clinton officially enters New York Senate race
Mad Cow Disease strikes Europe
Concorde supersonic jet airliner crashes near Paris, 113 die
Great Britain temporarily ends self-rule in Northern Ireland while combating the IRA
Microsoft loses Anti-trust lawsuit
"I Love You" computer virus is unleashed
73. August 7-11 2002
First Nations= Cup X-Ball Game
For years paintball had struggled with creating a format of the game which retained all the excitement and basic concepts of paintball but at the same time improved the ability of sideline and television spectators to understand and enjoy the sport of paintball. In the summer of 2002 Richmond Italia, the owner of ProCaps and encapsulator of Diablo and Draxxus paintballs, announced the answer: X-Ball. The X-Ball format retained the basic tenets of paintball; two teams of players attempting to capture a flag and shooting an opponent with a paintball to remove him from the game, but reworked the concept with the hopes of making paintball more understandable to and attractive for a television audience. In the X-Ball format, five players would face one-another and points could only be scored by pulling the center flag and hanging it in the opponent's flag station, in-effect making the flag the "ball" that television audiences are able to follow in football, baseball and soccer. After a point is scored players would be allowed to leave the field and enter their pit area, where they could reload, wipe off and rest, and teams could substitute other players in their lineup. Teams would play as many "points" as possible in the ten-minute quarters allotted and the team who hung the flag on their opponents the most, thereby scoring the most points would win. Most importantly and most controversially, spectator contribution to the games in the form of coaching and cheering, was not only allowed, but encouraged. In addition, coaches on the sidelines could communicate directly to their players during the course of games.
"Paintball has been evolving for twenty years and the audiences are getting bigger all the time," stated X-Ball creator Richmond Italia, who continued "X-Ball takes the great game of paintball and adds exciting twists borrowed from hockey football and auto racing to make the game a lot faster, way more dramatic and much more fun to watch. X-Ball," Italia stated, "is still paintball as we know it, but with a giant dose of steady action and constant excitement. Think of Paintball in the Mad Max Thunderdome and you've got X-Ball!"
Many in the highest echelons of the sport embraced the concept and mission of X-Ball, and in the summer of 2002 the first great X-Ball match, the Nation's Cup, was played Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Diablo International Amateur Open. Eight teams, each representing a country in the spirit of competitions like the Olympics, would participate in an X-Ball tournament in front of thousands of spectators and television cameras. The impression the event made on the industry and the spectators was one of awe, as national anthems were played and X-Ball flags fluttered in the wind. The massive "X" in the center of the field was an impressive monument to how far the sport of paintball had come in only twenty years, while opposite the bleachers a large tower held the digital scoreboard and commentators, including Paul "PGP" Bollenbach, Bill and Dawn Mills of Warpig.com and Avery Amaya, who commented on plays and players and kept the crowd excited.
As the event kicked off, spectators, industrialists and the media watched as points were scored, moves were made and games were won and lost by the very best paintball players in the entire world. Spectators watched as players were penalized and put into a penalty box for playing on or other rule infractions, forcing their teams to play without them until the penalty time had expired. Eventually it was the United States that was victorious over Russia in the final match, and the rest of the world, with a team that included coaches Bob Long, Renick Miller and Jerry Braun, and players like Alex Fraige, Chris Lasoya, Dennis "Mooner" Mood, Jon Richardson, Nicky Cuba, Oliver "Ollie" Lang, Rich Telford, Ronn Nelson, Todd "Poopy" Adamson and Zack Long. Other countries represented in the games were France, Sweden, Canada, Portugal, England, Germany and Russia, with players and coaches including Mike Ratko, Aaron Olsen, Mike Carey, Rowdy McDonald, Peter "Robbo" Robinson, Jack Woods, Max and Alex Lundvist and Magued Idris of the Swedish team, that eventually withdrew from the event, and Fred and Fabrice Halmone.
Elsewhere in the World in Summer, 2002
East Timor becomes an independent nation
Jose Padilla arrested, Dirty Bomb plot foiled
President Bush states that Yasser Arafat must be removed before the US will recognize a Palestinian state
President Bush addresses the United Nations, advocates "regime change" in Iraq
Tyco executives indicted
74. September 18, 2002
Paintball Meets the Geeks: Bea Youngs Leads Paintball into Television's "Junkyard Wars"
On Wednesday, September 18, 2002, paintball met the cable main stream on popular Learning Channel show, "Junkyard Wars." The show, that featured teams of tinkerers, inventers, scientists and hobbyists working against the clock and each other to piece together working machines out of piles of junk in various challenges dreamed up by the producers, was to feature two teams of paintball tank builders. Their task was not only to create a driveable, functioning paintball tank out of a mountanous scrap pile, but then to battle their tank against their opponents' creation, and defeat it with an air cannon that fired paintballs at targets placed on one-anothers' vehicles. The show, entitled, "Extreme Paintball Tanks" pitted Bill Tison and Paul Hoard and their crews against one another, with Bea Youngs as the celebrity referee during the battle. Paintball was also well-represented by Joe Tippmann, who acted as the resident paintball expert for the show's host.
Using gear provided by companies including Tippmann, Smart Parts, JT USA and Worr Game Products, the hosts portrayed paintaball in a positive light, while the two teams constructed their tanks out of junk, one opting for a golf cart platform while the other team rebuilt an old van. On the day of the challenge, the arena was filled with junk cars and other obstacles, Bea Youngs took her position as the referee, and the two tanks battled it out in front of the television audience, driving circles around one-another, squealing tires and firing air cannons at one-another. One of the show's producers was heard to comment that this episode was one of the best they had yet filmed, and the paintball industry certainly agreed. Aside from one incident in which one of the hosts fired a paintball gun without goggles on, the entire show presented paintball in a positive light and put safety first, and the game of paintball received an excellent showing on an extremely popular television network.
"Thanks to Paintball.com, I was recommended to participate in the show, and I am so grateful that I had a chance to be a part of history," stated Bea Youngs about her experience, "on international television, giving people a glimpse of how paintball gear is used." Undoubtedly, whenever paintball appears on mainstream television the entire industry and millions of players across the country hold their collective breath, waiting for negative portrayals of the sport or more misrepresentation. Thanks to the knowledge and influence of Joe Tippmann, Bea Youngs and the paintball companies that contributed to Junkyard Wars, paintball was portrayed in a safe, enjoyable, positive light to millions of viewers around the globe.
2002 - Also in Paintball
1. Team Strange win the PSP/NPPL Gambler’s Open ten-man
2. Gurnsey receives Lifetime Achievement Award at IAO
3. Ground Zero Bedlam win the Mardi Gras Open Pro division
75. October, 2002
Avalanche World Cup Field 11 Versus Ground Zero
The Jeremy Salm Sniper Incident
I’ve known Jeremy Salm since he was the captain of Washington Reign more than ten years ago. I admit I don’t know him all that well, but well enough that I was stunned when I saw first hand what he did at the 2002 World Cup. In the space of a few short minutes, Jeremy Salm, the field captain of Avalanche, went from one of the most respected players in the sport of paintball to one of the most despised. Sneaking into the woods adjacent to one of the World Cup's ten-man fields, he shot at numerous members of Ground Zero Gold as they played against Avalanche. Salm was caught red-handed, suspended from the ’Cup and from an entire year of professional tournament play, and his team was stripped of its scores and removed from the event. He was dropped by his sponsors and fired from his job at Warped Sportz.
When asked by one of our reporters why he did it, Salm replied, “While playing the five-man [part of the event], I noticed the possibility of pulling something like that off, but then never thought more of it. It was literally a last second thing, and I really don't know why I did it. There was really no need to do it. It was true that I was in pain because I had broken my hand; maybe the painkillers clouded my judgment. However, I'm not going to use that as an excuse. It was more of a last second decision, and I have no idea what caused me to do it.”
Decent people do indecent things sometimes. That’s simply the way it is. Since the incident, Salm was hired by Renick Miller, owner of Chicago Aftershock, to coach and run his team. It’s been two years since Mr. “U” literally dragged Salm out of the woods at that World Cup and I for one, haven’t forgotten what it felt like that day. I can only imagine what it felt like for him. - John Amodea
76. Fall, 2002
ΑThe Split≅ - The NPPL and PSP Go Their Own Ways
The rift between NPPL President Chuck Hendsch and the promoters of the NPPL events was growing. Hensdch and most of the NPPL’s participants were becoming less and less patient with the venues chosen by the promoters and with the little effort they (the promoters) were putting into the events.
77. February 7-9, 2003
The NPPL Comes of Age…Again
The NPPL plays paintball in the sand, and the players actually liked it.
78. February 20, 2003
The NXL Debuts at the Mardi Gras Open
Miami Effect Bests Baltimore Trauma in the NXL’s First Game
The first pro-on-pro games were actually held at the 2002 World Cup, but the NXL is principal debuted at the 2003 Mardi Gras Open.
After the success of the first Nation's Cup X-Ball tournament held at the 2002 Diablo International Amateur Open, ProCaps owner and X-Ball creator Richmond Italia asked Mike Ratko and Nick Karnis, ProCaps' in-house attorney, to begin creating the framework for a professional sports league built around the X-Ball concept. As was the concept with X-Ball itself, Italia, Ratko and Karnis wished to wrap paintball around the ideas of other mainstream sports for the purpose of gaining more widely spread acceptance for paintball. A dinner was held with major professional paintball team owners, sponsors and companies and a franchise system was put into place as the basis of ownership of teams within the new league, as this was the accepted system in other sports such as football, baseball and hockey. Cities the teams would represent were chosen by television demographics and their proximity to team owners, and by mid-January 2003, the groundwork for the National X-Ball League was completed. The vision statement of the league was simple: "The National X Ball League™ will increase the awareness of paintball by providing quality entertainment for spectators and provide an opportunity to develop paid, professional paintball players."
With a mission to consider the requirements of television during its development, provide a quality venue for both spectators and players, foster an environment of fair play and promote the game and league to players within the industry and outside paintball, the National X-Ball League played its first games at the 2003 Mardi Gras Open in New Orleans. Eight franchise teams, the Philadelphia Americans, Oakland Assassins, Miami Effect, Los Angeles Ironmen, Baltimore Trauma, Detroit Thunder, Chicago Aftershock and New York Xtreme participated in the NXL during its first year, manned by some of the best players ever to walk onto a paintball field. Adam and Billy Gardner transformed the legendary All Americans into their Philadelphia franchise, while the ultimate captain, Bob Long, became the ultimate coach as Bob Long's Ironmen became Oakland. Ground Zero morphed into NYX and one of the best amateur teams ever to play paintball, Trauma, led by Rob Staudinger and Dave "Opie" Thomas of Image, took on the Baltimore name. Chris Lasoya joined numerous members of his former teammates on Avalanche, along with some new blood, on Miami Effect, and some of the greatest names in paintball history, Aftershock and the Ironmen, soldiered on. Owners of franchises included some of paintball's biggest names, such as Dye, National Paintball Supply, Draxxus and Smart Parts.
With Mike Ratko as its commissioner, the National X-Ball League played its games at Paintball Sports Promotions dates across the country and crowned its first champions, the Philadelphia Americans, at the World Cup in 2003. In 2004, a new franchise, Legacy, came aboard owned by Gary Shows. Another franchise, Crosman's Detroit Thunder, came apart after a lackluster season and was replaced by another of the greatest teams in paintball history, Strange. After Miami Effect bacme "Infamous" that franchise, too, was reorganized, sold to Billy Gardner of Smart Parts and filled out by the All Americans Two. Through controversy over the wait for television deals, departing and reorganizing teams and the costs involved with running franchises that now cost as much as six figures to create, the NXL perservered and announced that their "holy grail," television coverage of the National X-Ball League, would come to fruition as ESPN 2 would televise the NXL in late 2004.
When asked where the NXL would be in ten years, league commissioner Mike Ratko stated flatly, "on television, with a new vision statement because the first one would have been accomplished." Ratko continued to discuss the future of the league, saying "one of our objectives is for each team to have its own stadium or arena where we will play our games. Just like other major league sports, a team will travel to another city and play one game in front of an audience. There might be several games being played in cities across the US. Just like other major league sports."
Elsewhere in 2003
Illinois Governor commutes 167 death sentences in his state, calling capital punishment flawed.
Space Shuttle Columbia explodes
US and Britain attack Iraq
Olympic Bombing Suspect Eric Rudolph apprehended
79. Summer 2003
"This one time, at paintball camp..."
Ronn Stern’s First Paintball Camp
Ronn Stern made the concept of the truly professional, national-level paintball summer camp a reality when he assembled a crew of professional players and industry personalities, including Bea Youngs, Rocky Cagnoni, Mike Paxson, Jonathan Call, Anthony Call, Tom Kaye and Joshua D. Silverman, to teach campers the finer points of proper paintball play. For four days campers learned how to better play the sport they loved, for a price that included paint, air, play, three meals per day, the chance to win prizes provided by sponsors, and a suite hotel room. Campers from ten years old to fifty years old, from across the United States and Canada, flocked to the camps, held over the summer of 2003 and into the winter in Virginia. Fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, children from wealthy families and children who worked for months to afford the price came from across the United States and Canada to spend time with players they had read about in magazines and seen on paintaball videos.
During the days at camp, players exercised and learned how to stretch and warm up effectively with Rocky Cagnoni in a class that was quickly dubbed the "Rocky-robics." Players were then taught how to snap-shoot and play their bunkers properly from legendary one-on-one player Jonathon Call and later by his brother Anthony, and taught how to lane accurately and slide into their bunkers by Bea Youngs and Mike Paxson. Players were taught how to build and walk fields, obtain angles, control critical bunkers and run, slide and dive effectively. Students were taught the concept of the cross, how to hold it and how to break it through drills, scrimmages and hands-on instruction from each instructor. During the evenings, paintball gun tech classes were taught by some of the best technicians in the industry.
At one of the first Ronn Stern Paintball Camps, the attendees, both young and old, were given a special treat when industry pioneer and legend Tom Kaye of Airgun Designs arrived to give a talk about the history of the paintball gun and a seminar about paintball gun design. Kaye spoke for some time, and the audience was captivated. Many left with their minds so full of knowledge about how o-rings and paintball guns and CO2 and compressed air functioned that they could simply learn no more. After days at the field and hours in the pool with some of their favorite paintball players, Joshua D. Silverman taught classes on the history of paintball and the history of the paintball gun, using visual aids such as Splatmaster, Tippmann SMG-60, Tippmann 68 Special, Phantom, Automag, F1 Illustrator and PGP paintball guns and oil-based pellets from paintball's past.
Campers enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner with paintball players they adored, autographs from some of the best personalities in the game, custom jerseys and sweatshirts, and even the chance to enjoy a pool party or play HALO video games with the instructors during the evenings. At the end of each camp, the instructors refereed a paintball tournament between the students that tested their new-found skills, with the camp champions brought face to face with their instructors on the field of play, in a series of games for fun, bragging rights and to show the students how much they had truly learned. What began in the woods of Virginia in 2003 has since evolved into a series of camps held across the nation, from Texas to North Carolina and even Skirmish USA, and has been copied, imitated and emulated by paintball fields and stores across the world. "See that," said instructor Rocky Cagnoni of Brimstone Smoke at one camp he attended while watching students practice the skills they had acquired in only a few short summer days, "there goes the future of paintball right there."
Elsewhere in 2003
Space shuttle Columbia explodes, killing all astronauts aboard
United States and Great Britain attack Iraq
Olympic Bombing Suspect Eric Rudolph captured
US soldiers kill Saddam Hussein's sons in Iraqi firefight
Libya accepts responsibility for 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing
Saddam Hussein captured by US Forces
80. December 5, 2003
PMI Buys RP Scherer=s Paintball Division
One of the most influential names in the paintball manufacturing business over the years was R.P. Scherer. A large and well-known pharmaceutical company, Scherer began producing paintballs while the sport was in its infancy. In 1993, R.P. Scherer acquired Pharmagel's Italian and French operations, which they added to their Petersburg, Florida, Canadian and Brazilian plants, adding to the assets of what was already one of the world's largest soft gelatin encapsulators. From brands like Series 3, Advantage and Premium to Big Ball, Premium Gold, Marbalizer, All Star, El Tigre, Flash, Polar Ice and Evil, R.P. Scherer paintballs have been some of the most popular and well-known in the history of the sport.
Teams such as Aftershock and the All Americans used R.P. Scherer paintballs, distributed by PMI, to win events from the 1991 Masters and 1993 NPPL Boston Cup to countless NPPL World Cup victories, while Scherer sponsored tournaments from the Mayhem Masters in England to the NPPL Dallas Open and the entire R.P. Scherer/PMI tournament series in 1992. Up against paintball manufacturers like Nelson, Zap and Bullseye, R.P. Scherer and their distributor PMI proved to be one of the greatest combinations of products and distribution in the history of paintball. In 1998 Cardinal Health acquired R.P. Scherer and operated the paintball division of that company as RPS Recreational Products.
In more modern times, Aftershock has continued to be a driving force in the National X-Ball League, still shooting R.P. Scherer paintballs, while teams like Evil Factory, Static and Justice shot R.P. Scherer paintballs, sponsored by PMI, to win numerous ten-man and seven-man titles in the PSP and NPPL. In their many years in paintball, PMI, founded in 1982 by Jeff Perlmutter and partner David Freeman, has distributed products from the Trracer pump and PMI-3/VM-68 semiautomatic to the Piranha blow back semiauto, Pure Energy CO2 and compressed air bottles and Extreme Rage brand of packs and harnesses, in addition to R.P. Scherer paintballs, which they have sold exclusively in the United States since 1989. PMI has even been credited with the perfection of the non-toxic, biodegradable, water soluble paintball around which the game has been wrapped for two decades. In 2003, PMI acquired RPS Recreational Products, and the facilities that manufacture R.P. Scherer paintballs, from Cardinal Health, bringing under their direct control one of the most successful brands of paintballs in the history of the sport.
Billy Ceranski, longtime member of legendary paintball team Aftershock and employee of PMI, said "the acquisition of R.P. Scherer by PMI gave us the ability to control our own destiny and directly supervise the manufacture of our paintballs for our customers" when asked about the purchase.
Elsewhere in 2003
Donald Rumsfeld Announces that the price of the Iraq war is nearly four billion dollars per month
US Supreme Court upholds Affirmative Action
Budget Office forecasts the deficit at 480 billion dollars by year's end
DC Sniper, John Muhammad, convicted
81. April 2, 2004
"This Changes Everything."
Brimstone and Ultimate Air Ball release the photo quality, full-color process printing for Ultimate Air Ball Bunkers.
Milt Call and his family, and members of his team, Brimstone Smoke, had been providing the paintball industry with the most durable inflatable paintball bunkers in the world for years when, in 2004, they added a new twist. Ultimate Air Ball had long been using the Ultimate Madness as the Ultimate showcase for their durable, colorful line of paintball bunkers, but 2004's Ultimate Madness three-man event marked a new milestone in paintball when one bunker, one single bunker, was inflated and displayed with a full color, high resolution, literally flawless picture of a Heineken can on its side. Every detail of this larger than life item was rendered in crisp, clear detail, in a size that made the perfect billboard for any company or concept. What started there continued in earnest at the NPPL Denver event when companies like JT and Empire emblazoned full-size logos and even players on the sides of Ultimate Air Ball bunkers for all to see. In razor-sharp resolution, any company can now display their products, logos, slogans or even sponsored teams and players where they are most certain to be seen; on the fields of play that thousands of spectators watch at every event. Now, the sides of each and every bunker on each and every playing field in the United States has been transformed from bland space to valuable retail billboards that can influence players and spectators alike.
Milt Call smiled as he showed off his newest bunker creations at the Ultimate Madness, saying simply "This changes everything." Call and company had worked for a great deal of time to make the full color bunkers playable. "We had that before World Cup, but it took us about ten triest to get it right. We had to go through a great deal of different materials and different processess."
Elsewhere in 2004
Ricky Williams retires from the NFL in the midst of a substance abuse controversy
Portions of the Miss American Pageant are axed from television due to low ratings
Democratic Convention nominates Kerry/Edwards Presidential candidates
82. May, 2004
Renick and the Badlandz dismantle the Longest-Standing Hyperball field in the US
83. May 19, 2004
The First to Leave
Miami Effect becomes "Infamous"
When the players of National X-Ball League franchise team Miami Effect decided to turn their backs on the promise of television deals and money and head towards the cash prizes and massive media coverage that was the NPPL in early 2004, the team literally became "Infamous." As the franchise and name were owned by the National X-Ball League and Richmond Italia of Draxxus (at the time), the name stayed in the NXL where it belonged and the players who caused the entire paintball industry to stand still for a few days, Chris Lasoya, Travis Lemanski, Andy Kopcok, Jon Richardson, Rusty and Gator Glaze, Steve Rabackoff and the rest, took the name Infamous and registered to play in the professional seven-man division of the NPPL at the Tampa tour stop. "We waited a year and a half to get paid and be on television," one Infamous player said in Tampa during their first seven-man event, "...and it never happened. We've been playing NPPL for one day and we've already been on TV." The team proceeded to become "legendary" when they defeated Dynasty in two straight games to win the first seven-man event they played, and then beat them again in Division One X-Ball competition.
In the National X-Ball League, the Infamous players who had filled out the Miami Effect franchise were no slouches. While they finished the 2003 season with a twelve win, thirteen loss record, in 2004 the original Miami Effect franchise players were at their best, winning all their games in New Orleans, finishing three and two in Pomona, and winning two more in Orlando. As they departed the National X-Ball League, Effect's record was an impressive eight and four, proving that the team was not leaving because they were hoping for lesser competition elsewhere. Rather, it became apparent from both team rhetoric and success that Infamous players were in search of more media coverage, cash prizes and more paintball with less rules.
After the team's players left to form Infamous, then-vacant Miami Effect franchise was sold to Bill Gardner of Smart Parts, who filled the roster with the All Americans (two) and coach Rowdy MacDonald, former Philadelphia American and 2003 NXL World Champion. Since then, Infamous has continued to play incredible paintball, winning their second consecutive NPPL event in Denver, this time against a much more competitive field that included NXL players the likes of Bob Long's Ironmen and incarnation of Aftershock and the surging Avalanche and XSV squads. With their places in history already cemented thanks to their willingness to step outside the confines of confusing rules and industry innuendo, how far Infamous can go in creating their own "Dynasty" is now limited only by their ability to play the game and remain together as a team at the very sharpest edge of the professional paintball razor.
"There were a lot of broken promises," said Travis Lemanski of Miami Effect/Infamous. "Time and again they said the money and the television contracts were coming and they just never did. We gave them a time limit and nothing happened, and we finally made our decision to leave, and it was the best decision we could have made."
Elsewhere in the World in the Summer of 2004
Philippine government pulls its handful of troops from Iraq to comply with the demands of Iraqi terrorists holding a Philippino truck driver hostage. The hostage was released after all Philippine troops left the country, and the US stated that it would "re-evaluate" its relationship with the country.
Singer Linda Ronstadt was booed off a Las Vegas casino stage and removed from the casino's hotel after praising controversial film maker Michael Moore's "Farenheit 9/11" feature. After calling Moore a "patriot" amongst other things during her one-night show in Las Vegas, several thousand concert attendees booed, threw drinks into the air and stormed out of the casino in disgust, in response to which the hotel/casino management removed her from the premesis.
National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, apologized for his "sloppiness" in handling numerous sensitive papers pertaining to Al-Qaeda and the Clinton Administration's anti-terrorism policy. Berger's home was searched by the FBI and the Justice Department launched a criminal investigation after notes and official documents disappeared, but Berger and his lawyers announced their willingness to fully cooperate with the government during these proceedings, according to the Associated Press and ABC News.
Long-time Lakers center and NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat.
84. June 21, 2004
The NXL “Relaxes” the Rule
The National XBall League played for over a season without its players appearing on television or receiving the paychecks they were promised when the league was first formed. With some of the very best teams and players in the game matching up against one-another at Mardi Gras and the five PSP professional events across the country, no one could deny that the NXL was the venue in which the very best competed, but internally there was much dissent. Players were unhappy with rules that prevented them from playing anywhere but within the NXL, and with the promises of television coverage and paychecks that simply never came to fruition as the first NXL season became the second. Other teams, arguably as good or better than some of the teams competing in the National XBall League, such as the Naughty Dogs, Avalanche, XSV (made up of mainly of disillusioned former NXL players) and especially Dynasty, could never face off against their peers in the NXL, causing many to question who the "true" best teams in the world really were.
Media coverage of the NXL, even from within the paintball industry, was scarce, as video producers like Traumahead Sportz and Der Der were prevented from covering teams and players like Bob Long and his Oakland Assassins, Tyler Humphrey, Duder, Rob Staudinger and the wild and crazy kids of Trauma, Chris Lasoya and company at Miami Effect, Eric Dearman, Tim Jenkins and the 2003 World Champion Philadelphia Americans, members of Strange, Aftershock, NYX, and the rest of the NXL. While this was accepted early-on due to the explanation that the media rights were being saved for television, the longer the events wore on with no video coverage of any kind, the less water this excuse held. As media coverage faded and the rival professional league, the seven-man NPPL, began to garner massive media support including television coverage on Fox Sports and numerous local stations, players in the NXL began to express greater and more vocal dissatisfaction with their situation.
Teams like Dynasty, the Naughty Dogs and Avalanche, along with former NXL players from the Ironmen now playing as XSV were battling for massive cash prizes in the NPPL and becoming famous doing so, and finally one team had enough. The members of Miami Effect, including Chris Lasoya, Travis Lemanski and many other superstars, walked away from the NXL and became Infamous, just in time to win the Tampa NPPL title, a tens of thousands in cash and massive television exposure. Other NXL players and teams began expressing interest in following suit, and after weeks of rumors, innuendo and lies, the NXL management had no choice but to finally relax their rules preventing its players from competing elsewhere. Simultaneously, members of the Oakland Assassins and Aftershock registered to play in the Denver NPPL event as Bob Long's Ironmen and 'Shock, respectively. "It's about time this happened," said one player, who continued "...like they had any choice? We were going to play in the NPPL whether they wanted us to or not." Since the rule was relaxed by the NXL, even more players and teams from the NXL have registed to play in the NPPL, including members of New York Xtreme, who registed to play the Las Vegas, 2004 NPPL as the New York Raiders.
Mike Paxson of NXL franchise Aftershock, who went on to compete in the NPPL Super Seven professional division as Shock, stated the opinion of many players in the league plainly. "If I was getting paid a salary to play in the NXL, then I would have no problem only playing the NXL. But, since we're not, then I think we should be able to play whatever tournament we want. In the end of the NXL, only one team gets the prize money, whereas in the Super 7, the prize distribution goes all the way down to fourth place at every tournament."
World Events in June, 2004
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 500th career home run on this day.
47 year-old Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is approved to compete in the Athens Olympics, becoming the oldest-ever Olympic competitor.
"Spider Man 2" opens and sets box office records nationwide.
The United States transfers power to the Iraqi government ahead of schedule, to the surprise of the world and any insurgents who might have been planning to disrupt the hand-over, that gave the Iraqi people their first sovereign government since the US toppled dictator Sadaam Hussein.
The Streak: Dynasty Wins 18 Straight Millennium Events
Arsenal Breaks up the Streak in Spain (August, 2004)
For more than two years all of Europe’s top pro team and their U.S. counterparts that traveled overseas to compete in the Millennium Series, all seemed to be playing for second place. Before the events event began one could literally pencil in Dynasty as the pro division winners. Then Arsenal got hot.
Millennium Series Accomplishments
Only team to win the millennium series 2 years in a row
Have won the millennium series more than any other team
Only team to win every millennium series tournament
Only team to win every millennium series tournament in a single year
Only team to not lose a millenium tournament for 2 years
First Pro Team to win the World Cup in the first year
Have won the NPPL series two years in a row
World Points Series Accomplishments
Only team to win the WPS twice
Only team to win the WPS two years in a row
Have won the WPS more than any other team
Triple Crown Accomplishments
Only team to win the Triple Crown
Only team to win the Triple Crown twice
Only team to win the Triple Crown two years in a row
NPPL 2002 Champions
Millennium 2002 Champions
WPS 2002 Champions
Triple Crown 2002 Champions
NPPL 2003 Champions
Millennium 2003 Champions
WPS 2003 Champions
Triple Crown 2003 Champions
Nppl Huntington Beach 1st Place
Psp Pomona Division 1 xball 1st Place
Millenium Max Masters 1st Place
Psp Orlando Division 1 xball 1st Place
Nppl Tampa Bay 2nd Place
Millenium Amsterdam Division 1 xball 1st Place
Psp Chicago Division 1 xball 3rd Place
Millenium Toulouse 1st Place
Nppl Denver 3rd Place
Millenium Madrid 2nd Place
Nppl Huntington Beach 1st Place
Psp Pomona 2nd Place
Millenium Max Masters 1st Place
Millenium Megacampto Portugal 1st Place
Nppl Las Vegas 1st Place
Camp Masters Paris 1st Place
Millenium Amsterdam 1st Place
Nppl Chicago 3rd Place
Millenium Stockholm 1st Place
Nppl New York 1st Place
Millenium Campaign Cup 1st Place
Nppl Miami 1st Place
Mardi Gras Open 8th Place
Mardi Gras Top Gun 1st Place
Nppl La Open 1st Place
Millenium Max Masters 1st Place
Millenium Megacampto Portugal 1st Place
Nppl Chicago Open 4th Place
Millenium Touluse World Cup 5th Place
Millenium Touluse World Cup 9th Place
Nppl Atlantic City 3rd Place
Millenium Campaign Cup 1st Place
Nppl World Cup 2nd Place
Mardi Gras Open 2nd Place
Nppl La Open 3rd Place
Nppl Chicago Open 4th Place
Millenium Touluse World Cup 3rd Place
Nppl Touluse 2 on 2 1st Place
Millenium Campaign Cup 3rd Place
Nppl World Cup 1st Place
86. October 2, 2004
PB2X Brings Paintball to Television in New Weekly Spike TV Show
While paintball has indeed appeared on television many times in the past in various incarnations, from NPPL tournaments and Bob McGuire's American Paintball League variety show many years ago to commercials from companies like Budweiser and Kia featuring the game, paintball finally received a regular time slot on a major non-sports network on October 2, 2004, when Paintball 2Xtremes Television debuted on Spike TV at 9am. While paintball on television in the past often consisted of sporatic coverage of major events such as NPPL events or the Paintball Sports Promotions World Cup on sports or outdoor networks such as Fox Sports Net and OLN, Paintball 2Xtremes Television featured a consistent time slot, allowing players and non-players alike to tune in at the same time every week for thirteen weeks and learn about all aspects of the sport. Bringing all the aspects of Paintball 2Xtremes magazine to bear on 90 million households per week, PB2X television brought the game of paintball to more new eyes on a regular basis than ever before.
Within minutes of the first episode's airing, all the major message boards and websites in paintball were abuzz with conversation about the show, that featured safety tips, product reviews, basic technical information, full games tournament paintball and scenario game coverage. Events including the International Amateur Open, Black Cat Blues Brothers scenario and Paintball Sports Promotions' Northeast Open were covered, and players such as Chris Lasoya and Travis Lemanski gave tips on playing and products. Teams featured included Infamous and all-female X-Ball team Empress. Not only did Paintball 2Xtremes Television introduce a large portion of the public to paintball via its content, but by the content of paintball commercials as well, advertising products like Bob Long's Intimidator, the Icon line of paintball guns and companies like 800 Paintball and National Paintball Supply. Through preferred store and field locators on National Paintball Supply's website advertised on television, millions of people were shown how and where to find the place to play their first game of paintball.
After only a few short weeks, Paintball 2Xtremes TV became the highest rated show in Spike TV's Saturday morning lineup, and garnered rave reviews from players on every level of the game. Johnny Postorivo, the Chief Operatiosn Officer of National Paintball Supply, the publisher of Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine, saw PB2X TV as the next step for paintball's growth. "Paintball 2Xtremes and National Paintball Supply felt that the sport and industry of paintball had grown to a level where legitimate and informative television coverage of our game was needed to help bring paintball to the next level. We did the research, made a plan and took it upon ourselves to bring paintball to the masses."
“No disrespect to the NPPl, PSP, or anyone else putting paintball on TV. That’s all great. But what you’ve (PB2X) done, putting paintball on at the same time and the same day each week is by far the best thing that’s ever been done for paintball.” – Dan Napoli, Warped Sportz
Elsewhere in 2004
Bush/Cheney and Kerry/Edwards battle on the campaign trail for President
Lance Armstrong pedals to a record sixth Tour De France victory
9/11 Panel publishes its official findings, seeks funding to continue campaigning for reforms to prevent future terrorist attacks
Interviewed for this article:
Charles Gaines, Bob Gurnsey, Debra Dion Krischke, Tom Kaye, Bud Orr, Pete “Robbo” Robinson, Gino Postorivo, Milt Call, JJ Brookshire, Jim Lively, Laurant Hamet, Jessica Sparks, Glenn Palmer, Jeremy Salm, Paul Fogel, Chris LaSoya, Pev, Steve Rabackoff, Richmond Italia
Special thanks to Cleo Fogal, Debra Dion-Krischke, Tom Kaye and Ken Gilder In 1981, twelve men walked into the woods near Henniker, New Hampshire carrying Nelspot paintball guns and wearing shop goggles. What these men did not know was that they were about to create an industry, a sport, a hobby, and a way of life for millions of people worldwide. Less than a year after that first game was played, paintball guns were in commercial manufacture and playing fields were opening across the U.S. Now there are more than ten million paintball players in the U.S. alone and paintball truly is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. This article is dedicated to Lionel Atwill, Ken Barrett, Bob Carlson, Joe Drindon, Charles Gaines, Jerome Gary, Bob Gurnsey, Bob Jones, Hayes Noel, Carl Sandquist, Ronnie Simkins and Richie White, the originators of the game.
The information found in this article/issue was gleaned from more than 46 combined years of paintball magazines, 100-plus interviews and through the experiences of our Editor, John Amodea who was there for much of this historical look at paintball, having played since 1985.