Mar 052002
Authors: Bobbie Pawelski

Your heart is pumping. You leap out from behind the tree where you’ve been hiding and aim a precise shot at your target. Ker-splat! Blue paint goes everywhere as you gloat at your defeated comrade.

This adrenaline high gained from a game of paintball may give you a few hours of satisfaction, but to some players, the love of the sport is enough to start sponsored teams.

Since paintball is a relatively new sport in Colorado, the number of sponsored teams is small compared to states like California.

There are only four truly sponsored teams in the state, said Mike Cummins from the Bike Path shop in Aurora.

“It’s pretty hard to get sponsored locally,” Cummins said. “You really need to play through the National Professional Paintball League.”

The Bike Path recently added on a paintball shop, and sponsors teams like the Misfits and Team Money Shot. The owner of the shop actually plays on one of the teams.

“Our group is really tight,” Cummins said. “We let each other know about what’s going on with games and tournaments. We’re all friends who love to play paintball.”

When asked about what is included in sponsoring a team, Cummins said in novice levels, the teams are normally given free guns and some entry fees. In the higher levels however, the teams often receive cash.

Sound like something you’d be interested in?

The World Paintball Federation is hosting the 5 Man Denver Challenge at the end of July. This tournament means business: first prize for the 10-man event is $5000.

In fact, you can find out information about numerous paintball events in Colorado by contacting paintball venues in the state, like Paintball Adventures in Denver.

The avid paintball player can also partake in tournaments in other states. For example, JF Paintball in Grass Valley, Calif. is hosting the NorCal Series 2002 Tournament and recently had the first event of the series. JF Paintball also sponsors some nationally recognized teams.

Dennis Haack, an employee of JF Paintball, said at the first round in late February, approximately 31 teams participated in the event. He also said word-of-mouth was the most effective way of advertising for the tournament.

“Anyone can play, as long as you pre-register and meet the age requirements,” Haack said. The plan is to give away $4000 in raffle prizes by the finale of the tournament.

Paintball seems to be a much more serious sport than one might imagine, especially when you discover that Tennessee is the home of the Paintball Training Institute. This institute focuses on training referees for tournaments, safety courses, air smith techniques, how to repair your equipment and how to begin a paintball business.

The president of the college is Bob McGuire, president of the American Paintball League. Tim Arnold, a chief instructor at PTI, said the school was created to insure that good player conduct on the field was guaranteed.

“PTI issues about ten different types of certifications – more than any school focused on paintball that I’ve heard of,” Arnold said.

Classes run for only two to three days with ten to twenty people registered in each course. The tuition depends on the class, but it tends to run between $150 and $200.

However, there are some individuals who prefer paintball to be abolished.

In Pennsylvania, there is a new law prohibiting the presence of a loaded paintball gun in your car. Violators can be penalized up to $300.

In December, the Wisconsin legislation decided to propose a ban on paintball on department lands. This ban would include 1,000,000 acres of forestland in Wisconsin, in order to protect destruction to the natural area.

The paintball population in the United States is attempting to gain a meeting with lawmakers to help educate about paintball, but lawmakers refused to meet with them unless a stream of phone calls and emails are sent in supporting the paintball community.

Paintballers throughout the United States are concerned that if the legislation is passed, similar bans will eventually occur in other states and restrict many potential locations for games.

Despite the controversy, the individuals who participate in these sponsored teams definitely enjoy this sport that takes stamina and intellect.

Perhaps you consider paintball as a stress reliever or pleasurable activity only.

However, if you’re entertaining the idea of getting involved more seriously, grab a few of your friends, strap on the armor, and call your local paintball site for information.I

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