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Hayes Noel with Bud Orr at 1998 Masters

The Origin Of The Sport
A recorded narrative by Hayes Noel
Introduction by Bill Mills

 

At the 1998 Zap International Masters produced by Jim Lively in Nashville Tennessee, Hayes Noel delivered the keynote speech.  

Lively has been involved in the promotion of paintball and paintball events since the early years, and is a long time friend of Noel.  At Lively's request, Noel traveled from his California home to give this speech.

A stock trader by profession, Hayes Noel had many discussions in the late 70s with his friend Charles Gaines, an avid outdoorsman that centered around whether a shark-like businessman, or a "good old country boy" would come out on top in a survival game.

After they ran across an agricultural supply catalog which featured the NelSpot 007, they bought a pair, and held a duel to see if they could handle the impact of a ball.  This was the first known instance of one person shooting another with a paintgun.  

The two then organized and played the first game, then went on to form the National Survival Game, a paintball field franchisee and product distributor.  Without a doubt the genesis of the game we know today was through NSG.  In the early 1990s, NSG faded from the limelight as competing companies pushed their way through a growing market.

With the dissolution of NSG, Noel left the paintball scene.  His  visit to the Masters being a "first look" back at the sport intrigued him, especially the advancements in equipment.

In this audio excerpt from Noel's speech, he describes the first game, early growth of NSG, and an appearance on the Donahue show.  Note there is a short gap in the recording from his initial introduction, the narrative jumps to his discussions with Gaines about the rush of stalking prey through the woods.

Click Here to listen (approx 12 min.)


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