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Shatnerball II
The Wrath of Tom
Text and Photographs by
Joshua D. Silverman
Assistant Editor of Proud WARPIG.com Media Partner, Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine - www.pb2x.com - www.crossfiremag.com


In 2002, world-renown star of television and the silver screen William Shatner, best known as the legendary "Captain Kirk" of Star Trek, made history by taking on a starring role in a paintball scenario game of epic proportions.  That game, held outside Joliet, Illinois, drew well in excess of one thousand players and utilized a
Star Trek scenario to pit Shatner, playing Captain Kirk at the head of the Federation, against the Borg, led by paintball's original technological terror, Tom Kaye of Airgun Designs and popular Chicagoland radio show host "Mancow," himself an avid William Shatner fan.  That game, promoted by longtime paintball industry member JJ Brookshire and wife Toni, of the Society of Paintball PLayers And Teams, better known as SPPLAT, drew massive paintball industry support and brought dozens of paintball's brightest stars together for a day of fun on the paintball field.  Following up on the wave of positive paintball publicity generated by "William Shatner's SPPLAT Attack," Shatner, Tom Kaye, Mancow and JJ Brookshire decided to host a sequel, Shatnerball 2, a year later, on August 31, 2003.  Hosted at Michael "Blue" Hanse's world famous EMR Paintball of New Milford, Pennsylvania, home of the amazing "Castle Aargh" and the long-standing Castle Conquest game, the paintball industry would again converge around William Shatner for a day of fun and games, to benefit both the entire paintball industry and, more importantly, Shatner's charity benefitting handicapped children, Ahead With Horses.

In the months leading up to Shatnerball 2, sponsors were acquired and planning for the event carried on.  The game, it was decided, would be played with a "Wild West" theme, pitting William Shatner, General of the "Cavalry," and Mancow, leading the "Posse" against Wayne Brady of "Whose Line is it Anyway" television fame and his "Raiders", with Tom Kaye of Airgun Designs working alongside him, leading the Tek Nuts, who arrived from the future in a pleasant plot twist.  Assisting Tom Kaye would be long-time ally Preacher and the Evil, Inc. scenario team, while "PacMan" of MXS scenario games and "Blue" of EMR would run with Shatner.  As time for the game drew near, bad news arrived as Wayne Brady announced his inability to attend.  In agracious and honorable show of support for the scenario genre and the Shatnerball game itself, Glenn Palmer of Palmer's Pursuit Shop stepped up to fill Brady's role leading the Raider team.  An
experienced woods-ball player and great personality, Palmer proved a great addition to the Shatnerball celebrity lineup, both on and off the field.

By the weekend of the game, all had fallen into place and industry support arrived at EMR Paintball to show off their products.  The newest addition to the paintball industry, jumping into the game "with both feet," was leading boot manufacturer Magnum, who brought their trade show display and lovely spokesmodel Tabby to EMR to support their sponsored players, Blue's Crew, and the event.  Due
most likely to the remarkable quality of Magnum's boots, perfect for the recreational and scenario game of paintball, mixed with the lovely feminine wiles of Tabby, boots walked out of the booth practically by themselves, though most left on the feet of paintball players, overjoyed at their new-found comfort.  Across from Magnum was the original "Mag" in paintball, Airgun Designs.  As the major sponsor and driving force behind the Shatner game concept, Tom Kaye brought the entire Airgun Designs squad including a full trade show display and the AGD promotional Cougar car.  Airgun employees such as fearless leader Tom Kaye, JJ, Shanon and Jon were joined on the field of play by spokesmodel Clare Benavides of the Femmes Fatale and AGD Pride fame, along with literally dozens of members of the wildly successful owner's group phenomenon, Automags.org, including Magman007, Doobie, Captain Canuck, Spraying Mango and Josh2Xtremes, among many, many others who followed their general selflessly, even to the point of personal injury.

Draxxus Paintball brought their massive new show tractor trailer to the event in addition to a climate-controlled paint trailer to sell Inferno paintballs, advertise X-Ball, Draxxus paintballs and paintball clothing and the extremely popular V-Force goggles, worn by such players in the game as William Shatner himself, along with many other distinguished players, including Dennis Ashley of Centerflag, who brought his own trade show display to promote his Dynaflow
compressed air systems and regulators, Craig Miller of Draxxus and Brimstone, who brought the Brimstone Smokin' Paintball tent down with wife Judy and Pat O'Toole of Brimstone Smoke, to promote the Smokin' Paintball Outlast Pants, C4 Matrix mod, indistructible gear cases and the rest of Brimstone's product line, and Rene Boucher and son of Paintball News, all of whom came to play alongside Tom Kaye and Glenn Palmer.

The V-Force-wearing supporters of Shatner and company included such amazing players as long-time professionals Robert "Rosie" Rose and Dennis "Mooner" Mood of Ground Zero and New York Xtreme X-Ball Franchise fame along with industry insider Jerry Braun of the PSP, all of whom came to play for fun and support Cousins Paintball, Toxic Performance, Generation E and Bunkerking, who set up an impressive trade display across from Centerflag.  Other trade show displays were erected by American Paintball Supply and Severe, who sold paintballs at the event, and the US Army, who parked a HumVee at the event
manned by several camouflage-clad soldiers, who fit in better than even they had expected.  While not attending the event, Paintball Junkies was aboard as the official jersey sponsor of the event.  They provided the two jerseys that were the only acceptable shirt for participants in the game to wear.  The Posse and Cavalry were equipped with blue Civil War-esque cavalry outfits, complete with gold buttons and neckerchief, while the Raiders would wear black, the typical Old West "bad guy" color, complete with "Pancho Villa" bandoliers of rifle ammunition across the chest.  Thusly attired, the nearly eight hundred registered players that arrived by Sunday morning were prepared to take to the fields.

After an enthusiastic smack-talk session between the commanders of each team, the players took to the fields and the game began Sunday morning under clear, cool Pennsylvania mountain skies.  It was a pleasant surprise, after previous rain showers, to see that the weather had finally been brought aboard as a sponsor for the event, as by noon the day had blossomed into a gorgeous one perfect for
paintball, with temperatures in the high seventies and crisp, sunny skies that were intermittently spattered by clouds.  The teams immediately collided in a field overgrown with tall grass possessing rolling terrain and varying styles of bunkers, stands of small trees and even small block-houses and buildings.  With a hill and forested land on one side and the netted staging area on the other, the area
made a perfect battleground in which the sneaky players could crawl towards their opponents and wreak havoc while more timid or trigger happy players could simultaneously stand off at longer ranges and shower one-another with hails of paintballs from hundreds of paintguns at once.

Occassionally, a tank like that of the Assassin's Guild or Automagnus would roll through the field and cut a swath through the skirmish lines for players to break through, but the battle swayed back and forth over this ground for the majority of the day, with various flanking maneuvers and pushes attempted by both sides with varying degrees of success.  Meanwhile, both teams ran and completed missions
racking up points, but throughout the day, the teams stayed neck and neck.  Throughout the day the outstanding contingent of referees from all over the United States and even Canada kept the players safe by enforcing the rules, keeping the players safe and periodically chronographing the players, often without regard for their own bodies, as they were in the line of fire throughout the day performing paintchecks and other duties.  Many in attendance pronounced these some of the best referees they had ever seen and these compliments went hand in hand with those thanking the field staff for their off-field accomplishments such as ensuring plenty of parking, good catered food and quick and quick and effortless compressed air fills all the way to 4500psi throughout the event.  EMR is truly a paintball park prepared for events of the magnitude of Shatnerball, as the event ran without serious incident of any kind, thanks to the preparation of Blue and the EMR staff, Mother of MXS who conducted the game, and JJ and Toni Brookshire of SPPLAT who coordinated the entire affair.

Midday the generals and their lieutenants were summoned together for a special mission.  The mission would consist of a game of "total elimination" speedball on a spool and barrel speedball field above EMR's Castle, to be known as the "Gunfight at the OK Corral."  With cameras from the Outdoor Life Network, local news channels, Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine, Automags.org and Crossfire Paintball magazine at the ready, William Shatner, Mancow and several of their best playerswould face off in a life or death grudge match against Tom Kaye,
Glenn Palmer and their best players.  At the word go, with dozens of players and industry members observing, cameras rolling and referees watching closely, both teams spread out across the field with both teams keeping their generals back at the large center bunkers.  Oneby one the teams whittled one-another down until only Tom Kaye wasalive on the Raider team, still in his back bunker, his Warp
Feed-equipped EMag a delivering a decided advantage over the front player remaining alive on the Cavalry squad.  In spite of a valiant dash left across midfield, Kaye was able to lean out and hose the Cavalry player down as he ran, thanks in no small part to the Warp Feed that kept him tightly behind his bunker to win the game for the Raiders.

The final battle, in essence a several hundred versus several hundred speedball game on approximately three acres of sparse woods and multi-story village, began in mid-evening at the sound of the gun.   The teams slammed into each other in the center of the small field, both attempting to take and hold the key two-story building at the center of the field that commanded both the entire field, but also
the small building adjacent to it that housed the center flag that was the prize.  To win the final battle, a team would be required to be in possession of the building housing the flag at the end of the one hour game.  In spite of repeated flanking attempts and frontal assaults by desperate players on both sides, the outnumbered Raiders were unable to wrest control of the building from the Cavalry and Posse, who went on to win the final battle and the game for William Shatner and Mancow, by a relatively tight margin.

After a short break to wipe off and relax, the players converged on the stage where thousands of dollars in prizes were given away including paintball guns from Tippmann and Spyders from Kingman, as well as dozens of frisbees, t-shirts, Crossfire Magazines and other promotional items like posters and banners.  After this, a rather frightening display of rear echelons by various cast members and an
auction of various autographed paintball gear and other paraphernalia was announced to raise money for the Ahead with Horses charity, and according to sources, nearly ten thousand dollars was raised, a truly great moment for the paintball players of the game.

As the sun set behind the Pennsylvania mountains, it could be truly said that nearly, if not every player in attendance left happy, with a sense of pride for participating in a piece of paintball history.   Blue, the EMR staff, JJ and Toni Brookshire of SPPLAT, Tom Kaye, Mancow, Glenn Palmer, Mother and Pac Man of MXS and especially William Shatner and his lovely wife not only played their roles with acumen and enthusiasm, but helped hundreds of players enjoy the game while contributing to a worthy charity.  Rumors of Shatnerball Three are already running rampant, with a return to Chicagoland not out of the question.  For more information, stay tuned to www.shatnerball.com, www.williamshatner.com,
www.warpig.com or read the pages of Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine or Crossfire Paintball magazine for all the details.
 


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