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CFOA 2003 Series Finale
Text and Photographs by Joshua D. Silverman
Assitant Editor of Proud WARPIG Media Partner, Paintball 2Xtremes
The Carolina Field Owners Association, presented by National Paintball Supply, brought their epic 2003 tournament season to a close in Sevierville, Tennessee over the final weekend in September at the Alternative Sport.. Sixty four teams made the trip from as far away as Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to compete for cash, prizes and the final chance to acquire seed points towards the season
ending prize package that included two trips to the Paintball Sports Promotions World Cup, two skids of Draxxus Inferno paintballs generously donated by National Paintball Supply and a cut of nearly ten thousand dollars in season-ending prize money from the CFOA. With all the top teams on hand still competing for top slots in the season rankings and representatives from many league sponsors attending the event, the 2003 Carolina Field Owners Association tournament series finale was certain to be intense.
Adam Hogston, owner of the Alternative Sport and player for top novice contender Thrash Black, worked with his team and staff to transform an almost forgotten one-time paintball field into a true tournament facility complete with numerous lighted, regulation size speedball fields with twenty-foot netting hung from telephone poles. "It was a lot of very hard work," Hogston noted after the event concluded, "but it was worth it! It'll only be better next year!" The parking lot and all the fields had to be bush hogged and mowed from well over head-height to a playable level and netting had to be re-hung in the weeks leading up to the event, and the job completed by Hogston and company in recreating a remarkable tournament site was outstanding. All fields used for the rookie, novice and amateur center flag, five-man event were Ultimate Air Ball inflatable fields, the official paintball field of the Carolina Field Owners Association.
As teams began arriving to set up their tents, trailers and staging areas, final preparations for the event were underway. Presenting sponsor National Paintball Supply brought their
T2000 promotional tractor trailer to the event with the latest products from the world's largest paintball supply manufacturer and distributor including new Intimidator paintball guns, VForce masks and Empire products. The massive awning unleashed from the side of the T2000 provided the scoreboard, promoter Jon Morrell's registration table and, as it turned out, the players, with shelter from both the sun and less satisfactory weather. Nearby, Bob Sandifer and family erected their The Angel Guy display promoting WDP's products, their own The Aggressive Generation line and featuring WDP technicians. The Angel Guy even put one rookie and one novice team into CFOA competition for the first time. At the far side of the field, Advisory Board member and owner of Paintball Central and NXL franchise team Trauma, Rob Staudinger, marshaled his army in constructing the
massive Paintball Central and The Matrix Center trade and tech booths and the air station, including sponsored Kalibur push button fill stations that eradicated air fill lines at CFOA events forever in 2003.
As Friday turned into Friday night, many players took to the streets of Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, eyeing sights like Dollywood, the Dixie Stampede, the Alabama Grill and the dozens of bars, restaurants, go-cart tracks and other fun spots while at the field, CFOA promoter Larry Motes, Hogston, Morrell and Advisory Board Member Josh Silverman put the finishing touches on the fields.
At noon Saturday the 26 rookie teams in attendance took to the four Ultimate Air Ball fields to compete in their final event of 2003. In legendary style, the championship of the rookie division for the entire year was able to be won and lost on the field of play, though it seemed that front-runner team Machine had the championship locked down. A thirteenth or better overall tournament finish seemed a certainty for a team that had won numerous events throughout the season, but as is always the case, paintballs had to fly before trophies were handed out. Fast paced games were the norm on the unique,
challening fields that featured such designs as ladders down both tapelines on one field, massive center bunkers on another, and an X-Ball-style layout on a third field. As the
preliminary rounds drew to a close, clouds surged over the nearby mountains and dumped a massive thunderstorm on the site, postponing games for quite some time. As dozens of players took shelter in under the National Paintball awning (which nearly blew away itself before valiant players saved the day), tents and awnings blew across the fields and were subjected to a torrential rain storm.
Once the tumultuous weather had blown through, play resumed and the semifinals and finals got underway. Due to the unexpected and unusually long weather delay, the finals
ended up being played at night, but as lighted fields were available there were few if any complaints to be heard. Corrupt, playing with only four players at the event, had a shot at the title if Machine, having failed to make the day's cut, finished lower than thirteenth but it was yet to be determined and winning with four players seemed unlikely. New Gen, the
Virus Kids and the Mid Knights joined corrupt in the dark final round, in which Corrupt stunned the field with a convincing four-player win with New Gen and the Virus Kids rounding out the podium. As the scores were tallied, it became shockingly obvious that with four players, in the dark, Corrupt had pulled off a miracle and won not only the event, but the Powerlyte Rookie Division 2003 title by only six points over Machine, who finished second for the year with a fourteenth place at the event.
By refereeing the final event of the year, novice team Thrash Black convincingly won the 2003 novice division title and the World Cup entry and skid of Inferno that accompanied it
even after being disqualified from one event and earning no points. The rest of the year's podium spots, however, were still up for grabs and games would have to be played before
the rest of the trophies were handed out. The amateur division faced a similar occurrence, with XSF officiating the event to win the 2003 amateur division title. Indeed, the team officiated the event wearing "2003 CFOA Amateur Champion" t-shirts. Novice and amateur games took to the fields early Sunday morning under cool, crisp, sunny skies perfect for paintball. Games were hard core and head to head on all fields and by
shortly after lunch the front runners were moving into the semifinals. In the novice division, Overload managed an impressive and convincing first place victory with the Bad
Boyz close behind in second. H20 managed third place with Anger Management in fourth, and this distribution of the series points created a tie for second in the overall series standings between Anger Management and Virus X that, according to the rules, had to be settled in a single, head to head game on the field. As the smoke cleared Anger Management came out in second place overall with Virus X taking third place for the season.
The amateur division was fiercely competitive but the top slots, the cash pot, skid of Inferno and trip to the World Cup were already predominantly determined. XSF was awarded a skid of Inferno, a trip to the World Cup and nearly three thousand dollars in cash, and Mantis Factory took second, a massive pile of Inferno paintballs and over two thousand dollars in cash. After a strong finish at the event, Virus managed a third place trophy for 2003 and nearly one thousand dollars cash. Paintball Central team Mayhem won the series finale itself and took home one thousand dollars cash while Team XTreme and Infinity rounded out the top three.
The 2003 Carolina Field Owners Association tournament series enjoyed more teams than nearly any other regional tournament series, with an average attendance of nearly eighty (80) teams per event. The great experiment of a rookie division enjoyed such success that it was announced that it will return in 2004, as will presenting sponsor National
Paintball Supply, whose Chief Operations Officer, Johnny Postorivo, attended the event and signed a sponsorship agreement for next season with CFOA promoter Larry Motes.
Sponsors including Airgun Designs, Xtreme Sports Fulfillment, Ultimate Air Ball, Kalibur, Crossfire, Paintball 2Xtremes, Diablo, Powerlyte, Paintball Central, the Matrix Center, Extreme Rage and Traumahead Sportz are likely to return for 2004 joined by Southern Paintball Concepts, Ronn Stern Gear and Hammerhead. For more information on the
Carolina Field Owners Association, visit their website, www.thecfoa.com, National Paintball Supply at www.nationalpaintball.com, the official Internet resource of the CFOA for 2003 and 2004, www.WARPIG.com and read about the series in the pages of exclusive and official magazine of the CFOA, Paintball 2Xtremes (www.pb2x.com)