||The first Florida State 5 man Championship tournament was
held on September 12th, 1999.
The tournament produced by Jacksonville Warriors' Paul Bollenbach and
Bullseye Paintball's Jim Durante was held at Paintball Park, in Ft. Meyers,
Florida. Paintball Park is owned by Todd Adamson of the professional
paintball team Aftershock. The events major sponsors were Diablo
Direct, and National Paintball Supply. Additional sponsors included
Benchmark, Pro Team Products, Airgun Designs, Warped Sports, Extreme Rage
and Smart Parts. Diablo's refrigerated semi-trailer kept both the
Diablo and Zap paint sold at the field cool in the hot Florida weather.
Despite the fact that Hurricane Floyd was bearing down on the state, the
air was hot and humid, so paint storage was critical. Paint
in the hopper from even one game to the next sometimes had a rough
go of it. Graham Easton of the All Americans came down from Pennsylvania
to serve as ultimate judge.
A refreshing surprise for a South Florida tournament, this event
included a trade show. Staff from Warped Sportz, Extreme Rage,
and Diablo Direct had booths packed with their products.
The prize package put together by the sponsors was quite impressive.
It included 10 Powerfeed Automags, 5 Shockers, 5 f/x Autocockers, 5 MaxFlow
air systems, 5 Scott gear bags, 10 JT Spectra goggle systems, 5 Benchmark
45 grip frames, 5 Benchmark HPA cradles, 5 Benchmark expansion chambers,
5 pairs of JT gloves, 15 cases of paint, 5 J&J Barrels, 10 ProTeam
player packs (t-shirt, and barrel cleaning supplies), 5 Warped Sportz jerseys,
and 5 Extreme Rage jerseys. All prizes were in groups of 5, and the
winning teams were allowed to choose their prizes from each category.
With this format the teams ended up with the gear that
was most useful to them.
The entire tournament was held on concept fields. Worries that
fields would be too wet from rains the night before were set aside.
The sandy soil was firm, yet damp enough to yield during a slide or fall.
One field was built with standard wood construction bunkers, one with bunkers
made from bell shaped recycling receptacles, and the third was a SupAir
inflatable. The morning got off to a bit of a rough start with some
confusion as to what types of masks would be allowed, and followed by team
after team disputing calls made by the referees. As things smoothed
out toward the afternoon, the morningís delays were felt. Staff members
from Paintball Park (who had been handling recreational games in the morning),
as well as some team members who didnít make the finals pitched in to fill
in as additional referees helping the last games finish at a reasonable
Late in the prelims a few teams got popped with surprise velocity
penalties, not because they were initially shooting hot, but because
their regulators were not properly locked, so they had the potential
to be dialed up. Players Ė youíve got to remember to lock those regs,
itís a key safety rule. The prelims and semifinals narrowed the field
of participants to Team Strange, Swat Black, OAM, Nemesis Raven, Texas
Avalanche, Rebellion, Splat and Bad Karma I. A surprise outcome for
the Florida State Championship was that the first and second place teams
were from Texas and Mississippi. While it is great to see that a
south Florida event can draw teams from throughout the southern US, you
can bet that next year the local teams will be gunning to bring the trophies