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IAO Owner's Group Division
A Different Kind of Paintball
Story and photos by Kevin Cullen
“Three, Two, One...Five Seconds.” The two teams turned away and placed their barrels on the dead-box. “Go. Go. Go.” That's how games began Thursday morning at the 2005 International Amateur Open over on Field 4. It all seemed normal. But there was a twist. This was the Owner's Group Division. The AKA Owners faced the Tippmann Owners. Over the next eight hours, eleven owners group teams played a total of 55 games. Later that night, every team attended a dinner at the Lone Star Steakhouse and many ambled over to the bar at the Sheraton later as the evening progressed.
The Owner's Group Division had a unique beginning, with all of its teams formed over the Internet. Owners Groups like Automags.Org, Brass Eagle.org and AKAOwners.org took responsibility for organizing the teams. Posts were made asking for players on the web forums and with a little persuasion, owners group five man teams came together.
Players showed up from all over the country to come to the OGD. In many cases, players on the teams had never met one another before attending. They had only chatted on the Internet. The OGD rules required certain distances between players and prohibited players from playing with regular teammates. Nonetheless, all participants agreed on one thing: their goal was to have fun. Rob Kenny of AFTICA remarked, “The OGD really made my IAO experience above and beyond any other tournament I have ever attended.”
After the first day, when all the preliminary games were played, Shocker Owners found themselves in first place. Close behind were the AKA Owners. The top eight were rounded out with Palmer Owners Brass, Team Automags.org, AIR Powered, Tippmann Owners, Rainmaker Owners and Matrix Owners. These eight teams advanced to the quarterfinals the next day. Rainmaker Owners and Team AO proved strongest on Friday and made the push into the best-of-three finals. After a stalemated first game where Team AO was able to garner the flag pull, but no hang, Rainmaker stormed out the next two games with a mission. When the dust settled, the Rainmaker Owners were victorious and won the 2005 Owners Group Division championship.
What separates the OGD from many tournaments is its emphasis on sportsmanship. Of the total $8,500 prize package over $5,000 went to the sportsmanship awards. Brass Eagle.org was unanimously selected by the referees as the winners of the AKALMP Sportsmanship award. Their players all received AKALMP Viking markers. A new award at the OGD, and an OGD exclusive, is the AKALMP Sportsman of the OGD. Stephani Steele of Palmer Owners Brass was the first recipient of the prestigious award. She received a fully loaded AKA Excalibur for her efforts. Both Brass Eagle.org and Steele will have their names engraved on the Owners Group Cup along with champion Rainmaker Owners.
The Owners Group Division is a unique
event. No other event provides the same kind of excitement, entertainment
and camaraderie that the OGD provides. In the words of Rainmaker Owners
captain, Scott Quarles, “To say that OGD is the gem of the IAO is an understatement.
It carried the IAO.”
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