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Seattle Pan Am 2001
Guns - RIP Red
This year, Seattle is the second of the Pan Am Circuit's three major events. The location, which worked well in 2000, was Paradise Paintball in Port Orchard, Washington. Owned and operated by Ed and Margaret Wood, Paradise Paintball is located in a community sports park, surrounded by soccer fields, BMX tracks, skating ramps, hiking trails and a live steam model railroad club.
Paradise's two concept fields, a mixture of Sup-Air, Ultimate Airball, and Game On Gear bunkers were surrounded by two layer netting During normal field operations they are surrounded by 10 foot netting, with taller netting on the staging area side - a second, taller layer of netting was added during the tournament to protect spectators on two more sides. Three more fields, in the woods round out the play area for 5 man competition, while a pair of concept fields, also of mixed bunker types, on a soccer field were set up for the Young Guns and Stock Class games to be played on Sunday.
While the Pan Am Circuit has not jumped on the same bag style barrel blocker bandwagon as the NPPL, bags are becoming increasingly popular amongst the players with fewer and fewer barrel plugs in use.
67 teams came to compete in the 5 player tournament. 24 novice and 8 amateur teams began their preliminary games on Friday under overcast skies with a comfortably cool temperature. Rampage Black, Lady T&A (named for Tombstone Paintball and ACI their main sponsors) and Phoenix Heat reffed on the five fields, earning series points for their teams in the process. Games ran smoothly to schedule, allowing for a mid-day lunch break and a finish with plenty of time for dinner and socializing afterward.
A recent re-vamp of the database used in conjunction with the Pan Am Series photo ID system is providing more in-depth player tracking. Past event rosters have been entered into the database, and now, at events team rosters are used to record the team and classification under which a player competes. The instant access to these records is expected to greatly reduce future debates of how a player should be classified within the league. Players were briefly interviewed to update the player database, rewarded for their time by an entry for a drawing with a chance to win an Angel LCD and an AKALMP Revenge. Saturday afternoon, promoter Dan Bonebrake held a footrace before cheering crowds, the prize being more tickets for the raffle, and in the following half hour, extra tickets were given as rewards to players who cleaned the tournament grounds of litter.
Making an appearance at the tournament was Team Highlanders. They are unusual in that they are an official US Marine Corps team. The members hail from Camp Pendleton in Southern California, and the team is officially backed by their unit on base, which does to far as to issue travel orders for the team to compete in tournaments.
Saturday the weather warmed and short stretches of full sunshine were tempered with changing light cloud cover. By mid morning, the amateur and novice prelims had finished, giving those teams the rest of the day off while the rookie 5 man and 3 player young gun prelims took place.
For the novice teams two teams from each division advanced to the semi-finals, plus two additional wildcards (next highest scores amongst all the divisions). For the eight amateur teams playing in a single prelim division, the top four teams moved on.
In the novice divisions, Asylum finished the prelims on top with their players from central and southern California. They played 8 nearly perfect games, including two maxes (100 points - the pull, the hang, complete elimination of the other team and no players lost), they suffered only one loss in the prelims. Ranked second was Aftermath, followed by Ravage Novice. N'Control and Rampage in made the cut via the wildcard slots.
For the amateurs, the chances of advancing were numerically better (50% of the teams went on) but the competition to be in that top half was tougher. In the 2001 season it is becoming expected to see the Naughty Dogs on top, and these prelims were no exception. They suffered a single loss, ranking in first above second seated Ravage, third placed Xtreme Genesis, and fourth placed Naughty Dogs 2. Xtreme Genesis had to perform some roster changes. Little John recently changed from amateur to pro status (playing for Bob Long's Ironmen), and with the Pan Am limit of a single pro player on an amateur team, Brian Cole of Dynasty who had planned to play for the team couldn't sign in on the roster.
Meanwhile on the young guns fields the games went at a rapid pace. The two fields were overseen by Paintball Magazine editor Jessica Sparks, and Action Pursuit Games editor Dan Reeves, and reffed by members of Lady T&A. Sparks commented that many of the young guns had the skills needed to be playing in the 5 man competitions.
The trade show proved to be one of the largest ever held in the Pacific Northwest. A paint semi from Diablo shipped paint to the site (though it was a BYOP event) and ACI's display and sales trailer was set up Friday evening. ACI's Greg Sullivan has spent a fair amount of time on the road recently, driving home to Southern California from the International Amateur Open before driving up north to Seattle. TopStitch displayed their line of M-Packs, including the Pan Am model with pouches for two pods (for the limited paint format) and clear ID pocket. Under the vendor's tent AKALMP displayed their Excalibur electropneumatics, VLM bodies, and the soon to be released Viking low pressure blowback paintgun. Out of their shared booth, Splat Attack had a variety of products, including their Revenge paintguns built on AKALMP's VLM bodies. Mountain Top Designs, custom embroidery carried the official Pan Am t-shirts, hats, and other soft goods. They also displayed their new rugged dual cell constructed inflatable bunkers. Planet Paintball supplied assorted equipment for players, as well as Bonebrake Autocockers and Angels, while Jason Henley and Kevin Ham provided tech support and paintgun tuning. Paintball Junkies displayed their full line of jerseys and soft goods while Paradise Paintball augmented their store display (which was literally across the street from the tournament site) with a table full of Game On Gear products. Indian Creek Designs brought out a full complement of staff from their Idaho factory to provide tech support, show the latest innovations in the Bushmaster, and enjoy the event. JMJ Concepts displayed their customized Autocockers. Local food vendors provided pizza, chinese food and mexican food, all oven fresh.
A local latin jazz band provided smooth sounds through the afternoon lending a party atmosphere to the event. After the last game of the day was completed, players gathered under the vendor's tent for prize drawings. The crowd was warmed up with various prizes - including napkin wrapped slizes of fresh pizza - being thrown out over their heads. A Worr Games Products Autococker and other prizes were raffled off to the crowd. Later that night, many gathered at a bar and grill in Port Orchard for the unofficial player's party to the sound of a couple of local bands.
Sunday, while the 5 man teams were playing finals and semi-finals the 3 man stock class competition was held on the concept fields used previously by the young guns players. For players who did not have their own stock class paintguns, Component Concepts Phantoms were available.
In the amateur finals, Ravage (where Brian Cole ended up guesting) and Naughty Dogs each won their first game. This meant that their game against each other would decide first place amateur. Through no small coincidence, minutes before the game began the door of the cab on the Diablo paint truck opened, and the song "Who let the dogs out?" echoed from the stereo. When the game started, both teams took sound positions, playing semi-conservatively. Neither tried for bunkers on the 50 off the break. Joey Mendoza from the Dogs tossed an empty pod at the center bunker hoping to the sound would draw someone out. The move was to no avail, and when he tried to move into the bunker, a player popped up over the top, eliminating him. At almost the same instant, Ravage lost a player from their right side, near the back. The two teams tucked tight, and exchanged paint for a while until Rocky Knuth was taken out from his middle position halfway to the back. Ravage held their ground, and player after player, took down the Dogs until Aaron Olson was left alone on the back left stand up bunker. A Ravage player ran up to his bunker, then swung around the side, but Olson was too fast, and shot him first. Seconds later, another Ravage player came around the other side, placing a shot in Olson's pack while his teammate grabbed the flag and ran it in for the hang, securing first place Am.
From Seattle the next major event in
the Pan Am will be in Las Vegas, Nevada this coming November. The
venue, sounds very promising with closed circuit video, indoor and out
door fields, video arcades and go carts, all in a prime location just off
the Strip. A new event for the Pan Am, a one on one top gun style
competition is planned to debut at the event. The joust will consist
of two players facing off with AKALMP Excalibur paintguns on a field consisting
of a central row of can style bunkers. The players can move forward,
but once they pass a can, they will not be allowed to retreat past it.
The winner of this tournament will receive an Excalibur.