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Pan Am Seattle 2002
September 13-15, 2002
Port Orchard, Washington

Young Guns 1st - RIP Blue
Amateur 1st - Cartel
Novice 1st - Cartel
Rookie 1st - Urban Quest III
Stock Class 1st - Maxit

The Pan Am Circuit held it's third 5 man major tournament of the 2002 season at Paradise Paintball in Port Orchard, Washington, just southwest of Seattle.  The field has been host to a Pan Am major for the past three years.  In 2002 it changed hands from previous owners Ed and Margaret Wood who sold the field in order to move to London where Ed has taken a teaching position.  The field is now owned by Kent Foss and Dareld Joliffe.

Paradise Paintball is located in a city owned sports park which features not only the paintball fields, but facilities for soccer, baseball, BMX dirt riding, BMX and skate ramp riding, and even the operation of live steam model trains on the park's scale tracks.

The tournament began on Friday with perfect paintball weather.  The novice and amateur teams took to the fields under clear blue skies with temperatures in the 70s and light breezes.  Three fields were in use for the tournament with two being concept fields using inflatable bunkers, and one field in the woods.

The games were reffed by Team RM, Highlanders, Lady T&A, CP Factory, and Team Ugly with Fracture scheduled to ref the young guns games.  Ultimate Judge for the tournament was Randy Wood.

As with all Pan Am Circuit events, the tournament was bring your own paint, with players having the option of buying paint on site.  Players were limited to carrying 200 rounds per person onto the field, which has helped teach players to shoot more conservatively, and made getting into tournaments less expensive.

Eighteen novice teams competed in two preliminary round divisions.  They battled to rank in the top four positions of their division, or to be the one wild card that would be a part of  9 teams going into the semifinals.  Games ran very smoothly and finished ahead of schedule on Friday.  While the prelims were not finished at that point, X-Code and Cartel were the novice leaders, both being undefeated.

Seven amateur teams were competing in a single division.  They were scheduled to play a 12 game round robin tournament (each team played every other team twice) with no semifinals or finals.  They made it nearly halfway through their games by the end of the day on Friday and CP Factory and Cartel's amateur team were the leaders.

Saturday

Saturday was graced with similarly beautiful weather.  The novice teams finished their preliminary rounds.  Cartel Novice was the top scoring team in the first division having lost only one game, and Madd Katz led the other division also with a single loss.  The top four teams in each of the two divisions and the next highest ranked team, the wildcard were scheduled into Sunday's semifinals.

The Young Guns games were played on Saturday as well.  16 three player teams made up of players 15 years of age or younger were split into two divisions of 8.  The top four in each division plus a wildcard went into the semifinals, where three divisions of three teams each played two games per team.  The third division ended up with an unusual three way tie.  All three teams finished with one game at 97 points and one game at 7 points for a tied total of 104 points.  Blue Thunder was advanced to the finals because they had been the top ranked team going into the semis.  In the finals they would have to face off with RIP Blue and UQPIT II.

The Seattle location has been gaining momentum with a trade show that has grown year by year.  Under the main vendors tent were Dan Bonebrake airsmithing, The Paintball Store US, Port Splat Paintball Field, Paintball Junkies, Custom Products, Mountain Top Designs, Splat Attack, AKALMP, JMJ Concepts and Indian Creek Design.  ICD's booth had a 2003 Bushmaster on display - notable design changes over previous models included a more rounded back on the grip to fit better into the palm of the player's hand and a more adjustable trigger which offers a selection between three pivot points.

Next to the Pan Am Circuit support trailer was ACI's trailer loaded with paintball gear on display.  Next to this was the player's tent sponsored by National Paintball Supply, where a number of teams staged while others chose to set up their own tents in the parking areas.  A wider variety of food was available on site than in the past with options ranging from chips to hot pizza and even buffalo burgers.

The field was treated to an unusual mid-day emergency airshow.  A DC-10 airliner bound for Amsterdam from the Seattle/Tacoma airport with a crew of 11 and 269 passengers suffered compression problems in one of its engines and was unable to gain proper flight altitude.  The airliner was was forced to return to SeaTac and land for inspection and repairs.  According to Northwest Cable News reports the aircraft would have been too heavy to land with a full load of 147,000 pounds of fuel so the pilot was forced to dump fuel in flight.  The plane passed over the tournament site in a wide arc at relatively low altitude, trailing a stream of mist from the center of each wing as the pilot drained jet fuel from the tanks.  While most did not notice the spectacle, Scott Erdman from Custom Products commented that he could smell the fuel through the afternoon.  The airplane was able to return to the Seattle Tacoma airport for a safe landing.

Ties were the order of the day for the young guns.  In the finals RIP Blue maxed their first game, with UQPIT 1 and Blue Thunder posting losses.  RIP Blue lost their second game, while UQPIT 1 and Blue Thunder managed maxes.  This left all three teams with 100 point totals and the tie breaker decision giving the first place trophy to RIP Blue from Fresno, CA. 

In a preliminary game of Team Rathole vs. False Gods it came down to a one on one faceoff.  Unfortunately for the two players, they were low on paint having run through the limited paint supply allowed at the Pan Am.  A Rathole player was in the back center can while the False Gods player moved up to his 30.  Pointing at each other, they didn't fire a shot until the Rathole player attempted to run for the flag grab.  He had one ball in his breech with which he hit the False Gods player.  Unfortunately he ran out of bounds, eliminating himself, neither team getting a flag hang.  The standoff ended with a large crowd of spectators groaning in sympathy.

Crowd participation has been more involved at this event than in previous Pan Ams, and a number of times referees cautioned the spectators.  In a GOG Rookie game versus Plague, a young woman, Kristin Rodney from GOG took out her mirror then bunkered another player.  The crowd went wild with applause for her move, congratulating her for her play.

Sunday

Sunday morning started off with cooler weather and overcast skies.  A light mist fell that was not enough to be considered rain, but helped dampen the soil to cut down on the dust that had been so heavy the day before.

Sunday's schedule included not only the wrap-up of the divisions that started on Friday and Saturday, but the stock class competition as well.  The Pan Am Circuit is the only remaining stock class tournament series in the US.  Competitors are limited to shooting pump paintguns with "stick" feeders that are powered by 12 gram CO2 cartridges.  The stock class tournament is scheduled during the finals of the novice and rookie teams.  Stock class is typically a smaller turn out than the 5 man event but still a popular venue with teams signing up at the last moment when they fail to make the semi-finals in their brackets.  This event, Maxit took the stock class trophy home out of eight teams competing.  Not only did they win the stock class Phantom pump guns from Component Concepts but also a full DYE sponsorship.

During the last of the Amateur games on field 1, CCM (Chipley Custom Machine) faced off with CP Factory Team, with a tough competition from the start.  Dan Kereluk from CP played the front mid can at the 50 straight off the break.  Unfortunately his gun was down the entire game making the position up front a trial for the other team but ineffective for eliminating players.  CCM lost one of their men on the break, spreading out but staying behind their 30, preferring to play more defensively.  During the course of the game CCM lost another of their players and CP lost Dyerson.  Four on three, Kimbell in the dorito stayed in the game for quite a while with Dan still in the mid can at the 50, Boomer in the 30 midcan and Troy Kessel from the Naughty Dogs in the sub.    CCM posted from the left carrot and the back two cans keeping their firing lanes clear, but they were unable to see the move Dan made from the center 50 can to grab the flag, before he worked his way into the sub.   Troy died in the sub, a ball bouncing from the net, hitting his visor, leaving the field squared up 3 on 3.  CCM started getting more aggressive at this point, with John Barrie moving up the left side, Dan from CP dropped back to the left can behind the sub.  Jason Slater from CCM ran up the middle, shooting out Boomer, and subsequently died.  The other CCM player stopped short of the can where Dan was holding his barrel tip over the top of the prop.  He took a few shots with his custom built CCM pump paintgun and nailed the tip of Dan's barrel, eliminating him.  John Barrie and Mike Luke from CCM took the flag from him for the hang.  Neither team had the chance to make the top slot, since the amateurs were playing round robin with no finals.  The game left CP in third and CCM in 6th place.

Typically the Pan Am does not offer any type of sportsmanship award, though this event Team Rathole garnered such respect for their attitudes and good team play that they were given Jersies and compressed air systems from ACI.

Both Rookie and Novice divisions spun down from their preliminaries taking three divisions of three teams each into the semi-finals.  Each team played two games.  The finalists were chosen from the top team in each division.  The Rookies saw Urban Quest III take the top trophy home in the finals, followed by Black Magic and Breakout (thanks for the love guys).  The Novice division had the same top team from the three brackets going onto finals with Cartel sweeping the field, X-Code in second and Bad Karma wrapping up third place.    Cartel saw a great event for their teams, winning both Amateur and Novice, definitely showing that the experience they receive at the NWTS is put to good use.

Follow all of the on-the-scene coverage with WARPIG.com.  More photo galleries to come and PigTV.
 


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