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2009 PSP World Cup
X-Ball Professional Boston Red Legion
Around the country kids are planning costumes for Halloween, the weather is cooling and in the northern states leaves are turning. That means only one thing – World Cup. An October tradition, the Paintball World Cup has drawn the top teams from around the world to clash head-to-head and find out who is best.
Paintball World Cup started from humble beginnings. In July of 1992, paintball tournament promoter Jerry Braun brought 16 teams together in upstate New York for the very first World Cup. Within three years the annual tournament was drawing teams from both the US and Europe. In 1994, it became the season finale for the newly formed National Professional Paintball League, and was re-located to Kissimmee, Florida, adjacent to Orlando and rescheduled for October.
As a major tourist destination, the Orlando area proved to be an effective tournament location, with plenty of affordable hotels, and a high-volume airport allowing for relatively low-cost flights. The humidity of Central Florida in fall is just a bonus to drive the sales of anti-fog systems for goggles.
From the woods of the “Paintball World” commercial paintball field operated by Larry King, behind the Old Town outdoor entertainment mall in Kissimmee, World Cup introduced players to Florida paintball, with slash pine trees too narrow to take cover behind, and cabbage palmettos too tough to charge through. It was on the open grassy areas of this site that Hyperball (a concept field set up from corrugated drainage pipe) first appeared on American soil in 1996, and Sup'Air made the US debut of an inflatable bunker field in 1997.
As time passed, the business and leadership structure of the original NPPL disintegrated, the actual business corporation being dissolved by the state of New York for non-payment of taxes, though the name stayed affixed to an annual series of individually produced tournaments in a 5-event annual series.
As the Paintball World location was swallowed up by developers (those once dense wooded paintball fields are now condominiums) the 1999 Paintball World Cup moved to a new location, almost in the same neighborhood. A large open field used for cattle grazing and farm equipment auctions had more than enough room for parking, paintball's biggest trade show, some wooded fields, and what would soon become the standard in tournament paintball – concept fields.
On the political side, a new NPPL – NPPL, Inc. was formed and began sanctioning the NPPL tournaments, its negotiations with promoters leading to the formation of Paintball Sports Promotions. The individual tournament promoters producing the national tournaments banded together. What came out of a desire for collective bargaining (literally done to prevent the ousting of a single event promoter in favor of bringing in a new European promoter) resulted in significant event improvement, because the promoters that had been competing with each other previously were now pooling their resources and able to invest in improved infrastructure ranging from full-time staff to state of the art league owned air systems.
In 2003, after an off-again on-again season, NPPL, Inc. and PSP went their separate ways and Paintball World Cup moved to yet another new location while switching its focus from 10-man competition to X-Ball. The new spot for World Cup was the manicured grass of Disney's Wide World of Sports. With Disney support staff, Paintball World Cup flourished in the following years, even as more recently the paintball industry and overall tournament attendance began declining due to a hard economy.
That is where World Cup has remained, until this year. In 2009 Paintball Sports Promotions trimmed down from five national tournaments to four. World Cup moved out of Orlando to a rural area between Orlando and the Florida West Coast city of Tampa.
Fantasy of Flight, a privately owned vintage aircraft restoration facility and museum is open to the public as a tourist attractionin Polk City, with large open areas of land, ready for hosting a major paintball tournament.
While the site was open and teams were getting ready on Tuesday the 6th, things kicked fully into gear on Wednesday morning as X-Ball teams took to the field. The pro teams, now only 13 in number played their first games as did the seven semi-pros and D1, D2, D3, D4 and the Masters' teams. Friday would see the start of the 5 man competition with D3, D4 and D5 five man teams taking to the field.
Conditions were typical for Florida in early October, but the players in recent years have not had to face Florida humidity and heat until later in the month or even into November and the warmth definitely took its toll. Thursday saw several players carted off of the field due to overheating and sunstroke.
The five man competition saw the 17 D5 teams whittled down to the final four. After their games Fatality Green was in first, Uncivilized in second, ECE Green in third and Atomic Aftermath in fourth. D4 had 90 teams in the competition with Revolution in the top spot over Notorious, DBSpaintball.com and Waste Management. Five man's D3 had Annihilators, Inertia, New Jack City and Distortion in the final lineup out of the fifty teams who came to Florida. D2 saw 26 teams in Polk City with Sunday's games ending with No Limit over JungleBoyz after two wins with Understood in third over Team Hailstorm. The Master's division saw Fluffy Bunnies on top over Assalas All Stars, Wicked took third and Ego Maniacs took fourth.
X-Ball D4 finals saw PCP VNZ and Flip Syde hitting the field for the race for four with Flip Syde playing well, but definitely benefiting from the penalties assessed against PCP, one of the PCP players being ejected from the tournament for throwing his gun, a major penalty and violation of safety standards. Palm Beach Outsiders took down Livewire 4-0 for third place. The D3 finals saw Velocity Wrecking Crew against Boom with Boom having a hard couple of points with 2 of the 5 players in the penalty box. The final point, the Crew started short with 4, but after a minor penalty taking two Boom players out of the game, Velocity Wrecking Crew won the event with a 4-2 score. CFP Factory D3 took down VoK 4-3 for the loser's bracket. D2 teams Unlimited and DefconPaintball took their 15 minutes to the wire in the goal of a win with 5 points with one of those points remaining unscored after Unlimited's two players traded with the single Defcon player in the snake. With the final point to score and only 25 seconds on the clock, the point attempt was a mad rush of over runs, over shooting and penalties assessed with Defcon winning the D2 spot for the Cup. Total Karnage won out 5-2 over Hustle in D2. D1 teams Raiden and DBS Kidz fought their race to 5 in quick time, the game over with 6 minutes remaining with Raiden shooting DBS off the break over and over again. Storm took home third place after 5-2 match over TBD Fierce. Semi-Pro Vicious continued their series domination with a 7-5 win over Aftermath II securing themselves a World Cup win and a chance at the professional title in the 2010 season. Professional teams Philly Americans and Boston Red Legion fought it out with three matches. In the first game Philly won handily with a 5-3 score over the Russian based team. However, in the second match Boston crushed the Americans 7 to 0 in less than 6 minutes. With the veterans of Tim Montressor driving and Ryan Moorhead in the snake, Philly performed in top form for the third match taking an early lead til the 7th point where the Russians wiped the game in a matter of seconds. The eighth point went nearly as quickly after Moorhead was shot on the break, tying up the score 4 to 4 with five minutes on the clock remaining. Russian veteran Blonski pulled his weight alongside Panteleev, combined with young player Justin Rabackoff performing on the snake side throughout the final matches. The final point saw Rabackoff hanging the flag, securing the Boston Red Legion with the Cup title.