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Zap Skyball 6
by Joshua D. Silverman
Paintball returned to the Toronto, Canada's Skydome in early March 2003 as Zap Paintball hosted Skyball 6. Over two hundred teams converged on the world's largest indoor sports arena to compete for cash, prizes and bragging rights on six Zap Sup Air Ball fields, fully netted with carpeted floors. With Chip Herbert supervising and Ron Kilbourne of the Bushwackers acting as head referee, the players were able to focus on the game and enjoy playing paintball in one of the world's most unique sporting venues.
The games at Skyball started
Thursday evening with the preliminary rounds and continued all day Friday
until midnight. With so many teams on so few fields, the schedule
was strenuous but adhered to strictly
by the referees, who kept the games turning around at a
Upstairs on the concourse
level of the Skydome, the many key players in the paintball industry erected
booths and showed off their latest products. WDP, one of the event's
major sponsors, constructed a
Chuck Hendsch and Camille Baker of the National Professional Paintball League brought their booth to the trade show where they showed off photographs and videos from their recent Huntington Beach event, and sold NPPL t-shirts. Mike "Blue" Hanse and the crew from EMR Paintball came north as they do each year to enjoy the camaraderie and promote their events, including several scenario games and the legendary Castle Conquest, expected to draw over one thousand players this year. Airgun Designs came to Canada with two teams and a booth to promote their latest products like the X-Mag, Level 10 and X-Valve upgrade, and were assisted by numerous members of their owners group from Automags.org. Down the concourse, Joe West and friends showed off their venerable J&J barrels, including the new Edge barrel kit that was a crowd favorite.
Tippmann Pneumatics made their presence known at the Skyball trade show, with products like their electronic grip for the A5 attracting a great deal of attention while two of their teams played on the field. Zap, not to be outdone at their own event, erected a massive trade show display advertising their paintballs and new line of other products, while several of Canada's largest paintball retailers also set up large sales displays.
Down on the field the
amateur division was the most competitive in Skyball's history, with teams
like Evil Factory, fresh off of two straight first place wins at Mardi
Gras and Huntington Beach, Nasty, Farside, two Brimstone Smoke squads and
2002 champions the Sharpshooters swelling the ranks. The novice division
was well represented as well, with teams like Tippmann Effect, Atomix Factory,
Mantis, Bam and Skyball regulars the Misfit Toys. The rookie division
brought out teams like Docs Raiders True Colors
Zap brought out a new
format for 2003, advancing teams into a quarterfinal round robin round,
then into a single-elimination semifinal round culminating in a head-to-head
final round between the top two teams in each division to decide first
place. While many
The semifinal rounds saw the amateur division thinned out into the best of the best, with Evil Factory the early favorite to no-one's surprise. Team Nasty also stuck around to play Saturday afternoon, as did the AGD Kids and the Sharpshooters. Nasty came head to head with Evil and in a bloody game that came down to a two-on-one, sent Evil home without a first place trophy for the first time in three events. Meanwhile, the AGD Kids, a thrown together group of AGD Kids and Pride members, managed a points victory over the Sharpshooters that moved them on to an unexpected but pleasantly surprising best two out of three match against Nasty for the gold trophy. In two straight games, the AGD Kids defeated Nasty for first place in the amateur division of Skyball Six. In the novice division, Mantis, out of North Carolina, faced BAM for top honors and BAM proved victorious, also in back to back games. The rookie division was won by True Colors.
With officiating from teams like the New York Dogs, the Bushwackers and even Bad Company, heated competition, great prizes and the always amazing Skydome facility, Skyball Six proved to be a success on many levels. Tentative dates for Skyball Seven have already been released and more information can be found at www.zapskyball.com.
note: Many thanks to Kim Heretick for her hard work transcribing
the scoreboard into one that is not only readable but the standard that
WARPIG has provided over the years.]