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Ultimate Madness IV
Story and photos by Joshua D. Silverman
Assistant Editor of Warpig Media Partner Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine
on One Champion - Eric Dearman
For the fourth time, the Diablo Ultimate Madness three-man event, promoted by Milt Call and Paul "PGP" Bollenbach, was held at the Big Sandy Super Center Arena in Huntington, West Virginia.
Over 150 teams spread across rookie, novice, amateur and women's divisions converged on a small community in the hills of West Virginia on April 2, 3 and 4 to compete in a tournament that has become known for having one of the highest prize payout ratios in paintball.
On Friday, over sixty players met to inaugurate the event with the one-on-one Top Gun competition. Their goal was to finish first and receive a new Ultimate Air Ball field. With such a wealthy prize, competition was stiff and included many top players, such as 2003 Champion and Philadelphia Americans National XBall League star Eric "#1 Stunna" Dearman, facing off against the likes of Mike Paxson of Aftershock and several members of Bad Company. By evening, the event, run like a one-man tournament, was over and Eric Dearman repeated as the champion.
On Worr Game Products' sponsored field, players enjoyed open games played in Sonny Lopez's new format, Penalty Box Paintball, against players like Bea Youngs, Kat Gong and Sarah Dunsmuir. While alien at first, once players developed an understanding of the format and its nuances, games became fast paced and exciting for all involved. The new style of play became a hit.
The Ultimate Airball cages over the game fields meant that vendors were able to place their set-ups only feet from the fields inside the climate controlled stadium. Showing their products on Friday were Brimstone Paintball, Tippmann Pneumatics, Airgun Designs, National Paintball Supply, Airgun Designs, Crossfire, Generation E, Morgan Awards, Worr Game Products, AKA, Centerflag, Reactive, Custom Cylinders, Eclipse and Kingman.
Saturday morning brought the rookies and women to the field to begin the three-person competition for which the Ultimate Madness has become famous. Intense play on all six fields saw games push through the schedules quickly, with teams like the Killa Bees out in front in convincing style. In the women's division, it was all Femmes Fatale leading as the team came out hard and never slowed down, dominating their field with teams like the Valkyries and Flirt'N behind.
At approximately mid-day, the rookies and women finished their first day of play, and were replaced on the fields by the novices and amateurs. As usual at the Madness, games between the top teams were short but bloody as teams like Farside, EZ Paintball and Groundfire slugged it out with two Overload squads from the Carolinas for dominance in the amateur division, while Atomix hammered their way through the novice bracket.
Saturday evening hundreds of players and their entourages converged on the Arena again, this time to watch referees Brimstone Smoke participate in an exhibition game of Ultimate Arena Ball under dim lights with strobes and roving spotlights, accompanied by booming music thanks to DJ Bea Youngs. Brimstone Smoke split into their usual "This" and "That" squads to face off in fast, hard, head to head games in the best of seven format that interested and entertained the players. When the game ended, the attendees surged into the player's party for free catered food and of course, free beer. Milt, PGP and company raffled off such lavish prizes as an Intimidator, Autococker, Tippmann and a mountain of other prizes as beach balls, Frisbees and lanyards filled the air.
All teams played the majority of their preliminary games on Saturday at the Madness, but would return on Sunday morning, after setting their clocks for daylight savings time, to complete their preliminary games and determine the semifinalists, finalists and winners.
a departure from most normal major tournaments, Milt, PGP and company took
not the top four, but the top eight teams into the rookie finals.
These included LTZ, Hyperactive Kids, Heavy Duty, Whiskey Tango, DIe Hard
Sons, Xtreme Tactics, Blaze and the Skeleton Crew. Once into the
finals, Heavy Duty, the Die Hard Sons and Blaze finished one, two and three
on the rookie podium.
In the amateur division, the Misfit
Toys, two Overload teams from the CFOA and EZ Paintball joined Adrenalin
and Farside in the finals. The surprisingly strong Adrenalin squad
took first, ahead of EZ Paintball and the two Overload squads, who brought
up second and third.