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ZAP INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR OPEN 2000
August 2000

5 Man Amateur - Dislexic Dogs
5 Man Novice - Total Anarchy
5 Man Rookie - Anarchy
10 Man - Missouri Magic
3 Man - Missouri Magic
Young Guns - Dazed and Confused

The 2000 edition of the International Amateur Open marks the event's 10 year anniversary.  The Am Open is more than just a tournament, it forms an international meeting point for paintball manufacturers, distributors, dealers and players.  The trade show is one of the largest the sport ever sees, and is the traditional launching point for new paintball products.  This year new masks, new paintguns (including the E-mag) and new feeder systems took top billing.

The action began on Wednesday August second with 5 man and 3 man competitions and industry conference.  One of the products many players had been waiting to see was the long awaited E-Mag and the previously secret Warp Feed from Airgun Designs.  In order to spread the word to players who could not attend the event, Airgun Designs President, Tom Kaye answered questions in a technical teleconference held in PigChat.  The chatroom, which normally has a crowd of 15 to 30 people at a time on weeknight evenings ranged from 150 to 200 people.  In order to maintain enough order to hold a discussion, the chat room was moderated, with a handful of people given the ability to talk at a time.  Even with the three and a half hour duration of the conferencing, the list of people waiting to ask questions was as long as 70 or more at times.  A live web cam updated pictures every 40 seconds allowing the technical items discussed to be seen by all, and shots of some of the guests who popped in, such as Bud Orr, Glenn Palmer, and Forest Hatcher.

Another head turning product was the eVLution loader from Brass Eagle / Viewloader.  This new loader is the next step in design past the current "state of the art" Revolution loader.  Instead of merely agitating paintballs in the loader to prevent jamming, the evolution uses an impeller (similar to the feed of the Tippmann F/A) to push paintballs to the feed port.  Shaped like a football, the new loader was the subject of much discussion.  Both the International Amateur Open and WPF series tournaments altered their rules to allow forced feed systems (previously feeders were limited to using gravity).  Members of the NPPL rules committee who were in attendance sounded positive that the NPPL would also change their rules to allow the new feed systems.

The fields opened on Tuesday, allowing players a chance to walk and plan strategies before the games which began Wednesday morning.  Concurrent to the start of the 5 man competition, novice, rookie, and 3 man speedball competitions was the paintball industry conference.  Business owners in attendance were introduced to new products, had the opportunity to meet with one another, and to listen to guest speakers. 

The addition of new concept fields was a change for Three Rivers paintball.  On the east side of the facility, two new inflatable fields were used in the 5 man event.  Ultimate Air, a new bunker system from Brimstone Paintball made its major tournament debut and was very well received.  The props are built from the same material as white water river rafts, and are inflated and put in place without requiring a constant inflation system.  Their extreme durability and ease of setup drew much interest amongst field owners.

ďItís the best tournament Iíve been to in a long time, because itís fun.  There is more to see and do here than just play.Ē
Chandler Barr, Team Whirlwind

Thursday the prelims continued through the day, with more vendors setting up their booths in the trade show tent, filling it wall to wall with new product.  The Smart Parts Impulse drew attention, as did their new Freak modular barrel system.  One back piece, multiple length front pieces, and assorted diameter inserts create a very versatile barrel.  AKALMP showed an Excalibur low pressure electropneumatic paintgun, which is now in production.  Leader, known in paintball for their goggles distributed by Brass Eagle, had a large mysterious black booth.  Players, but not dealers or people in the paintball industry were invited inside to view assorted prototypes and provide feedback on them as compared to other paintball goggles.  Extreme Rage seemed squared off with Bad Boyz Toyz for the battle of the booths.  BBT is one of the few paintball stores to consistently bring a large, solid walled booth to trade shows.  Rage's new booth was well lit with neon and looked truly professional with solid walls and brushed steel trim. 

The 5 man prelims and semifinals filtered the amateur teams down to the Mercenarios, Goodfellas, OPM Allstars - Neptune, and Dislexic Dogs.  Both OPM from Germany, and Mercenarios from Brazil are regular competitors at the International Amateur Open, but their finish in the finals this year definitely highlighted the international nature of the tournament.  First place went to the Dogs, who nearly doubled the second place Mercenarios final score, followed by OPM and Goodfellas.

Thursday night, the outdoor pool area of the Sheraton hotel was made over for a party.  What became a tradition last year with a luau, became a toga party, courtesy of National Paintball Supply in New Jersey.  The industry party provided socializing time for those who had come to Pittsburgh for business.  Togas were required for entry.  While many opted for a wrapped hotel bedsheet, others went all out with trips to the costume shop - Gordon Moore of Zap Paintballs drew the crowd's applause during a costume contest for his portrayal of Cleopatra.  The bar served themed drinkes including a National Hurricane and 32 Degree Iced Tea. 

As has been true in previous years, the International Amateur Open was a field paint only event, with lead sponsor's paint, Zap, being put to use.  Paint quality is something that is almost always criticized, especially at field paint only events.  This year the paint quality drew noticeably more compliments from players than in the past. 

Friday night, at the field, the player's party was in full swing, with prizes and awards for the 5 player competition, and a dinner for all of the players.

The 10 player competitors took to the fields - woods only (the concept fields were not large enough for 10 man teams) to battle it out.  Playing in Pittsburgh means facing rain, whether it is for the Amateur Open, NPPL, or Spyder Cup.  This year, the Open was graced with beautiful weather, up until Saturday night, when the skies opened with thunder, lightning and rain.  By Sunday morning, they had calmed significantly for the 10 man semifinals and finals, which faced a mild rain with occasional short lived downpours. 

Missouri Magic finished in first place, not only for the 10 man, but the 3 man as well, having to shuttle some of their players between the woods and the wire spool speedball field for the finals of both events.  Sonic Rage grabbed second place in the 10 man, while TBA/J&J Performance took third, and Adrenalin fourth.
 


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