I got my first taste of paintball, literally, in 1990 at Sgt. Slaughter’s in Western Oklahoma. I was instantly hooked and bought my first marker that same day—a Gray Ghost. Over the next few years, I played as often as I could while attending college. The wildest experience during that era was playing at an old, abandoned copper smelting plant nicknamed “Li’l Baghdad”.
I moved for work to a region where paintball was a foreign concept. It wasn’t until I relocated again for work—this time to the Chicago area—that I got back into the game, playing with friends behind the church building. The first thing I discovered was that mainstream paintball had moved into arenas with inflatable wienies?! “Old school” players such as myself now played “woodsball”. I wanted to play more than most of my friends, so I decided I needed to look for some new friends.
Everything grew from there. The team won several awards such as Most Valuable Team and Most Valuable Player at local scenario events, eventually securing a field sponsorship with CPX Sports—then Challenge Park Xtreme. CPX introduced the team to big-name corporate sponsorships such as Tippmann Sports. Within a couple of seasons, the Hellions were seen in numerous magazine advertisements, television programs and even painted on the side of the Tippmann semi trailer.
I stepped down in 2012 as the Team Captain due to the fact that my increasingly inflexible work schedule left little room to effectively manage team business. Since that time, the Hellions have continued to grow and expand and gain recognition at events around the country. Although I rarely have the opportunity to play, I still sometimes see my (masked) face in magazines or on the side of the Tippmann trailer.