PSP LA OPEN
By Greg Scott

 

The Ponoma County Fairplex was the chosen location for the Paintball Sports Promotions' first tournament of the 2003 season. This tournament hosted two different formats to play in. The regular ten man play like years in the past and the new X-ball format. X-ball is basically five man play, but you are matched up against a team for a forty minute match. Both teams enter the field and when one team wins (by shooting five players and hanging the flag) both teams have a 2 minute break to resupply on paint and air or switch players out from a roster of ten. Winning one game in the forty minute match earns you one point. There are also time-outs, half times, coaches, and crowd participation. All this with the addition of penalty boxes add up to one crazy game packed with a lot of aggression. You could tell by this tournament that the PSP totally supports the X-ball format.

The trade show was huge. Many dealers came to show their new products to the masses at the Fairplex. Facefull magazine was there selling magazine subscriptions and showing off some of their great pics. The Viewloader tech table was busy fixing loaders, free of charge. The JT booth was also in attendance with a chihuahua wearing a JT jersey.

Traumahead sportz was also in attendance with their newly released DVD version of the World Cup 2002 video. Traumahead sportz has also come out with a bunch of cool t-shirts and hats.

Nexed is a new company to market their products to paintball players. They manufacture a few styles of player pants. They also have huge gear bags for sale. Their gear bags come in backpack, duffel bag, and pull behind suitcase style sizes. The backpack has the carrying capacity of most large gear bags. These bags are awesome. Look for the pants to start showing up at a field near you.

There were several large display trailers occupying half of the vendors area. WGP, Smart Parts, Evil, National Paintball Supply, Bob Long's Intimidators, Shocktech, and Dye all had semi trailer sized display trucks set up showing their products.

Shocktech had the new shocktech intimidators on display. These guns are hot. I had the chance to "fondle" one of them back at the hotel. I got to take it apart and see all the upgrades. This is one great gun. This seems to be the driving force behind most of the Chicago Aftershock NXL players.

Smart Parts had the new Max-flo regulator on display at their trailer. This regulator is just as good as the old Max-flo ,but it is a lot smaller and more compact. The old Max-flo tended to be big and bulky.

 Location

The Venue for the tournament was the Ponoma county Fairplex which is basically a huge fairgrounds site with horse racing, a farmers' market, lots of fair food, and plenty of parking. (for $6 a day) The fields were located in the center of the horse track. This location provided nice green grass to play on. The playing fields were soft and flat, which lead to a surprisingly low amount of injuries.

The staging areas for the teams were also nice. Plenty of tables and chairs under the shaded pavilion. The only problem was that the fields and the staging area was separated by one long walk. Too many trips from the staging area to the playing fields would needlessly tire you out.

The schedule was different too. The first games started at 10:00 in the morning. The last games of the day were played up until 7:30 at night. The fairplex had a number of stadium lights set-up to allow for night games to be played. This change in schedule was nice. It allowed you to stay up late with your paintball buddies and still get to sleep in and get a good breakfast before going to the field for the day.

 Fields 

The X-ball fields were set up like a five man field. As soon as the game started any position could be eliminated. The front guys running to the side tapes had to do a lot of bump and runs to make their positions and the guys going to the center had it easier. The corner bunkers were hard to get to because everyone was in range.

The nicest part about the X-ball field was that they had separate staging areas and an air fill station. We even had our own target range with chrono. 

Move of the tournament 

I got to see a lot of dope moves throughout the tournament. A lot of diving bunker moves and superman slides. I even got to see two opposing players body check each other as they tried to bunker the same spot on the breakout. This move resulted in two broken loaders, a ruptured air hose, and lots of adrenaline spilling all over the place.

The move of the tournament I will have to give to any player coming out of the penalty box during an X-ball game. In the X-ball format players are penalized in the form of serving time in the penalty box located right behind the starting boxes. Your penalty times range from 2 minutes for a minor, 5 minutes for a major, or the dreaded super bad 10 minutes for being really dumb. When your penalty time runs out you are instantly inserted into the game. Most of the time, the players on the field aren't keeping track off the time and the player fresh from the penalty box has the drop on the other team.

I got to witness several muggings as well as players walking the flag in as they got ripped from the guy being reinserted.

I even got to participate in one myself. I was in the penalty box serving my 5 minutes for something I didn't do and the team we were playing started to shoot out my teammates. It quickly became a two on five in favor of Tippman Effect. The Tippman player in the center fifty started to walk in on one of my remaining players when the penalty box time ran out.  Greg got to stitch the guy as he was in the wide open and not even looking in my direction. In the chaos that followed I got to rip another unsuspecting victim and before they realized that the player was out of the penalty box Frank and Greg from Team Cypress were in a race to get the last guy.

 Finals

The finals for the 10man competition took a back seat to the X-ball finals. The pro 10 man division was won by the Naughty Dogs. They are a good bunch of guys. All last season they chased after Trauma, finishing 2nd at most of the tournaments. This year, they trounced Dynasty in a very exciting game on the JT field. Excellent play by the naughty dog that got into the zipper and proceeded to shoot 4 or 5 players out.

In the amateur finals the Evil factory team took another first place finish. These guys took first at the Huntington beach super 7 and at the Mardi Gras Open. They may be unbeatable? Only time will tell, but until then let's hope you don't have to play them.  

Minnesota players 

There were a number of Minnesota players at the LA Open. Todd Hugo was there playing with his team the Philly Americans in the NXL (National X-ball League). It seems like Todd is getting a lot of play on the X-ball play clock. He is doing really good adjusting to the new format.

Nick Walker and Aaron Thole (aka Pinky) were there playing division 1 X-ball with their team Texas Storm. The team didn't do so well, but I witnessed several good plays by both Nick and Pinky.

Ignition was there to start out the 2003 season. Ignition has picked up a lot of youth over the winter. Petey, Randle, Coop, Turbin, Shea, and Slugger were all on the roster. These guys are a bunch of young good players and I don't think any are over the age of 21. Looks like these guys will have to find an 18 and up strip club for the team to go to.

Marcy, from Team Them and Impulse fame, also had a chance to play. He got set up with the Demonic Factory Team. They took 5th place in the rookie 10 man division. Good job, Marcy. In one game his team had 9 players shooting lanes on the break. This strategy resulted in shooting 5 players on the break from the opposing team.

Frank and I from Team Cypress hooked up with Chris Raehl's NCPA Allstars. We got to experience what X-ball is all about. 

Conclusion 

I had fun at this tournament. The layout and location could be improved upon. The new X-ball format is very interesting. It is not only fun to play, but also to watch. It seems that the PSP will spend a lot of their attention on this format. Is ten man paintball dying out? Only time will tell.

Reported by Greg Scott
Pictures by Darrin Johnson
See Pictures

 


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