Take a 80,000 square foot arena, add six Ultimate Airball fields and 185 teams and what do you get?  The Ultimate Madness III !
Ultimate Madness III was held this weekend in Huntington, West Virginia and once again it was a blast! The event was held in the Sandy's Superstore Arena ( formerly named the Huntington Civic Arena ). This 80,000 square foot arena offered plenty of space for the 6 Ultimate Airball fields as well as the many vendors that were present, including National Paintball Supply, Smokin Products, and Smart Parts. The event was hosted by Milt Call of Ultimate Airball/Brimstone Enterprises and Paul "PGP" Bollenbach of Atlanic Paintball.
Four members from Hazmat flew into Huntington on Thursday night with the balance arriving on Friday. Matt May had registered for the Ultimate Top Gun beginning Friday morning. Competition was especially fierce and Matt finished up with a 2-4 record after facing players such as Frank Connell & BJ Jolly.
Two words can describe the fields at this event - SMALL and FAST! The fields at Sup-Air bowl could be considered large by comparison! Add 19 Ultimate Airball bunkers to the mix and you have a field that forces you to play aggressively. 1st pull points were awarded to the brave few that made the run for the flag, however this was very difficult as the flag was located on top of a cone on the left tape, out in the open with no nearby bunkers for cover. Runs to the 50 from the break were common, and in fact you could usually get there with a few running steps and a good slide. That is, if you weren't hit on the breakout as was often the case. Having 2 if not all 3 players post up on the breaks seemed to be quite effective. The fields were enclosed in metal frame cages draped with netting, allowing the spectators close access to the games. Coaching is not only allowed at 'Madness - it's encouraged! Often you would see crowds of people hovering near tapeline players shouting instructions. This was especially helpful in 2 on 1 or 1 on 1 situations and made bunkering moves quite difficult as the player would usually know you were coming. Video cameras were also integrated into the top of each cage and games were shown on large projection panels hung throughout the arena.
The 3 Man competition began on Saturday morning with the rookie and women's divisions to play first. Each team was scheduled for 8 preliminary games with 6 to be played on Saturday  and 2 on Sunday. Games started at 8am sharp and were completed by 11:30am. Hazmat Extreme had a strong showing starting the day at 5-0, taking their first loss in their final game. Novice and Advanced teams took the field at noon and it was Hazmat's turn to switch from coaching to playing. The competition was stiff - much harder than last year. Reffing proved to play in strongly as 2 games were hotly debated and ultimately settled by the ultimate, Rosie. In the end we finished 2-4 with 2 games left to play on Sunday.
Saturday night was the players party at the Arena's ballroom. A huge spread of food was put out for all the players as well as free beer for those of age. Raffles were held to benefit Ronald McDonald house and a number of markers and other prizes were given away. 2 E-Force matrixes were also auctioned off to benefit the charity. There was also a exhibition of the new "Arenaball" format for 3 Man played out by members of Brimstone Smoke. Arenaball is a 3 man format where each team is allowed a 7 player roster. Games are played in a best of 7 match with a 3 minute time limit per game and a 1 minute turnaround
Sunday morning the games started up again, with the rookies and women to play out their remaining games. Hazmat Extreme finished up at 6-2, taking a loss against Squirrel & Nuts. Their score was good enough to secure 13th seed and a spot in the semi finals. Having been knocked out of the semi-finals, Hazmat finished up the day working as coaches after completing their last two prelim games.
Hazmat Extreme once again faced Squirrel & Nuts in the semi's and this time the outcome was far different. Changing from their original game plan, they spread out to the 3 rear bunkers with Paul Welsh putting down a heavy post. Paul was in turn taken out by a player at the 50 who was quickly eliminated by Virus. A second player ran the left tape and stopped on the other side of our "home plate" bunker, posting to the inside for a shot at Virus. While the players didn't see the move, the coaches did and the player took a stream of paint cross field from Virus while simultaneously being bunkered by Luke. The team continued on to win the game for 60 points. The team did not win another game that day but did pick up an additional 15 points in their two remaining games to secure an 11th place finish - and at 'Madness 11th place is good enough for prizes!
At the awards ceremony prizes were handed out to the top 11 teams in each division. A huge array of prizes were available and the top teams had their pick of what they wished to receive, including a 5 man Ultimate Airball field. Markers were awarded all the way down to 7th place.
All in all it was a great weekend of paintball! For those 3 man teams that want to get a taste of a national event this is one you shouldn't miss.
Hazmat would like to thank our sponsors PGI, FSL Paintball Arena, and National Paintball Supply for all the support leading up to and at the event. We'd also like to thank Milt Call and PGP for hosting the event, as well as Bea Youngs for all the moral support!
Additional pictures and scores can be found on www.warpig.com or www.forceofnature.com
Garrett Caldwell
Captain - Hazmat

                   Team Hazmat                                  Team Hazmat Extreme         

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