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Pan Am Las Vegas
10 Man Winners
Young Guns Winner - Urban Quest P.I.T.
5 Man Winners
Stock Gun Winner
Series 10 Man
Series 5 Man
The last major of the Pan Am 2001 season moved from its traditional location in San Diego to Las Vegas and an entirely new venue. The All Sport complex located just south of McCarren International Airport proved to be an excellent location. While the other Pan Am majors featured either 10 man or 5 man competitions, Las Vegas had both, and finishes there would generate the final points needed to determine 2001 series champions for 5 man, 10 man, young guns, and stock class competitions. In addition the one on one Excalibur joust was added to this event.
Previous Pan Am and Great Western Series Las Vegas tournaments had been held in various locations outside of the city with very few amenities. The new site is a multisport activity center with a large batting cage, indoor roller hockey arena, bar and grill, climbing wall, rest rooms, paved parking and more. Open dirt fields were used as the location for the tournament's 10 player competition. Two mound style fields and one Ultimate Airball field were flanked by tall dirt berms which allowed spectators to get a bird's eye view of the action. The rough desert dirt of the fields was familiar to those who have played in past Las Vegas tournaments, but they had the added upgrade of paved parking, and the sports center.
The 10 player competition drew a surprisingly large number of professional players compared to past Pan Am events. While the Pan Am does not have a pro division, 2 NPPL pro ranked players are allowed on each 10 man amateur team. Bob Long, Micah McGlocklin, Billy Wing, Oliver Lang, Alex Fraige, Brian Cole, Angel Fragoza, Ron Nelson and Kevin Bredhauer were amongst the pros competing.
Ten man isn't as big in the Pan Am as five man, but it is growing and had a good turn-out in Vegas - 6 amateur teams, 13 novice and 5 rookie. The rookie and amateur teams were set up to play one round, their total scores being the basis for their final ranking. The novice division teams, being larger in number were run in two divisions, the top teams of each advancing to finals.
The 50 degree weather proved comfortable on Wednesday morning as the 10 man preliminary rounds began under clear skies. Even though the air was cold, the sun provided warmth. In the afternoon however, clouds moved in blocking the sun and making the weather quite chilly. With the surprise failure of both the tournament air system, the morning was off to a hectic start for the event promoters. Fortunately both systems were repaired, and the combination of the two were able to fill twice as fast as the original unit. Games began an hour late, and the games progressed on pace, finishing an hour behind the originally scheduled time.
On field reffing for 10 man were Phoenix Heat, San Francisco Hornets and Check It Factory Team, with Randy Wood serving as Ultimate Judge.
Thursday the weather remained chilly and overcast but missing players seemed to be an epidemic. A number of games were played with teams fielding less than ten players. Ron Kilbourne commented that he had been talking to someone indoors at the trade show when he realized that he was due out on field. He got there in time to watch Bushwackers play with only six players, and win anyway. Cobra withdrew from the tournament, without turning in their team roster. Players had alleged that they were fielding three pros.
The prelims wrapped up early in the afternoon. In the amateur division KAPP Factory team dominated. They played their games undefeated, finishing with a total of 955 points. Ravage finished second with 703, and Bushwackers in third with 627. In the rookie division Strike Force came out on top with 559 points. They were followed by Team Impact at 436 and Game on Gear with 427 points.
Team Aftermath lost their first two games to the Dye Kids and Madd Catz, but got in gear and won the rest to top the novice division with 785 points. Turtles Run ranked second with 784 and No Limit ranked third with 700 points. For these three novice teams the tournament was not over. They advanced to the novice finals which took place in the late afternoon.
The Novice finals didn't really change things for the top three. Team Aftermath finished first, Turtles Run second, and No Limit in third.
With the 10 player competition completed, the 5 player began on Friday morning. The sun stayed clear throughout the day making the weather more comfortable. Inside the All Sport Arena, 5 man games were held on a carpeted indoor Ultimate Airball field which brought the total number of fields on site to 6. The indoor field was completely netted and carpeted. One side was lined with bleachers and bar seating overlooked the action.
By Friday most of the event's vendors had arrived. Inside, a number of dealers and manufacturers including Paintball Junkies, Palmer's Pursuit, Paintball Daddy, Paintball Inc., Mantis, Check It, Nelson, Ideal, Custom Products, and AKALMP had booths set up in the main thoroughfare. The storefront area normally used to rent roller skates became a Dan Bonebrake airsmithing service center, and display area for Ricochet loaders. Outside, the DYE semi, Diablo semi, ACI trailer, Pan Am trailer, Game on Gear air fill station, National Paintball Supply trailer, and JT sound system were surrounded by teams staging for their games.
Friday night was the time for the Excalibur Joust one on one tournament on the indoor field. 50 players competed in single elimination format on a narrow field. They would each draw their "sword" from a stone - an AKALMP Excalibur paintgun - and face off between narrow boundaries with a row of bunkers in a straight line between them. Audience involvement was encouraged, and the crowd in the bleachers cheered, jeered, and called out information to the players. The field of competitors narrowed to a pair of finalists, Riley Rogers and Matt Richards. Richards ended up victorious, taking home an Excalibur, Riccochet 2K loader, and several cases of Nelson paint.
Saturday also was blessed with good weather, warm enough for t-shirts in the afternoon. The 5 man amateur and novice teams finished up their preliminary rounds in the morning, and the rookie teams took to the fields in the afternoon. Team Guahan made their US tournament debut, traveling to Las Vegas from Guam. The reffing varied dramatically from field to field and ref to ref, both quality reffing and some refs who looked to be reffing a different game. The Pan Am is reffed by teams from within the league who earn points toward the series titles. Reffing for the 5 man were Madd Catz 1 & 2, Asylum, Aftermath and Untouchables.
The amateur and novice semifinalists were selected from the top scoring teams in each division. Out of the eight advancing amateur teams the Bushwackers, KAPP Factory Team and Ravage were on top. The 12 advancing novice teams were led by KAPP Factory Team, Rampage Black and Broken Arrow.
In the early evening, as the sunlight began to fade outside, the three player young gun teams began their games on the indoor field. 22 teams with members ranging from 12 to 15 years old competed in what was the largest young guns tournament ever held. The young guns tournaments, which are a part of the Pan Am series, are designed as a way to help younger players make the crossover from recreational to tournament play. The young guns prelims whittled the teams down to four finalists. Urban Quest P.I.T. had the highest rank going into the finals after an undefeated run in the prelims. They lost one of their three finals games giving them a first place finish. Extreme Nature which was the lowest ranked team going in finished second only 13 points behind PIT. Pentavalent Young Guns finished in third and Mini Mayhem in fourth.
Sunday morning the rookie prelims wrapped up, and after a short break the semifinals began. The top three teams in each classification moved on to the finals. With only two games in the semifinal round, the pressure was on. Winning both games wasn't necessarily enough - winning with the fewest players shot could make the point difference.
Xtreme Genesis played two perfect games, and were followed into the amateur finals by Bushwackers and Kingman Factory Team. Kapp Factory Team topped the novice semifinalists having lost one player in each of their two wins. Broken Arrow finished in the semis in the second ranked spot and Rampage Red in the third. Flashpoint won both of their novice semifinal games as did Sin-Dicate RKE and GOG Factory.
During the semis and finals, the stock class tournament was held on the indoor field. Not only does stock class offer players that didn't make the semis something to do on Sunday, but it is also the largest stock class series in the US. In the meantime players lounging in the Boston Garden Experience bar were able to watch PigTV coverage of past Pan Am and GWS tournaments on the bar's closed circuit television system.
The finals were an anxious time - not only the tournament, but series finishes hung in the balance. Bushwackers won both of their finals games and took the amateur first place trophy. They were followed by Xtreme Genesis and Kingman Factory Team. Broken Arrow finished in first place novice. KAPP Factory Team grabbed second and Rampage Red third. Sin-Dicate Rookie came out victorious over the rookie 5 man teams followed by Flashpoint and the Game On Gear Factory Team.
The All Sport Arena proved to be an
exiting new venue for the Pan Am bringing desert paintball to a new level.
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