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Ultimate Madness III
Huntington, West Virginia
April 4-6, 2003

One on One Champion - Eric Dearman

Women's Champion - Femmes Fatale
Rookie's Champion - Doc's Raiders Black
Novice's Champion - Backwoods
Amateur's Champion - Farside II

FRIDAY
For the third year in a row, The Ultimate Madness came to Huntington West Virginia.  The Huntington Civic Arena which recently had its name changed to Sandy's Superstore Arena was the location for this indoor competition - the world's largest 3 man tournament.  The fields for 2003 were housed in a new netting system developed  by Brimstone Enterprises.  Arch shaped aluminum cages fully enclosed the Ultimate Airball fields in netting.  The freestanding design of the cages gives them the ability to be set up anywhere, indoors or out, without needing stakes or guywires for support.  As in years past the 3 sides of the arena were lined with trade show and vendor displays - Smart Parts, National Paintball Supply and Diablo bringing in semi trailers. 

The Ultimate Madness three-man event broke out with Friday's well known Top Gun competition played throughout the day.  With 59 contestants the games got underway at 11 AM after final registrations were received and the schedule generated.  The one on one competition was different than standard events of the type, the games running more like a tournament than the more common double elimination.  Playing six games for their preliminary rounds, the plan for the semi-finals was to take the top 16 of the fifty-nine competitors to advance to four divisions of four, those splitting off for finals of four players facing off in the traditional round-robin.

A players party, fully catered and offering free beer to those over the age of 21 was scheduled for Saturday night.  The evening of Saturday greatly anticipated for the advent of the new playing style of Arenaball, a veritable light show waiting to happen.

After all six of the preliminary rounds wrapped up at 2 PM, Frank Connell of Philadelphia Americans fame went into the semi final round undefeated with 300 points.  The Ultimate Madness is further unique because the teams moving on to the semi-finals for the Top Gun weren't restricted to the traditional sixteen teams.  Ten players were tied with a score of 200 points.  Instead of calculating tie breaker information, all of these players moved on to the semis, which increased the semi-finals field to nineteen.  The tied players were ranked for seeding alphabetically. 

The semi-final rounds were set up with three divisions, one holding 7 players, the other two divisions with six players each.  The super division of 7 players would play 6 games each, the other two divisions would play 5 games.  To move onto the finals, the players would need to be in the top two scorers of their division.  Several top professional players joined Frank Connell in the semi-final round, Spesh Robinson and Eric Dearman also of the Philadelphia Americans, JC Whittington and Chris Remuzzi of Bad Company.  Team Strange was also represented by BJ Jolly and Mike Carthy.

Mike Carthy led the semi-final round undefeated followed by fellow pro players JC Whittington and Chris Remuzzi.  Young Lee Cambron took the fourth place slot after winning the top points in his bracket.  Eric Dearman trailed behind Lee by ten points and JD Goad brought up the sixth place slot for finals tied with Eric Dearman. 

The first finals game was played between Chris Remuzzi and JC Whittington, and finished with Remuzzi getting the pull and hang - and leaving Whittington live on the field.  In many top-gun competitions it would be fine just to win, but at Madness, that 5 point elimination could be critical.  JD Goad was then defeated by Lee Cambron.  Mike Carthy then defeated Whittington.  The next game between Chris Remuzzi and Eric Dearman was won by Dearman.  Carthy took his second victory by defeating Cambron.  Dearman took out Whittington.  Mike Carthy fell to Chris Remuzzi, then Dearman defeated Cambron.  JC Whittington made his first win of the round against JD Goad.  In the next game Lee Cambron defeated Chris Remuzzi to make his first win.  Carthy then defeated Goad.  Eric Dearman continued his undefeated winning streak by beating JC Whittington.  This put only Mike Carthy in a position to catch up - the last game to be played by the pair would be against each other.  Chris Remuzzi posted a win over JD Goad.  The game between Carthy and Dearman would decide the title.  If Dearman won, it was his.  If Carthy won they would tie on points, and the tie breaker would go to Carthy for winning their head to head match.  Eric Dearman was victorious pulling the flag first to ensure points wether or not he survived the game  and winning an Ultimate Airball Field.  For Dearman the win was especially joyous, topping his 2nd place finish in the 2002 Top Gun.  In the final game JC Whittington beat Lee Cambron Jr.

The evening of the first day wrapped up with the three man teams converging on the fields to walk the identical six bunker layouts that would host their games starting on Saturday afternoon.
 

SATURDAY

The morning of the three man start dawned with a beautiful blue sky.  The rain of the previous day and night which had drenched the streets of Huntington had passed, leaving a gorgeous spring day.  Being indoors, the weather didn't effect the tournament at all and games started shortly after 8 AM.  The local Marine Corps brought out a color guard for the singing of the National Anthem and presenting of the flags.  Thank you gentlemen for taking the time to be here and for serving our country!

The Ulimate Madness promoters, Milt Call and Paul Bollenbach work hard to ensure that the schedule was free from games that would result in a bye from a team who had signed up but didn't show up at the event.  In order to acheive this, they produced the schedules as late as practically possible, generating them quickly with Schedule Pro software by Jim Quizalla. 

Early Saturday morning the schedules were handed out for the games to be played, the Women's Division as well as the Rookies.  The Novice and Amateur teams would take the field later in the day for their preliminary games.  Six of the preliminary rounds were planned for completion on Saturday followed by the evening debut of Arenaball and the players party.

Ten women's teams took to the fields, the same number of female players as the prior year though the line up was a bit different, half of the teams were new to the Madness.  Superficial showed again, last year having fielded two teams, Silver taking the top slot at first, Blue taking 10th, this year Superficial was fielding a single team.  The third place team from 2002, Lady T&A from the west coast also showed again.  Wicked Sistas, fifth place winner from the prior year headed out as well as the sixth place winner, Femmes Fatale.  Paint Girls took seventh last year, hungry for a new placement in 2003.  Fallen Angels of New Jersey showed for play again having played in the first Madness in 2001 and having taken a break from some of the major events for the past year.  Lady Firestorm also was new to the event as well as Synchronicity and Xtreme Angels.  Valkyreis brought up the challenge after their debut at the PSP Pomona event were they placed 5th in the co-ed Rookie division.

The rookie teams blossomed this year at the Madness, going from 51 teams in 2002 to 74 teams in 2003.  The second place rookie team name, though likely not the same team members of Nemesis Jr. took to the field along with Parental Advisory who placed 16th last year.  Hazmat Extreme made a comeback from 2002 where their total points were not quite enough to make the cut to semi-finals leaving them with a 315 at the end of the 2002 Madness.  With such a large influx of rookie teams and so many new faces, the fields were running in a new dimension without a basis of knowing how a team might play or who would come out of the blocks hot.

Coming up on the end of the second round, the games were working themselves out to wins resulting in total points being given to one team, the other team often taking home 5 to 10 points after eliminating one or two of the opposing teams.  The scoring system for the three man event gave 5 points per eliminated player, 15 points for the first flag pull and 30 points for the flag hang.  Madness was unusual from the standard tournaments that penalized a team for losing players, only focusing on the playerss eliminated from the other team for a grand total of 60 points possible.

Rules for the Madness restrict Rookie teams to players who have not played on a national level for more than a year.  Templars were getting some grief for their placement in the Rookie division, though what teams didn't know is that the team was made up of the members from the Rookie team Templars II since the Templars main squad changed names to Next Level. 

Through the day Saturday, field action was shown on four large projection screens in the corners of the arena.  A network of 12 cameras, two for each field was wired into a central switcher to automatically change views.  In addition, players at home could follow the video network on WARPIG.com, as a webcam snapshot was taken from the video feed every 30 seconds (top right of this page.)

The first six rounds of the preliminary rounds wrapped up for the women and rookies just before noon on Saturday, clearing the fields for the novice and amateur teams to take the field.

As in the women's division, the Amateur division didn't grow from the prior year but showed with the same number of teams, 32 last year and 31 this year after discounting the four teams who didn't show but were included in the schedule.  Amateurs making the jump from the novice division last year were Saints who made 265 points and Murder Inc. who got 145 points.  Nemesis took third last year in the amateur bracket followed by Farside 2 who took 5th, Nasty who was in 6th, Farside who took 7th, and Tippmann Effect who also made the semi finals last year in 14th place.  AGD Lions and Pride finished 18th and 20th respectively last year, hoping for a better showing for the Mag shooting boys.  Primal Attitude brought up the last amateur teams who competed last year, aiming for a better slot than their 19th place.  Over two thirds of the amateur teams playing this year were new to the Ultimate Madness.

Novices, like the Rookies, showed a huge jump in teams going from 46 teams in 2002 to 72 teams in this year's competition.  Bad Boyz moved up after their first place rookie finish last year.  Followed by the second place rookie team Nemesis Jr as well as Voodoo who took third.  Twizted had 11th place, Shooter & Looters in 12th and Parental Advisory in 16th.  Several other rookie teams moved up this year, Hazmat, Creek Boys, KY Impact, Kentucky Magic and WOW.  Mantis placed last year in second novice and received criticism for their seeding at other events where they played as amateur.  Hyperactive showed after a 7th place as well as Blackout and Lethal Injection in the 11th and 12th placements.  Goin Postal, Demonic Factory Nemesis Black, and SG's all stayed in the novice bracket, hoping to make the break into the semi finals this year.

Saturday wrapped up about 6 PM after the sixth round of preliminary games but that didn't finish out the day of paintball.  While the fields were cleaned up, the National field was readied for Arenaball and the banquet room was set up for the free players party.  Promoter Milt Call was greatly encouraged and excited over the number of spectators lining the nets to the Arenaball field an hour before it's scheduled start.

At 7:30, players from Brimstone Smoke played an exhibition Arenaball match as the public debut of the format.  Arenaball is a three player game format, in which audience participation is allowed, music through the sound system is loud, and effects and spot lights are used on the otherwise dimly lit field.  The match consists of standard games played back to back, the winner, being that team that wins four or more out of seven games.  Brimstone This took the match of games then the spectators headed into the ballroom reserved for the players party for the free food, beer and non-alcoholic drinks.

SUNDAY

The women and rookie divisions took to the field first thing in the morning after the early morning of Daylight Savings Time, competing to make the cut to semi-finals.  The ladies, with ten teams, sent home two of the teams, Lady Firestorm and Paint Girls, the rest moving on to play semi-finals after the novice and amateur wrapped up their preliminary games.  Of the rookies, 18 went on after 16th place was decided at a tie of 325 points.  The rookie division had a three-way tie for 16th place at 325 points.  Since none of the teams had played head to head, the tie-breaker in this instance, all three of them were advanced giving the rookie semi-final bracket 18 teams.  Two divisions were set up as 5 team semi-finals while the other two brackets were the standard four team version.  Given that several of the teams would have an advantage since they played four games over three, it was opted to average the scores of all of the semi-final games, giving a fair rating of how the teams did during the semi-final rounds for the 5th through 18th placements. In the case of ties after the semi-finals were complete, the deciding factor was either a head-to-head game winner and if they didn't play that head-to-head, the seeding of the higher ranked team going into the semi-finals broke the tie.

Novices and Amateurs took to the field just as the women and rookie wrapped up their semi-final rounds after the completion of their preliminary rounds.  As in the rookie division the cut was not only high at 335, but there was another tie between two teams sitting at 16th place.  Since they didn't play each other, 17 teams advanced to semi-finals with Hyperactive leading the pack with no losses in their preliminary games.  Amateurs had the same story with a tie at 255 points between two teams sitting at 16th place.  The Union leading the pack of amateurs after dropping one game. 

After the ladies geared back up, they took the field again for their semi-final rounds with Lady T&A undefeated in their semi-final rounds taking first slot for the finals.  Wicked Sisters, Femmes Fatale and Fallen Angels would join them in the round robin format finals games.  The rookies saw Skeleton Crew taking first place after one loss, joined by Doc's Raiders Black, Troya and Misfit Toys Black in the rookie finals.  Shindig had a disappointing finish for the new team, this their first event to play and having only lost two of their twelve games - awesome showing guys, looking forward to seeing you later in the season.

While the novice and amateurs wrapped up their semi final rounds, the women's bracket and rookies played their final rounds which went quickly, ending up with Femmes Fatale and Wicked Sistas tying at 125 points.  Since the Femmes had won the head-to-head match, the tournament went to them, the Sistas coming in second, Lady T&A close behind at 120 points and Fallen Angels making a great showing in fourth place after their short hiatus.  Rookies fought hard in their final games, Doc's Raiders Black triumphing at two wins and a loss, Misfit Toys Black right behind them at 115 points.  For Doc's Raiders, their last game was important, they'd calculated that they needed the points from a flag pull to secure the win.  Ben Draper, the team's smallest player made a sacrifice play and dove out into the open, pulling the flag to grab their points, and getting eliminated moments later.  Skeleton Crew ended at third place with 80 points right ahead of Troya at 75 for fourth place.

Novice and amateur teams finished their semi final rounds with 17 teams each, whittling it down to four teams to move on to the finals round.  Novice team True Colors Red finished out on top of the group, Submission in second, Asylum Factory and Bckwoods taking up third and fourth.  Amateur team Shooters and Looters came out on top of the grouping followed by tied teams AGD Lions and Nasty.  Since AGD came into the semi-final rounds seeded ahead of Nasty, they took the second ranked slot, Nasty in third and Farside 2 taking up the fourth slot.

The fifth through seventeenth or eighteenth placed rookie, novice and amateur teams were ranked based on an average of their scores within their brackets to give a fair shake to the teams who played three games versus the teams who got an extra game during semi-finals.  It caused some confusion at the scoreboard that totals looked inaccurate, but being fair, the scores were averaged to benefit all of the teams, not just those who played more games.

Novice finals wrapped up in record time crowning Backwoods at first place after two wins and a loss, True Colors Red in second, Asylum Factory, Submission in fourth place.

Amateur finals finished shortly after the novice rounds, Farside II sinking the first place win at 165 points putting AGD Lions in fourth place.  Shooters & Looters took second place followed by Nasty in third.

Thank you to the Smart Parts crew for fish, lunches and such great company.  Sara for the shoulder and extension cord - I'll see you this week.  Gen E's Peg and Paul for playing taxi, supper, my first slot machine and for advice.  LB and Opie for showing up, being two of the most awesome men in the sport, for listening and unflagging support.  Teams for wearing stickers - thank you gentlemen for sporting the Pig.  Kim & Kim for working hard on the scoreboard.  The promoters for supper the last night and the kind words you said there.  Bill for doing my job of photography while I helped with the scores when chaos was reigning.  And most of all to my God who comforts when the things go bad.
 


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