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Ultimate Madness IV
March 2004
Story and photos by Joshua D. Silverman
Assistant Editor of Warpig Media Partner Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine

One on One Champion - Eric Dearman
Amateur First Place - Adrenalin
Novice First Place - Asylum
Rookie First Place - Heavy Duty
Women's First Place - Femmes Fatale

For the fourth time, the Diablo Ultimate Madness three-man event, promoted by Milt Call and Paul "PGP" Bollenbach, was held at the Big Sandy Super Center Arena in Huntington, West Virginia.  

Over 150 teams spread across rookie, novice, amateur and women's divisions converged on a small community in the hills of West Virginia on April 2, 3 and 4 to compete in a tournament that has become known for having one of the highest prize payout ratios in paintball.

On Friday, over sixty players met to inaugurate the event with the one-on-one Top Gun competition.  Their goal was to finish first and receive a new Ultimate Air Ball field.  With such a wealthy prize, competition was stiff and included many top players, such as 2003 Champion and Philadelphia Americans National XBall League star Eric "#1 Stunna" Dearman, facing off against the likes of Mike Paxson of Aftershock and several members of Bad Company.  By evening, the event, run like a one-man tournament, was over and Eric Dearman repeated as the champion.

On Worr Game Products' sponsored field, players enjoyed open games played in Sonny Lopez's new format, Penalty Box Paintball, against players like Bea Youngs, Kat Gong and Sarah Dunsmuir.  While alien at first, once players developed an understanding of the format and its nuances, games became fast paced and exciting for all involved.  The new style of play became a hit.

The Ultimate Airball cages over the game fields meant that vendors were able to place their set-ups only feet from the fields inside the climate controlled stadium.  Showing their products on Friday were Brimstone Paintball, Tippmann Pneumatics, Airgun Designs, National Paintball Supply, Airgun Designs, Crossfire, Generation E, Morgan Awards, Worr Game Products, AKA, Centerflag, Reactive, Custom Cylinders, Eclipse and Kingman.


Saturday morning brought the rookies and women to the field to begin the three-person competition for which the Ultimate Madness has  become famous.  Intense play on all six fields saw games push through the schedules quickly, with teams like the Killa Bees out in front in convincing style.  In the women's division, it was all Femmes Fatale leading as the team came out hard and never slowed down, dominating their field with teams like the Valkyries and Flirt'N behind.

At approximately mid-day, the rookies and women finished their first day of play, and were replaced on the fields by the novices and amateurs.  As usual at the Madness, games between the top teams were short but bloody as teams like Farside, EZ Paintball and Groundfire slugged it out with two Overload squads from the Carolinas for dominance in the amateur division, while Atomix hammered their way through the novice bracket.

Saturday evening hundreds of players and their entourages converged on the Arena again, this time to watch referees Brimstone Smoke participate in an exhibition game of Ultimate Arena Ball under dim lights with strobes and roving spotlights, accompanied by booming music thanks to DJ Bea Youngs.  Brimstone Smoke split into their usual "This" and "That" squads to face off in fast, hard, head to head games in the best of seven format that interested and entertained the players.  When the game ended, the attendees surged into the player's party for free catered food and of course, free beer.  Milt, PGP and company raffled off such lavish prizes as an Intimidator, Autococker, Tippmann and a mountain of other prizes as beach balls, Frisbees and lanyards filled the air.

All teams played the majority of their preliminary games on Saturday at the Madness, but would return on Sunday morning, after setting their clocks for daylight savings time, to complete their preliminary games and determine the semifinalists, finalists and winners.

Sunday dawned as cold and windy in Huntington, as Saturday had beautiful.  All divisions completed their preliminary rounds early and then headed to the scoreboards to learn who would make their various semifinal cuts.  While many teams were competing for slots to move on, many more were going home and knew it.  They played with abandon, as they were aware that they had nothing to lose.  This led to some of the most intense games yet.  
As there were only six teams in the women's division of Ultimate Madness Four, the top four teams from the preliminary round were moved directly to round-robin finals on National Paintball Supply's green and red field.  The powerful Femmes Fatale were joined in the women's finals by the Women of Worr, who turned their game around Sunday morning and pushed into the finals looking strong.  The surprisingly strong Southern Seduction squad and Raven's Valkyries were also in the division.  It was clear that any team could come out on top.
While the rookie, novice and amateur teams continued to battle, this time in semifinal rounds, the women stepped onto head referee Jeff Krupin's field to finish their tournament and decide the 2004 Women's World Champions.  The games and the controversy began concurrently, as the women, all competing for a major title and a slice of a massive prize package, began to push the limits.  Bonus balls, finger pointing, raised voices, run-throughs and arguments with the referees were a regular occurrence throughout the women's finals.  Krupin and his staff worked tirelessly to maintain order and call the games in as fair and objective a manner as they possibly could.  Each and every women's team won games and it was anyone's event to win or lose, but the experience and aggressiveness of the Femmes Fatale that shone through, as they took the event's first place title.  This made the Femmes repeat champions, following their 2003 Ultimate Madness win.  In an amazing game, Bea Youngs and the Women of Worr came back from a tough spot to win a final game against Southern Seduction to take second place, putting Seduction in an impressive third spot.  The Valkyries played to a hard-fought fourth overall.
As the women were putting down their paintball guns and enjoying camaraderie off the field after intense competition inside the cages, the rest of the teams moved through the semifinals and eventually into the finals by late afternoon.  

In a departure from most normal major tournaments, Milt, PGP and company took not the top four, but the top eight teams into the rookie finals.  These included LTZ, Hyperactive Kids, Heavy Duty, Whiskey Tango, DIe Hard Sons, Xtreme Tactics, Blaze and the Skeleton Crew.  Once into the finals, Heavy Duty, the Die Hard Sons and Blaze finished one, two and three on the rookie podium.
Sixteen novice semifinalists were whittled down to eight finalists, who included Asylum, the Cincinnati All Stars, EZ Air, Oklahoma Legion, the Mid-Knights, CCX, Stryck-9 and Ginxed Gold.  Asylum took the novice portion of the event, ahead of Stryck-9 and the Cincinnati All Stars.  

In the amateur division, the Misfit Toys, two Overload teams from the CFOA and EZ Paintball joined Adrenalin and Farside in the finals.  The surprisingly strong Adrenalin squad took first, ahead of EZ Paintball and the two Overload squads, who brought up second and third.
After an awards ceremony that included well over 100 paintball guns from Matrices to Automag RT's to Autocockers to Tippmanns and Spyders, goggles from VForce, compressed air bottles from Crossfire, barrels, entries to the Aruba Open and the Memphis Indoor tournaments and, of course, Ultimate Air Ball Battlefields, the Ultimate Madness Four concluded as yet another thrilling episode in this event's history.  Players in all divisions left happy, the fields played extremely well, nearly all of the vendors expressed satisfaction with their sales numbers and the Ultimate Madness Five is already being planned for 2005 in West "By God" Virginia.


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