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Viva Las Vegas!
1998 DYE Precision Las Vegas NPPL Tournament and Earon Carter Stock Gun Championsip
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Las Vegas is the season opener for the NPPL, and each year this tournament holds
something new. 1998 is no exception.
The 5 man competition is back! Last year, the Vegas NPPL lacked a 5 man event as it was run concurrently with the 1997 Great Western Series Las Vegas 5 man (the GWS also dropped it's traditional 10 man competition for the event). While the 5 man attendance was not as large as the GWS last year, 14 teams played hard for the title which was captured by Team Run. The 10 player competition was as fierce as ever, on these wicked desert fields. Field 4 was a center of some of the most exciting games, as it consisted of two parallel ravines and moderate brush. This gave spectators a good look down on the action, and players a lot of oportunities to crawl using the brush of the center ridge for cover.
Novice Classification in the 10 man! Technically the Amateur classification has been broken into Amateur A and Amateur B. This split works functionally the same as a novice classification, as it keeps the semi-final and final games at fair levels of competition. Teams that otherwise would not have gone home with a trophy were able to do so. A great example of this was The Family. Picking up some extra players from their home in Colorado, they filled out a 10 player roster and made their way to the finals.
Stock Class! The Earon Carter Stock Gun Championship is the ultimate proving ground for stock class paintball teams each year. In '96 the event was held at SC Village, in '97 in San Diego. This year, it was produced by DYE Precision and held at the same location as the NPPL, concurrent with the later part of the 10 man preliminaries, and finals. Unfortunately, due to recent hospitalization Earon Carter was not able to attend, and was definitely missed. Our prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery are with him. Wes Wong, the man from DYE that gets things done at tournaments ran things smoothly. The atmoshpere was one of the best sportsmanship. While the referees did an excellent job, the players were often calling themselves out when hit, and even complementing their competitors for good shots. Paintball politics and nonsense? Not here. Two of the biggest names in stock class paintguns are Carter and Component Concepts. Not only did Mike Cassidy of Component concepts provide Phantoms as prizes in Earon Carter's tournament, but he played as a member of the Phantom Stock Players as well.
As usual, Carter Machine provided the food for the event, and Earon's daughters, Tammy, Tonya, and Tisha are taking up the slack, keeping the players, spectators and staff fed.
New Paint! RP Scherer was on hand with their new paint brand, "All Star". According to Chuck Hendsch, this new paint is of a higher quality than Marblizer. The shell is thinner, allowing for easier breakage on target when fired from low pressure paintguns like the Cyber 9000, Shocker Sport, or low pressure Autocockers. The fill is the now famous "Evil" yellow fill with fine pigment that undeniably marks hits. This ball also sports a very unique feature... It's covered in stars.
Wind and Dust! OK, the dust isn't new, but the weather took a change from years past. DYE had been watering down the staging areas for the last week to help with dust control, but this is the desert after all, so the dust persists. It had a way of working into the nooks and crannies of paintguns and air systems resulting in sticky regulators leading to velocity problems. The tech crews from Air America have been cleaning air systems, battling the elements for their customers. The weather was nice and clear during the 5 man competition, but as soon as the 10 man teams hit the fields, the weather came in force. The rain that fell was light enough to not be a problem, but the wind was another matter. It drove the dust into clouds thick enough that they could almost be used for cover! Friday afternoon, a sudden gust tore loose some of the guidelines on the vendor's tent, and knocked over the Unique Sporting display wall. Without time to talk, or issue orders, the players and spectators in the tent were immediately on top of the situation, hauling the lines taught, and re-staking. Nature can be tough, but paintballers can be tougher.
Saturday and Sunday the vendor's tent was filled with activity. Smart Parts had a booth stocked mostly with the Renegade clothing line. Pacific Paintball and owner Chris Haggin had a full display of the KAPP product line. AKA Performance Paintball exhibited their aftermarket accessories which allow various paintguns to operate at lower pressures. One attention getter was their slick looking "Black Widow" customized low pressure Spyder. Unigue Paintball Pro Gear had their harnesses, clothing, and assorted accessories on hand to help the players in need. Both Air America and Airgun Designs tech booths provided field support for the players. Free maintenance on location is a deal you can't beat with a stick. The Angel booth provided tech support (this UK import is becoming a lot more popular on the tournament fields) and information for prospective angel owners. A cutaway Angel gave people a look inside this electropneumatic paintgun. As with most other major paintball events the Skirmish photographers (in this case, Cleo and "Snakebite") took photos for the players to keep as momentos, and for the paintball magazines. Outside, and past the player's staging tent (also new this year) Worr Games Products compressors were chugging away providing compressed air fills. To the West, RP Scherer's refrigerated semi trailer served up climate controlled paint.
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