In place of highly predicted rainy weather, anticipation and excitement filled the air as paintball players and supporters assembled near the tailgate of a dark grey Toyota truck to learn about the rules, scoring, and objectives of Battlefield Utah. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to be one of 312 players who battled it out in a capture the flag style scenario game that tested both individual skill as well as the ability to work as part of a team. Before I continue telling the tale of one of the best times I’ve ever had playing paintball, I would like to take this moment to say a heartfelt thank you to Tim Saunders, of Team Desert Edge, for inviting both me and Chris to this event as well as making sure we were able to attend.
The field was well balanced with plenty of opportunities for points and base assaults for both Bad Company (red) and Saints (blue). One of my favorite places to be was near the center flag. As my closest paintball friends already know, there’s nothing I love more than to get right into the middle of where the action is. Base flags, as well as four neutral flags, were also on the field and provided more opportunities for players to gain points for their team.
Along with plenty of flag pulling opportunities were various chances to gain points by completing missions and objectives. Each team had the opportunity to locate and extract a “downed pilot”. Each team’s General was notified the moment the downed pilot’s location was determined and a team was sent in to rescue and return the downed pilot to their dead box within 15 minutes to receive 50 points. It’s a good thing I was not in charge of this challenge because I most likely would have hastily dragged the wounded pilot to the dead box, paying no attention to his personal comfort as he screamed out in anguish, just to get the 50 points. Yes, he was much safer in the hands of my teammates.
Each team’s General chose a person to be the team’s spy. Only four of the Desert Edge staff members and the limited amount of people the Generals chose to tell actually knew who the spies were. Our team’s spy was Joe “Cupcake” Blakemore. Unfortunately for Cupcake, I did not know that he was our spy. I lit him up every chance I could because he has become a good friend of mine while we’ve been living in Utah for the past couple of years and, to the best of my knowledge, he had chosen to play for the opposing team. Sorry Cupcake…my bad. Each spy had been given a spy card for use upon capture. Once captured and in the presence of the base referee, the spy was to be questioned about being the opposing team’s spy. If he was found out, he had to present his spy card to the General and the General would collect the card to win 50 points for their team. If the General ended up being wrong in his accusation, the team would be penalized 25 points. No, it wasn’t because I felt bad about lighting up Cupcake that I chose to interview him. I chose to because I wanted our readers to learn what it was like to play the role of a spy at Battlefield Utah, that being said, on with my mini-interview with Joe “Cupcake” Blakemore.
MC: Thanks for doing this interview with me even after I shot at you during most of Battlefield Utah. So, what was it like being a spy at Battlefield Utah?
JB: Being the spy was so crazy. Seeing as I often only play fast paced airball and hyper ball it was so fun to try something new. I got to sneak around all day messing with swing bases and texting the other General the plans that were from our General.
MC: What did you find was the craziest thing about being a spy?
JB: At one point during the game I was trying to text, pump my cocker, and shoot…all in one motion.
MC: Would you recommend playing in Battlefield Utah?
JB: I would say to anyone who is thinking of coming down for a Desert Edge event but thinks woodsball isn’t really their favorite…I would say DO IT! These events are crazy fun and full of great people.
MC: Thanks Joe. Once again, it was a pleasure shooting you, I mean, interviewing you.
Spies were an important part of the game and so were the snipers. Sniper missions were limited to three pre- designated “Special Forces” players. Snipers were provided with special paint with a specific color and fill. They were awarded points for their team as follows: 25 points for General, 15 points for XO/Command Staff, and 5 points for Special Forces players. I must admit I was a bit jealous of the snipers and scouts since they were allowed to enter the field 15 minutes before game started.
The VIP Delivery Mission was for main teams. A clearly marked and obnoxiously decorated person was escorted from the assigned team’s elimination zone to a specific location within 30 minutes without getting the VIP shot. Teams who completed this objective received 50 points. I must admit I did not see this mission take place but I did see someone running around dressed up like a man-sized hot dog before the start of the second half. If you did see or take part in this mission, please comment on my article. I’d love to hear how the mission went and if I really did see someone running around in a hot dog suit or if I had just built up a ridiculous appetite from playing and was hungry.
The first part of Battlefield Utah was completed with both teams tied up with 420 points each. Players were given the opportunity to rehydrate, grab a bite to eat, and share their stories as well as come up with new strategies for when the battle continued after break.
Several players chose to compete in the Top Shot Challenge. This was where players tested their precision shooting skills on a static target range while under pressure during the game. Ryan Burningham, who completed Part 1 (the live range) in less than three minutes, was the winner of the Top Shot Challenge and won himself a Tiberius Arms T9.1. I was able to catch up with Ryan and ask him what the challenge was like.
MC: Ryan, what did you expect when you were going into the Top Shot Challenge?
RB: So, the first challenge, I didn’t know what to expect. I was going to get ready for anything. They said I would be running around the course and shooting targets while the game was live! I used a Tiberius T9.1 Elite Sniper marker shooting the first strike rounds. I had to run over and sight it in at the chrono because I had just adjusted and set up the sights. It was a good coincidence that the target I was shooting at, to sight in with, was the same distance as all the targets on the course. I only had to adjust a little up and down depending on how close it was to me.
MC: What was the hardest part of the first challenge?
RB: The hardest part of the first challenge was running and shooting. I am not in the best shape and I ran from one side of the field to the other while shooting 10 targets on the way. If I remember right, I had 2-3 targets I took two shots on and all the rest were 1 shot hits. At the end I told the ref, that I was running with, that my heart was going to come out of my chest.
MC: What was the second challenge like?
RB: The second challenge was a lot harder. You had to use the T9.1 Ranger with Co2 air and the standard barrel. You can gain a good amount of accuracy with using HPA and the First Strike Rifled Barrel from LAPCO. So, my strategy, with the wind and the targets at about 50-75 yards, was to watch a few people shoot and see where they landed. Then, when I took my first shot, I would have an idea of where it was sighted in. What I remembered right away, when I shouldered the T9.1, is that you can’t see down the red dot. With your mask, while looking down the marker, you have to guess your shots. Because I had been shooting the Tiberius guns for two years at that point, I lined up the gun on the first target and then carefully moved my head away from the gun and looked down at the target. Then I shot with pure feel. I would shoot one and see where it went then adjust the marker to get on target. I ended up missing the first shot on the first target and then hitting the first target on the second shot. I advanced to the next target and hit it on the second shot. The next target I hit on the first shot, and the last, I am not sure if I remember right, but I think I hit it on the first shot after a reload.
MC: Impressive shooting Ryan. I actually got to watch you, as well as the other Top Shot Challenge competitors, during the second part of the challenge at lunch break. It was incredible considering how windy it was! What do you think gave you an advantage in this competition?
RB: My main advantage for this competition was that I was very comfortable with the T9.1 Tiberius markers. If you were not shooting one of those markers you had a serious disadvantage. Say what you want about the expense of the marker, there is something so sweet about taking out a guy at 100+ feet with one shot. Well worth shooting a Tiberius.
MC: Thank you Ryan for taking the time to share your experience with me. Congratulations on winning the Top Shot Challenge. You have definitely made history at Battlefield Utah.
There were many skilled players on the field at Battlefield Utah and one of them stood out above the rest. Jason “Smurf” Privett took home MVP for the event by holding down the center flag for over 20 minutes with a pump. Now that has “win” written all over it.
Jason plays on the paintball team named “Infectious” along with the previously mentioned, and well loved, Cupcake. Jason is a tough one to catch up with unless you are out on the field playing with him. He was able to share with me that he was incredibly excited about winning MVP at Battlefield Utah and that it had been a goal of his for the past three years. Congratulations Jason!
Something new for Battlefield Utah this year were tokens the referees awarded to players who demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership, or ability. These tokens could be kept as souvenirs or turned in for points for your team. I am honored to have been awarded two tokens at Battlefield Utah this year and yes…I did turn in both of my tokens for points instead of keeping them. I must admit that I wish I had kept at least one of them because they were really cool looking but for me it’s about winning for the team. Thanks to Chris, I have photos of the two tokens I was awarded so I may share them with you and remember how I felt when I earned them. If you look very closely at the photo of me holding one of the coins you will see that I was wearing my Russian Legion headband that my friend Hailey was generous enough to part with. Thanks again Hailey. I love that headband and come on readers…as if I wasn’t going to mention Russian Legion in one of my articles. Ha! It was an incredibly fun scenario paintball game and I am extremely grateful to have been part of the excitement. Thank you to everyone who made Battlefield Utah such a great experience. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and definitely recommend this event to anyone who has a passion for paintball.
There has been some debate about what the final score of Battlefield Utah was. Several players said that the final score was Bad Company (red) 1,000 something over Saints (blue) 800 something. I was caught up in having way too much fun to really pay attention to the final score. I’ve been told that the final score was 1,010 to 820 and I’m more than willing to be corrected so please let me know if you know what the final score really was. No matter what the final score was, Bad Company won. Congratulations to the red team. You fought a great battle and it was fun!
Once again, thank you to the players and supporters who made Battlefield Utah one of the best paintball games I’ve ever played in and a huge thank you to the sponsors who really stepped it up for this event. Special thanks to Team Desert Edge for putting on such an awesome event, Tiberius Arms for sponsoring the Top Shot Challenge by providing a T9.1 marker as well as all of the First Strike rounds used in the challenge, Planet Eclipse, Full Clip, Lapco, GI Sportz, Ninja Paintball, Paintball Gateway, Saints Paintball and TECHT.
For more information about scenario paintball events by Team Desert Edge, please check out their website: http://www.teamdesertedge.com/