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Saturday, July 6th brought paintball players from around the area to Albright Shores for the second annual Billings Township Open paintball tournament. Registration for the tournament began at 8:30am and by start of the first game at 10:00am nearly 20 players had signed up for play. Teams were randomly picked by event organizer Keagan Fortier, placing 3 or 4 players of various skill levels on each team. Games were 3 players versus 3 players and played until one team eliminated all three of their opponents.

Also attending the event was Bandit Paintball from Saginaw to sell paintballs and provided high pressure air and co2 for the player’s guns. As the coach of the Beaverton Blaze paintball team, I set up a fund raiser food stand selling hotdogs, sloppy joes, chips and drinks to help with team expenses. As play started, the July heat and humidity began to set in and spectators gathered under the shade net on the bleachers.

Play was fast and furious during the first half with each team playing 5 games. At the half, last year’s MVP Kalvin Krompetz, and his team were in the lead followed close behind by reigning champion Bryan Krajenka and his team. It was looking like a repeat of the 2012 tournament might be in the making as everyone broke for lunch.

During the lunch break a Civil War Elimination was held for anyone who wanted to join in. Each player was allowed to load only one paintball at a time into their gun rather than the usual 150 – 200 which are fed into the gun at 12.5 balls per second or faster. The elimination was a great little shoot out and in the end Jessee Pagtalunan came out victorious and took home the trophy. As an added half time attraction Kirsten and Matt Fortier, parents of Keagan Fortier, took to the field for their own little game with Kirsten giving the crowd something to cheer about as she connected with a solid hit on Matt and took the win.

As the second half began, games were fought hard, and even with the extreme heat and humidity, every player gave it their best. They all wanted one of the great trophies or medals that would be given to the first, second, and third place. Teams showed they were giving the spectators quite a show. Cross field shots, running shots, bunkering, and even a sneak attack gone wrong ending with one player landing a solid belly smacker in the water of the nearby drainage ditch. The crowd cheered their approval with every game and most of them stayed until the final game was played.

After each team had played ten games, the two teams with the top scores played one final championship game. When the scores of the first 10 games were added, the results were going to make for a great championship game as it was indeed going to be a repeat of the 2012 tournament, with last year’s tournament champion and his team facing last year’s MVP’s team. Kalvin was out for an upset and to take home the win. Bryan was looking for a repeat and was not going to go down easy.

As I was on the field filming the final game, watching my son Bryan closely, I saw that each team had lost one player. Shortly after that, Kalvin’s team was down to one player. I heard Bryan tell his final teammate to just “stay behind that bunker and don’t move” right before he took off on a sprint down field. Bryan and his teammate had pinned the final opponent behind a bunker, and just like last season, he was making a move to go in for the kill. The crowd cheered on as he blazed up field and made the final shot of the game, giving his team the win and taking home the first place trophy for the second year in a row.