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The history of paintball is rather brief. Compared to other sports it is relatively
new. It's origins only go back as far as 1980 when James Hale of Daisy Manufacturing invented and
patented what would become the first paintball gun. However, Hale did not invent the paintball gun with
the idea of fun and games in mind. The original paintball gum was used for marking trees and livestock in
the field. It was not long before the history of paintball took a more interesting turn.

The history of paintball as a recreational sport began only a year later. In 1981 the first game was played by
twelve competitors in New Hampshire. This game was played with paintball pistols that were usually used
by the foresting industry for marketing trees and was a game of "capture the flag." This first game was the
brainchild of Bob Gumsey, a sporting goods retailer, Hayes Noel, a stockbroker, and Charles Gaines, a
writer. The winner of that first game was an initiate named Ritchie White who apparently captured all of the
flags without firing a single shot!

The next big development in the history of paintball was the opening of the first outdoor paintball field in
Rochester, New York by a developer named Caleb Strong. He later became the head of PMI Northeast
along with Charles Gaines. This company now practically owns the entire paintball industry.

* In 1982 Charles Gaines marketed paintball as the National Survival Game. 1982 was also the year that the
media began to pick up on the novelty of this sport that was written up in Sports Illustrated.

* In 1983 the first NSG National Championship was held with a $14,000 cash award for the winning team.
Also that year saw scores of outdoor fields opening for the first time in Toronto, Canada.

* 1984 was a landmark year in the history of paintball when Caleb Strong opened the first indoor playing
field in Buffalo New York. In the next two years, paintball also caught on as an extreme sport with national
leagues in Australia (under the name of Skirmish Games) and England (under the moniker The Ultimate

* In 1998 the IPPA (International Paintball Players Association) was founded as a non-profit association
dedicated to the education, growth and safety of the sport of paintball. Oddly paintball did not take off in
France, Denmark and other countries in Europe until 1991.

* I992 saw the formation of the NPPL (National Professional Paintball League) and the NPPL Pro-Am
Tournament Series in Reno, New York, Boston, and other major cities in the United States in Canada.

* In 1993 the NPPL "DC Cup" was aired live on ESPN from Washington D.C. This year of mass exposure in
the history of paintball also introduce the sport to the web. was introduced to the world
as the world's first Internet paintball site.

Since 1996, paintball has risen to be the world's third most popular extreme sport with tournaments played
in over 60 countries. 1998. Focus International staged the largest indoor paintball tournament ever in the
Skydome in Toronto, Canada. PCRI. Paint ball is also big business for manufacturers of goggles, inflatables
and guns. Giant corporations such as Pepsi-Cola and Budweiser beer often sponsor tournaments. It
seems that the history of paintball has certainly come a long way since its inception as an agricultural and
forestry aid in 1980.

Paintball History - How it all started !!

James Hale of Daisy Manufacturing, invented and patented what would become the first paintball gun.
This original paintball gun was manufactured and used by farmers and ranchers for marking trees and

May 1981
Paintball began in New Hampshire, U.S.A. the principal creators were
Bob Gurnsey, a sporting goods retailer
Hayes Noel, a stockbroker
Charles Gaines, a writer

June 27, 1981
The first game played:
12 players competing against each other
Using Nel-spot 007s pistols
The game was capture the flag
The winner captured all flags without firing a shot!

The first outdoor playing field was opened in Rochester, N.Y., by Caleb Strong

Charles Gaines marketed paintball as the National Survival Game (NSG)

PMI (Pursuit Marketing Inc.), was founded to market and distribute paintball products

The first NSG National Championship was held with a $14,000 cash purse

The first outdoor paintball fields opened in Toronto, Canada

Paintball started in Australia under the name of Skirmish Games
November 1984
The first indoor playing field opened in Buffalo, N.Y., by Caleb Strong

The first outdoor playing field was opened in England

IPPA (International Painball Players Association) was founded as a non-profit association dedicated to the
education, growth and safety of paintball

Paintball begins in France, Denmark and other countries in Europe

NPPL (National Professional Paintball League) was founded and the NPPL Pro-Am Series started with sites
around the U.S.

The History of Paintball

April 30th, 2009 in Pop Culture History by Garrett Danielson

Twenty years ago you could purchase a gallon of gas, a gallon of milk, a hamburger, and a liter of coke for
less than five dollars. However, in 1989 you could not make $100,000 a year traveling the world shooting
people with balls of water soluble paint. Paintball is the third most popular extreme sport in the world
behind inline skating and skateboarding. Although a relatively young sport by most standards, this game
did not come to be the phenomenon it is today overnight.

Paintball guns, or markers, existed before the game of paintball. Starting in the early 70s, the air-powered
guns were used to mark trees and livestock in the field. Early models shot streams of paint, but were soon
redesigned to shoot paint pellets. The pellet design was advantageous because they could be shot
further than a stream of paint and were able to clear obstructions. Besides, who would shoot a Super
Soaker over a BB gun? Because their sole function was to leave semi-permanent marks, paintballs were
made from oil-based paint. Markers were mass produced by Daisy and Crossman for the Nelson Paint
Company and became popular in both the livestock and forestry industries as tools for field-marking.

Much like the concepts of significantly more dangerous and less successful games, the idea of paintball
originated in the presence of alcohol. Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines fantasized over a bottle of gin about
a stalking game they could play with their friends. A friend recommended they use Nelson paintball
markers and before long Hayes Noel and the third founder, Bob Gumsey, wrote up the rules for the game.
In June 1981, the first game took place in an eighty acre forest in New Hampshire. The competitors
consisted of the three founders and nine friends ranging from a New York film producer to a farmer from
Alabama. An every-man-for-himself, capture-the-flag format was used. Within weeks, one of the writers
from the original twelve participants published an article in Sports Illustrated raving about the adrenaline
rush he experienced playing the newly invented National Survival Game (NSG).

Gumsey, Gaines, and Hayes responded to the widespread popularity of the article by selling NSG starter
kits that included a Nelson pistol, paintballs, goggles, a compass, and a rule book. In 1982, Gumsey opened
the first commercial paintball field in New Hampshire. The game was still called NSG and Nelson remained
the dominant franchise in the industry.

Since 1982, paintball has evolved substantially. The game is now played globally, both recreationally and
competitively. Most recreational play takes place in the woods, but competitive paintball is now played in
an arena type setting with inflatable bunkers. Tools of the trade have evolved with these new formats.
High-end markers now cost from $500 to $1,500 and are capable of shooting more than 15 balls per
second. The projectiles are now completely biodegradable and are filled with water soluble paint instead
of oil based paint. A competitive player can easily spend several hundred dollars on a basic set of

A multi-million dollar industry has developed as people have continued to step onto paintball fields and
step off with welts and smiles. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money and sponsorships are
awarded every year in tournaments. The first professional league emerged in 1992. Today there are two
thriving professional leagues, the United States Paintball League (USPL) and Paintball Sports Promotions
(PSP). Although most professional players are not paid enough to make a living solely from playing, in 2006
paintball took a huge leap toward becoming a mainstream sport when professional player Oliver Lang took
an offer to play for the Los Angeles Ironmen for an annual salary of $100,000.

As one looks at how far paintball has come in a fraction of the time that most mainstream sports have
existed, you wonder what might be possible twenty years in the future. Invest in your future; play laser tag.
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