SPPL Utah Qualifier Wrap-Up

With its second event of the season, the SPPL (Scenario Paintball Players' League) is in full swing. Thirteen teams showed up to the famous Spec Ops Retribution field, home of Elite Weekend, for the 2008 SPPL Utah Qualifier on May 2 and 3.

You can check out www.playsppl.com for news, photos, and more. And of course, we'll have complete coverage of the game in the Spring 2008 issue of RECON Magazine. I'd like to share some of my personal observations about the event in this blog.

Although it snowed on Thursday evening, making the field (especially the upper "APE Rampage" field) quite muddy, it warmed up by Friday. The game got off to a late start but players and staff alike made the best of it, and by lunchtime, games were on schedule. Teams really hustled to get to their deadboxes in time. Due to a glitch with the DraXxuS paint delivery, we started the event with only 100 cases of paint. Players competing later in the day graciously waited to buy their paint, or loaned a case to teams who played in the morning. Even competing teams loaned paint so that the games could go on without a hitch.

The SPPL really reminds me of the amazing sportsmanship we see at woodsball games across the country, both spotlighting and rewarding friendly behavior. The refs--who did a phenomenal job--received the utmost respect from the players. Every team received several votes for the Sportsmanship Award, making it an amazingly difficult decision. Team Feel the Paint received the Sportsmanship Award--equal in value to the first place prize package--for their honesty, positive attitudes and helping to make the game more fun for each team they faced.

I personally want to recognize nearly every team for their behavior and fun-loving attitudes both on and off the field. Hats off to Chupacabra, (or rather, hats on), who traveled the furthest for the event, coming from Tuscon, Arizona to play in the Rookie Division. Also, special thanks and recognition to Shadow Legion, who faced some interesting travel challenges on the way down from Idaho, but arrived at the field with smiles on their faces and great attitudes in spite of their road trip difficulties.

The new divisions work well. One of the real benefits is that new teams really have a chance to compete against players of similar skill levels. This will encourage the growth of the league; Utah saw two brand new teams (less than one year old) playing in the rookie division and two teams new to the SPPL this season.

The Utah Qualifier hosted four Rookie teams, seven Masters teams and two Elite teams. The Elite teams competed in the two Masters brackets until the Finals in two brackets, giving the Masters players a chance to really stretch themselves.

Some of the hottest action took place in games where Masters players faced legendary teams like "Run." On Friday, industry legend Tom Cole of Bad Company sat in with Run, while Saturday saw Steve Paige and Dale "Pegleg" Price competing with the Utah-based Elite team.

The Winners:

1st - BlackLight Company
2nd - Suicide Kings
3rd - Feel the Paint

1st - Desert Edge Yin
2nd - Desert Edge Yang
3rd - Montana Inertia

1st - Forest Fire
2nd - Run

Sportsmanship: Feel the Paint

* Special thanks to Josh Eades of Desert Edge and Ben Haslam who photographed the event. Here's just a small sampling of Josh's thousands of pictures, which can be seen at www.playsppl.com and www.teamdesertedge.com.

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