Paintball is a sport that has grown rapidly in the last 30 years. Starting in just 1983, players can now participate in professional tournaments with grand prizes of $100,000! Paintballing has become an official career. It has even expanded worldwide with growing popularity in the United Kingdom and Denmark. Read up to learn about the history of Paintball.
The game of Paintball got its wheels turning when in the 1970s the Nelson Paint Company created a gun that shot pellets containing paint called the Nel-Spot 007. James Hale invented this gun later to be used by the creators of Paintball. The gun was used to for marking various things like trees and cows with semi-permanent paint. This made it easy to distinguish what needed attention and what didn’t. An example of this in use would be the marking a tree that needed to be removed. It made the forest workers’ jobs easier but soon the gun would get kicked up a notch.
The first game of Paintball was played in June of 1981 by friends Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel, and Charles Gaines. The men wanted to create a stalking game in the woods that they could use the marker Nel-Spot 007 with. The object of the game would be to capture the flags hidden about the forest and avoid being shot by the other players. Ritchie White, one of the twelve players that day, became the winner of the first Paintball game ever. By March 1982 the world’s first Paintball field was opened in New Hampshire by Bob Gurnsey. The game was called “National Survival Game” or NSG for short. In 1983 the first National Survival Game tournament was held with a grand prize of $3,000. Eight teams comprised of twelve players each competed, including teams from the US and Canada. A Canadian team named the “Unknown Rebels” ended up winning the tournament.
Since the 80s Paintball has grown worldwide with high popularity in countries like Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia. It was recognized as an official sport by the SGMA (Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association) as of 1999. Today skilled professional players in Paintball can make yearly salaries upwards of $30,000. Oliver Lang, the highest paid player in the industry, makes a yearly salary of $170,000. Lang even has had Paintball guns made after him. Sponsorships are now readily available to those Paintball enthusiasts looking to go pro. As of 2010 over 15 million people play Paintball every year in the United States alone. Paintball isan ever-growing sport with awesome income potential for those die hard Paintballers.
Chronological History of Paintball:
•1981-First game played in New Hampshire
•1982-First Paintball field opened in NH
•1983-First tournament held
•1986-First national Paintball publication created
•1992-First National Tournament league founded (NPPL)
•1996-First nationally televised tournament
•1999-First recognized as a sport by SGMA
•2000-First National Collegiate Event
•2006- Oliver Lang signed first $100,000 deal
•2007-Paintball used in combat training exercises
•2010-15 million players yearly in the US alone