Contributed by Chris "Mr. Glass" Frank, Co-Founder of the Bad Karma Paintball Team
There are a few things that are legendary in paintball. Tippmann durability is one. The bi-annual SuperGame event outside of Portland Oregon is another. This story is about both.
As a scenario team, Bad Karma travels to events all across the U.S., but our absolute favorite in six years of travelling is SuperGame, hosted by Dan Bonebrake. It's one of the biggest games on the West Coast, and attracts some of the most hardcore teams and fanatic rec players around. There are forts to assault, hills to conquer and tanks to kill. The air, sponsorship prizes and management are top notch too. And if any of you know this field, you know the spring version can get muddy, especially at the Swamp flag station.
We're not talking any kind of mud. This is shoe-swallowing, make-you-think-twice-about-hitting-this-flag-station mud. Lesser players with pretty uniforms don't venture here. In the spring game of 2012, you avoided it altogether, begrudgingly went there because of a mission or didn't know any better.
As it so happens, two kids who didn't know any better ventured there, and to its worst part. They somehow got stuck in waist high mud and couldn't get out. After trying to crawl out for an hour—and with no end in sight—they were getting pretty frustrated. What's worse, the game was done for the day and all the other players were leaving.
That's when Nate "Swagger" Durbano, the Bad Karma co-commander, heard the two boys desperately yelling for help. He and the general for our side, Ryan Stanchfield from Super Stanchy Customs were doing a final sweep of the field before heading back to the staging area.
When they finally got there and edged as close as they could without getting stuck themselves, Nate noticed one of the boys had his Tippmann rental marker in the air tying to preserve it. That's when he got an idea.
"Use your marker like a branch," Nate told him. "Lay it in the mud and crawl on top of it."
He protested, telling Nate it was a rental and that he couldn't pay for it if he broke it.
"Don't worry about it," Nate said. "The Tippmann will be just fine."
So the boy laid his Tippmann down on top of the mud as Nate threw out tree branches to make a path for him to crawl to dryer ground. He slowly was able to maneuver on top of the marker and then the branches.
Once he got to a spot where he wasn't sinking, Nate told him to throw him the Tippmann so he could crawl without worrying about it. He made the long throw and slugged through the rest of the mud.
As Nate finally helped the boy to solid ground he was grinning from ear to ear, happy to be out. Who wouldn't be after spending and hour and a half in the mud? His smile went away quickly though, as his thoughts went to the rental gun and the possibility that he had broken it. It was covered in thick, dark mud.
Taking the optimistic route, Nate told him he would pay for any damage, but he didn't think it would be necessary. He then took off the loader and shot a 4-inch slug of mud out of the barrel onto the ground. Putting the loader back on, Nate fired the Tippmann again. Good as new.
"That's why I use a Tippmann," Nate told him, "because even after you climb through the swamp with it, Tippmann's still shoot just like when you pulled it out of the box."
After Ryan finished helping the other boy out of the swamp, they all headed back to the staging area… very grateful to be out of the mud.
FYI, we'll be back at SuperGame May 3-5 2013 with Nate "Swagger" Durbano defending his fall victory as a general. This time out, he'll be generaling the Blue team. Hope you'll join us. Ask us to shoot one of our Tippmann Phenoms or Crossovers.