Monday, July 24, 2000

Park's game popular

Paintball players flock to club at Hueston Woods

By Jenny Callison
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PREBLE COUNTY — The woods are alive with the splat of paintballs, a colorful addition to activities offered by Hueston Woods State Park.

        The park's Paintball Club — with its target range and field — was initiated by Hueston Woods Lodge general manager Tom Arvan.

Taking aim with a paintball gun, Tracy Banks of Trenton participates in a game at Hueston Woods State Park Sunday.
(Luis Sanchez photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We had a few corporate groups that requested it as a team-building exercise,“ Mr. Arvan said. “I thought it would be a great thing for us to provide, not only for our corporate guests but also for mom, dad and the kids.“

        It opened in March.

        By noon on Sunday, aficionados from Middletown, Trenton, Carlisle and Lebanon assembled for combat, many wearing camouflage.

        “Some people are pretty serious about it; others are, like, white T-shirts and jogging pants,“ said Travis Turner, Paintball Club manager, as he helped players check the power of their guns.

        For those who have never felt the ping of an exploding paint capsule, paintball involves aiming a semi-automatic powered by carbon di oxide at a member of the opposite team.

        The gelatin-coated capsules are about the size of a marble.

        “If it busts bigger than a quarter on you, you're out,” Mr. Turner said.

        Most popular competitions between paintgun-toting teams are Capture the Flag and Elimination, although park staff like to experiment with new games.

        For individuals or smaller groups, there is a target range with silhouettes of ducks, geese and deer.

        “Everybody here is friendly and willing to help,“ said Tony Briscoe of Middletown, one of Sunday's combatants. “We drive by other (paintball) places to get here.”

        Hueston Woods' operation was planned for safety, given the dangers inherent in the game. “Referees are on the field at all times,” Mr. Arvan said. “They check the guns and the velocity.”

        A required helmet protects a player's head and face; barrel plugs are mandatory for guns off the field.

        “We also have a point blank rule,” Mr. Arvan said. “If you're within 10 feet of your target, you say "point blank' rather than shooting.”

        The paintball field is a dense woodland away from trails and other activities.

        The vegetable oil/food color paint washes easily from clothing and is harmless to plants. Teams can have eight to 36 players.

        Reservations are suggested.


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