ROADTRIP! The full journey the Catshack Reports embarked upon just last weekend was nothing short of epic. From my home here in Ontario, Canada, we crossed the border into New York State without incident. Following a quick stop at the Buffalo Airport to pick up another big Castle Conquest fan we continued on into Pennsylvania State. For those who have never experienced Pennsylvania, the rolling hills and mountains provide a very scenic panorama that make that State a great place to hold the likes of EMR’s Castle Conquest in New Milford. One of the most notable aspects of Castle Conquest is the sense of camaraderie and real community that exists unlike any other field the Catshack has ever visited to date. The bunkhouses that several teams call their home away from home is something that all field owners ought to take note of and consider adding to their own venue. Further still, these same teams open the door to perfect strangers and make them feel right at home, something I think is part of what truly lends to the success of EMR overall as a paintball venue worth going to.
As dawn broke on Saturday and the sun began to climb high into the sky, Castle Conquest could not have asked for a better day to host their annual game. Players anxiously donned their uniforms and geared up in anticipation of another memorable event that would surely spark tales to continue for weeks thereafter. This year EMR changed the format slightly and reduced the ratio of attackers to defenders with 6 attackers to each defender. The defenders thisÂ year were an amalgamation of a few teams lead by Joint Fury.
Despite the numbers, Joint Fury mounted a furious defense of the Castle thwarting wave after wave of players trying to gain a foothold in the Castle gate. It was many hours later and roughly around 1pm that the attacking teams finally overwhelmed and streamed through the front gate en masse to end the siege and win the battle. Following a break in the action, organizers moved location to the next huge Castle on the property, often the site for the Western Worrs EMR game held later in the season each year. In each case both massive Castles were literally dripping in bright blue paint and when the dust settled, none could say that it wasn’t a great day of paintball.
At the end of the day came the prize awards, thousands of dollars worth of gear and equipment were distributed via a drawing. The Catshack Reports learned of a young lady serving with the Exiled Souls team that had suffered greatly on a more personal level. The lass had suffered not one but two brain tumors that had to be removed at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia PA. In her case, young Shawnna Major overcame and had recuperated enough (and given the green light by physicians) to take up her marker and attend her very first Castle Conquest alongside the rest of her family. The story was such that the Catshack Reports in cooperation with Sparky of Canadian Justice provided a high end paintball helmet, some pods and other goodies to insure the youngsters trip was never to be forgotten. Her father recounted an amusing anecdote of when Shawnna awoke following more painful testing and the first thing she said was “Dad, where is my paintball TShirt” The Catshack has learned after the fact that Shawnna has opted to take her winnings and donate it to another young girl friend of hers that is poor and unable to afford such things to play paintball…. now how cool is that?
Very special thanks to the Exiled Souls for accommodating the Catshack Reports in their bunkhouse. Thanks also goes out to our gracious hosts at EMR Paintball both Blue and Deuce. The players after party hosted by the Burley Bastards drew a round of applause for the great music and pig roast provided by the team to all in attendance. Further still the Catshack Reports would like to do a little shout out to both the Delta Paintball Team and The Jersey Titans for their fine hospitality. Let’s not forget Mitch Araujo and the gals who assisted with transporting the Catshack to the game for the weekend! (and providing an entertaining journey all the way there)
Late Saturday night brought about something of a surprise as a personal friend and associate contacted me asking if The Catshack Reports might be interested in hitting the road again the following day. Sure… why not, belongings were quickly tossed into the trunk for a full days drive through the rest of Pennsylvania and clear across Ohio to arrive in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The intent … to pay a surprise visit on Tippmann Headquarters and get ourselves a full tour of one of paintball’s world class manufacturers. The tour itself was nothing short of amazing as we learned more behind what drives one of paintball’s greats that is Tippmann Sports. The facility like many other manufacturers have adopted the Japanese Kanban system of lean manufacturing which stream lines production of all of our favorite markers. Further still each marker is individually tested and tried to insure customers need not worry about their purchase being faulty. The warehouse was chalk full of product shipping out world wide and the Research and Development part of the plant was hard at work developing the next greatest line of Tippmann to hit store shelves someday. Much thanks to both Nic Meyer and Denny Tippmann Jr himself for the hearty welcome and the tour itself.
All good things must come to an end as we made our way home through Ohio and Michigan to once again cross the border. One small glitch did occur as our GPS “Tom Tom” advised us to take a right off the freeway. Looking around at ramshackle, heavily graffiti buildings I turned to my partner and innocently asked where we were… the reply “we are in Detroit”… my eyes widened with alarm and only after we navigated our way out of a very rough part of that city and cross that border to our own home soil could we look back and find humor in the encounter.
Special thanks to PBLive for their donation of new audio equipment that has improved the quality of Catshack interviews.
For photos of the event be sure to join our Catshack Facebook group to view and for our video production see below ….