In anticipation of another BIG season for paintball AND another big year for our annual Miss Catshack contest, its high time we introduce the paintball world to Miss Catshack 2011 Ms Traci Hayes in Florida … winner of last years contest and crowned Miss Catshack
Catshack Reports: Please explain a little about yourself as an introduction to the paintball community
Traci: My name is Traci Hayes, and I live “The Paint Life” …I have worked at Hotshots Paintball of South Florida for about 6 years now, and while doing so, I try to play paintball at least once a week. I love it. I surround myself with paintball on a daily basis, whether it’s playing, working, encouraging others to play, or just advertising paintball companies and paintball itself. I have had the opportunity to travel across the country for tournaments and scenarios, and will continue to do so as long as they exist. It’s just way too much fun, and the community is like no other.
Catshack Reports: When and where was your first paintball experience? … what was particularly memorable about it?
Traci:Â My very first paintball experience was in the woods behind the local Regal movie theater when I was about 14 years old. I used a Spyder Imagine, wore a chest vest, hoodie, and jeans. Two things were particularly memorable about this experience. I was running up a hill, tripped, and clogged my barrel full of sand. While trying to clean the barrel out with my finger, I shot myself. Then after shooting some shots in random directions I ran off into the woods….I had no clue where anybody was, even my own team. After 20 minutes of confusion and walking around who-knows-where I eventually found my way back to our staging area to find out the game had ended a long time ago.
Catshack Reports:Â Since then, what would be some of the best and most memorable experiences in paintball you have really enjoyed?
Traci:Â I don’t even know where to start…About 3 years ago at Hotshots Paintball we held our first summer “training” camp for kids. It went pretty well. There were a select few kids that stood out from the group, that really wanted to learn how to play better and they continued to play paintball every weekend or so after that. The next year rolled around, and we held a second summer training camp. We had A LOT more kids this time around, including some from the first camp….and a lot more willing and wanting to learn how to play better paintball. Halfway through the camp there were two rival teams of kids. They played against each other until they decided to just merge the teams. This team soon became known as “The Buster Squad”. Although in the passed year, they all have “graduated” and now play for the Palm Beach Vipers. To this day, I love each and everyone of these kids as if they were my own. Kids like these are the future of paintball, and it really makes me happy to be a part of such an awesome bonding that came from a paintball summer camp.
Other than that… every weekend, every tournament, every scenario game is a new and exciting experience. I learn something new from someone and I teach someone something new.
Catshack Reports: What would you say to other girls to convince them that paintball is for everyone and not just a male sport?
Traci: To all the ladies: I see more and more girls playing paintball for their first time every weekend. More importantly than that, they kick some BUTT against the guys too! Paintball is a coed sport and a family sport. ANYBODY can play. Don’t ever think you could never be as good as the guys. If you enjoy playing paintball, play it, have fun, and don’t let ANYONE hold you back.
Traci:Â Currently I am using an all black DM9 with an Empire Prophecy Z2 hopper. My gun is amazing. So amazing, I named her Veronikka (Russian for “bringer of victory”) =P
Catshack Reports: Where do you see yourself as it pertains to paintball in future?
Traci:Â I hope that soon I can travel more, play tournaments and scenarios across the country and maybe eventually across the world. At the same time, I’d like to do what I can to help promote and grow the sport that we all know and love. That would be ideal.
So there you have it…. The Catshack Reports Miss Catshack 2011 … stay tuned, this year is going to bigger and better than ever! Miss Catshack 2012 coming to a computer near you, starting June 2012
Photography courtesy of Brandon Blouin