The True History Of Paintball

The history of paintball is rather brief. Compared to other sports it is relatively new.

It's origins only go back as far as 1980 when James Hale of Daisy Manufacturing invented and patented what would become the first paintball gun. However, Hale did not invent the paintball gun with the idea of fun and games in mind. The original paintball gum was used for marking trees and livestock in the field. It was not long before the history of paintball took a more interesting turn.

The history of paintball as a recreational sport began only a year later. In 1981 the first game was played by twelve competitors in New Hampshire. This game was played with paintball pistols that were usually used by the foresting industry for marketing trees and was a game of "capture the flag." This first game was the brainchild of Bob Gumsey, a sporting goods retailer, Hayes Noel, a stockbroker, and Charles Gaines, a writer. The winner of that first game was an initiate named Ritchie White who apparently captured all of the flags without firing a single shot!

The next big development in the history of paintball was the opening of the first outdoor paintball field in Rochester, New York by a developer named Caleb Strong. He later became the head of PMI Northeast along with Charles Gaines. This company now practically owns the entire paintball industry.

  • In 1982 Charles Gaines marketed paintball as the National Survival Game. 1982 was also the year that the media began to pick up on the novelty of this sport that was written up in Sports Illustrated.

  • In 1983 the first NSG National Championship was held with a $14,000 cash award for the winning team. Also that year saw scores of outdoor fields opening for the first time in Toronto, Canada.

  • 1984 was a landmark year in the history of paintball when Caleb Strong opened the first indoor playing field in Buffalo New York. In the next two years, paintball also caught on as an extreme sport with national leagues in Australia (under the name of Skirmish Games) and England (under the moniker The Ultimate Challenge.)

  • In 1998 the IPPA (International Paintball Players Association) was founded as a non-profit association dedicated to the education, growth and safety of the sport of paintball. Oddly paintball did not take off in France, Denmark and other countries in Europe until 1991.

  • I992 saw the formation of the NPPL (National Professional Paintball League) and the NPPL Pro-Am Tournament Series in Reno, New York, Boston, and other major cities in the United States in Canada.

  • In 1993 the NPPL "DC Cup" was aired live on ESPN from Washington D.C. This year of mass exposure in the history of paintball also introduce the sport to the web. was introduced to the world as the world's first Internet paintball site.

Since 1996, paintball has risen to be the world's third most popular extreme sport with tournaments played in over 60 countries. 1998. Focus International staged the largest indoor paintball tournament ever in the Skydome in Toronto, Canada. PCRI. Paint ball is also big business for manufacturers of goggles, inflatables and guns. Giant corporations such as Pepsi-Cola and Budweiser beer often sponsor tournaments. It seems that the history of paintball has certainly come a long way since its inception as an agricultural and forestry aid in 1980.


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