Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Xtreme Paintball hits the bulls-eye

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Is everybody full of paint? he asked the players.

Yeah, the answer came.

You want to play in that field? he asked, referring to the war zone.

Yeah, the answer came again. We want to roll over the cars.

Whats our strategy? one novice asked a teammate.

Shoot the other people, his friend responded.

Within seconds, the weekend warriors were sprinting, crouching behind barriers and firing their guns, sending orange and yellow pellets zinging across the field.

The two referees, watching from the side, hollered out player eliminated! once they spotted a player who has been hit or painted. At that instant, the player held an arm into the air and walked off the field.

Whitney Seals of Nashville, who graduated in December from Belmont University where she played on the basketball team, took a yellow pellet to the head.

It hurt a little bit, she said, while describing the action as pretty fun. Its an adrenalin rush and takes strategizing.

Paintball started in the 1970s when people wanted to mark trees to know who owned the land, Xtreme Paintball co-owner Mesnik informed. They used paintball guns, which were called markers.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=30|imageid=161|displayname=0|float=left}To play paintball, players must have a paintball marker or the gun, a hopper that holds the ammo (paintballs), a mask and a compressed air tank that powers the paintball. Accessories may include a protection vest, jersey, pod pack and gloves, and with these pellets coming at you at 285 feet per second (ouch), the protective vest is the smart play.

We opened in November, which is the worst time of the year for paintball, Mesnick said. We made it through the winter, and business is great now. Were sold out weeks in advance.

He and Andrew, his brother-in-law, were brainstorming for a new business and came up with the idea after playing the sport in Nashville. There was no paintball out here, and kids love it and that was our route, he recalled.

Everybody had guns around here. So we have a place for people to shoot themselves safely, said Jones, who constructed the fields, while Mesnik did the research.

Each battle arena can handle two teams of 12 players. Participants must be 10 years of age or older. The customers include church groups, bachelor parties, birthday parties and corporations that see this as a team-building exercise.

For the 14 guys and gals in Young Nashville Icebreakers, the four hours of shooting at each other was just a way to mesh, have a good time and blow off some steam, said the group founder Ryan Oxley, 25, a videographer who lives in Mt. Juliet.

Young Nashville Icebreakers is a group designed for people who are young at heart that want to be active and hang out and have a good time together, Oxley said of the year-old organization, consisting for the most part of adults in their mid-20s to their early 30s.

Paintball for me is something I always wanted to do but never had a chance. The appeal is its really high adrenalin, an exciting thing to do. This environment of being shot at is kind of a team-building experience. A lot of us always wanted to play paintball but never had a chance to do it, or we loved doing it but didnt have enough people.

For two Mt. Juliet Middle School eighth graders, paintball is purely about the fun.{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=30|imageid=166|displayname=0|float=right}

This is my second time here. I like that its a professional course. Ive played paintball with my friends. I came here a couple of months ago and had a really good time, Riley Hughes, 14, said.

Ive been playing air-soft and paintball. This is just more realistic than air-soft. A lot more fast-paced, Hughes friend, Taylor Reinbold, 13, said. I like the place because its really well constructed.

And its a great value, pretty cheap for a paintball place, Hughes added.

Xtreme Paintball offers three half-day rental policies, ranging from $20 to $40 to $60, which includes entry and rental for everything youll need. There are also six-month and 12-month memberships available at $150 and $300, respectively.

Weekend battles occur in two, four-hour blocks, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. Reservations are necessary for weekends, so call ahead. Walk-ins are welcome on weekdays, and those who have their own equipment can play anytime. Premium grade paintballs are mandatory.

The premium grade paintballs dont hurt as much, Jones said. They are biodegradable, non-toxic and water soluble, Mesnik added.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=30|imageid=167|displayname=0|float=left}The duo plans to open a third field in two weeks which will boast a wooden helicopter, a tank, a boat and house. Their site should be lighted for night games by mid-May, and later this summer they intend to have a tournament field ready for semi-pro tournaments. Soon they expect to start an in-house league with 10 three-man teams battling on Sunday afternoons .

Jones, 27, was born in Louisiana and moved around as a youth since his step-father served in the Air Force. He settled in Lebanon four years ago and also owns Premier Auto Spa on South Cumberland.

Mesnik, 26, is a Las Vegas native who married Jones sister and lives in Watertown. A Webmaster who co-founded the Adopt a Serviceman Web site, he has been here 15 months.

Theres a saying in paintball: Spray and pray, Mesnik advised. The more balls you shoot, the better.

As for tips from Jones, he said, Stay low, move up to the front, dont get shot.

We are making a level playing field for recreational players and tournament players, Mesnik said of their game plan. Its all about having fun, providing clean equipment and staying safe, Jones added.

Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at

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