Paintball is no casual hobby for Casey Rich and Matthew Moore. The two have taken the recreational sport to the next level here in the Valley as leaders of the Modesto Mayhem amateur paintball squad.
At the age of 25, Rich is the second oldest on the team he has built over the past few years with players coming from around the Valley.
"Since getting started, we had maybe three people; we are now one of the biggest clubs for the division and age group we're in," Rich said. "We also now have over a dozen sponsors that helped us in every sense of the word to be able to compete in more events. Getting sponsors has been dedication and we spend personal time calling people and companies. Really getting our name out there has helped."
Last season, the Mayhem finished fourth overall out of 28 teams in the Capital-Edge Paintball League, after placing in third at their final event of the year.
"We got fourth place out of 28 teams and that's pretty good," Rich said. "We took first place in Vacaville Scrim Wars event and that was also huge. But the third place finish at the final event helped us finish up there. It is good to see how far we have come since getting started."
Making up the six man roster along with Rich, from Ceres, and Moore from Turlock, are 17-year-old Michael Dufort from Modesto, Garret Brock of Turlock, Lee Perez of Manteca and 28-year-old Michael Harrel of Modesto.
Paintballing consists of 5-on-5 play. The five positions are the left side - or what they call the snake side, one of the harder positions that requires skill, speed and athleticism -the back side, home and dorito side.
"It's the hardest position because you sprint full speed into bunkers and I am always jumping around, shooting a lot of people," said Rich, who plays the position of snake. "Then you have your back side, which shoot from a distance and wait for the other snake to approach or attack."
During the five man style of paintball, the winner receives up to 3 points; each point is 5 minutes long. In other words, the first to shoot everyone out is the winner. The first to 3 points is the winner. Sometimes there are four matches played throughout the day. Five or six matches are possible.
"It gets pretty intense in our league," Rich said. "Our guns shoot 20 balls a second and sometimes it is less, but if you shoot quickly it seems like you are shooting out more than that."
With over 80,000 players spread throughout the country, the Mayhem look to continue the growth, jumping from division five to four after the next event Rich said.
"We are a Division 5 team, moving into the 4th after our next event, hopefully. You earn points during the year, and so many points for placing in an event. After so many points you have to move up due to the point system for the American Paintball Association," Rich said.
The next event for the Modesto Mayhem will be on Sept. 7 in Las Vegas, Nev.
"We are just excited about the event and getting paintballing out there. We try to get as many people involved of all ages from 8 and older. People can play for fun and there are various types of tournaments and events."