do you build a team
APG Staff Report
Six years ago, from out of the foothills of Arizona came a new force: the Dynamite Bush Apes. The team's name reflects the early game site, off Dynamite Road, and a slang expression for the team's style of play.
A old Christmas tree farm site, a tournament hosted by Pat Conway, and the dynamite Bush Apes started their competition history. A five-man open class tournament was held on the site, the team felt they were good enough to be competitive, and they gave it a try. They finished third, got a trophy, and a team member was honored as "Most Valuable Player" for the tournament. "We won shirts, a case of paint, and a squeegee that I still use," said team captain Ron "Captain Ape" Christensen. That began the team's efforts to move to higher levels of competition.
Team captain Ron Christensen is 34, and has been playing since 1985. He is a founding member of the team. Ron said, "I would like to develop a roster of 25 solid, honest, dedicated players to travel and play competitive paintball at the highest level."
Mike Wanczyk, age 23, started playing on May 31, 1997. He has been keeping a "paintball logbook" recording each of paintball since day one. At the time of this writing, the total was up to 81. Mike said, "I would like to play in as many different places as possible. I am lucky to have hooked up with the DBA . I met them at a local field my second time ever playing. They invited me out to their next practice and I have been showing up every time since. I guess they figured that since I wouldn't go away, they might as well give me a shirt and let me play. I'd say one of the best parts about being a Bush Ape is when we go to a tournament and other teams we've played before come up and say something like 'Hey, I remember you guys from... you did that crazy rush up the left tape'."
Lupe Ramirez is 30 years old and started playing paintball in 1986. One of the founding members of the Dynamite Bush Apes, he won the WPF Top Gun Tournament at the SC Village Arenas on May 7, 2000. He says that his technical info and style of play is classified.
Ben Ramirez, age 27, has been a player since 1989. He likes to play way up front, like, "three quarters of the way up the field on the break," he said. Ben has five sons and says that making enough money to raise them and play paintball isn't easy. His tip for new players: Spend more money on paint, and less on your paintball gun. Equipment isn't as valuable as experience. His tip for new teams: In five years no one will remember how many tournaments you won, but in five years every guy you ever cheated will remember you.
Ben said, "My favorite part of playing with the Bush Apes is our aggressive style of play. When I hear the call of Apes Five come down the field, I know the push is about to happen. Sometimes it works. In Hawaii, we were able to roll a top ranked team in under three minutes. Sometimes we're the ones who get rolled, but the games are, always fun, and I'm always happy to have played."
Kevin Lane is 25, and a player since August 1999. He said, "I recently played my first tournament ever which was with the DBA and am looking forward to many more. My personal goal is to have fun and go as far as I possibly can in competitive paintball. Playing with the DBA has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had."
John Town is 26 and a player since September 1999. He said, "Playing with the DBA has taught me what hard work on a team is all about. Even though things don't always go your way, it's important to stick it out and practice even harder. Sometime in 2001, I would like to bring home a trophy, as well as recruit two quality new people for the team."
The Dynamite Bush Apes, since May of 1995, have played in over thirty tournaments, and have received a total of ten trophies or awards, including three for sportsmanship. In addition, the team finished fifth overall in the 1999 Great Western Series Amateur division [the GWS is now the PanAm Circuit]. The team has played or reffed tournaments in California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Hawaii. At the NPPL World Cup in Orlando, Florida in 1996, the DBA made friends with team Piratti from Italy and exchanged shirts with them as a souvenir from the trip.
In the future, the Dynamite Bush Apes would like to bring more rookie players to the tournament level. The real fun, says Ron Christensen, comes from seeing new players get into organized, competitive play and do well. Look for them at a tournament near you. Their web site is www.dynamitebushapes.com.
The team's motto and philosophy is: There's no room for cheaters, and no room for not giving it your all.
Although always interested, the DBA currently have no sponsors, and is one of the few 100% independently funded teams in paintball.