Saturday, October 24, 2009

2009 USPL Las Vegas Wrap Up

Wow - What a trip!!! We will break it down day by day. But first - we put a ton of pictures and videos on the blog so please scroll down to see them all including the older posts link. Second - the pictures above. My new all time favorite pic is of Sawyer between games on Sunday in the Quarterfinals. (In the posts below there is a video of this moment and I have written about it.) The 2nd pic is one Sawyer loves of Dad - dead tired having chinese with a few of the guys. Todd thinks he is funny and Matty just wanted to eat the noodles while Nicky is asleep too, just out of the range of the camera a few seats over. The 3rd pic is of the team on Saturday celebrating at Dennys and their making it to play on Sunday. The 4th pic is of Sawyer getting some shut eye on the way home from Las Vegas on Sunday night with the help of his Nicky Cuba NuSkool bandana. The 5th pic is of Sawyer in Baker at the World's Tallest Thermometer.

Wednesday: Sawyer gets picked up from school to head for Vegas, but first a quick stop at Dad's house to shave the sides of his head down a bit to make the mohawk look bigger. Then it was on the road. Since Sawyer was missing Thursday and Friday at school we spent the first part of the drive doing school work that we had gotten from his teachers (scroll down for a pic). Then he switched to playing with the Ipod and studying the field layout sheets we brought along (pic). Our first stop was for gas and a city park in Barstow. There we got to check out some mining equipment, old train cars and a tank (pic). Then it was on to the Barstow McDonalds (The coolest McDonalds ever according to Sawyer). Back on the road - next stop - Baker and the famous World's Tallest Thermometer (pic). A quick stop and back on the road. We got out to straddle Stateline (pic) before finishing the trip into Las Vegas.

Thursday: We set up Nicky Cuba's NuSkool booth (pic) and the Max'd Kidz palyer tent, registered the team to play the event - d4 5 man - then did a lot of walking the fields (pic) and meeting some of our friends (Thomas, the Explicit crew, etc). Sawyer and his brothers went to Excaliber Casino that night to see the "Medieval Times" type show.

Friday: Our games did not start until nearly 5 pm so we got to the fields around noon and hung out. Sawyer and the team and his brothers spent a good deal of the time playing in the Kingman Training Tent (pic). Sawyer also went up to the VIP area and hung out with Thomas in the commentary booth for the first day of the pro games. Nicky and Mike Paxson used the Max'd Kidz player tent to stage (pic) but the teams they were guesting on needed a whole lot more help. As we got closer to game time the temp started to cool down some which was great but Sawyer also began to get more and more nervous. Finally an hour before the games we moved into the pits. The team as a whole seemed a little quiet taking the field for the first game against the Boston Reapers. (Remember, this is a team with players who are 10, 14, 14, 16, 21 and 28 who had practiced together twice and only been a team for 3 weeks playing in a National event). Boston rolled us keeping all 5 players alive. Not a great start. Nicky had a good talk with the team before the next game against Cal State Northridge. We lost that one as well to fall to 0-2 - but we should have could have won it. Kyle's gun went down after only 1 pull of the trigger on the breakout. We played them hard and eventually there was one of their guys left - vs Kyle - who had been working like mad on his gun to get it too work the whole game. Of course he lost the 1-1 and got bunkered so we lost - but if we had him in - man it would have been our game. Nicky made a lineup change for game 3 and it worked wonders against LA Suicide Blue. Max'd Kidz went out hard and fast and won the game, keeping 4 guys alive. The last game of the day was against a team from Spain and they killed the Kidz keeping all 5 alive. So after Friday we were 1-3 and making it to Sunday looked pretty much impossible at the time. We played half of the games in sunlight and half under the lights as it got dark. The webcast even caught some of the games since we were playing on center court, which was really cool. Not cool though is packing up in the pits in the dark. A big shout out to Richard Guidry from the Chicago Legend pro team for hanging out and helping the Kidz in the pits tonight.

Saturday: Late games again today so everyone got to the field about Noon again to chill and hang out in the afternoon. Since we were 1-3 Nicky and I talked to the Kidz about just having fun. We stressed it was a National tourney, they were a new team, they were a young team - and getting a win was even an accomplishment. We wanted to make sure on Saturday they just went out and had fun playing. Then it happened. We started to win. The first game of the night showed the Max'd Kidz had put all the fears and nervousness aside and just wanted to play hard and have fun. And man they played HARD. AND THEY HAD FUN. AND THEY WON their first game against one of the two Tropix teams from Hawaii. The their second game was against Suckerpunch from Las Vegas - who went on to play in the Finals on Sunday and take 2nd place in the tournament (so they were good). But the Kidz had a swagger to them. They were confident and pumped. They went out and rolled Suckerpunch too, keeping 4 guys alive and make the team 3-3. Everyone played great, but since this is really our blog - I want to brag about Sawyer for a second. The first game on Friday he was a little like a dear in headlights. Stayed back center and only got off a few shots and never shot his lane. As Friday progressed he got better. BUT SATURDAY was proud Dad moment. He was moving all over the field, bumping up, calling out their player locations. Shooting like a mad man. In the game against Suckerpunch he even pushed all the way into the snake behind James and got a G snap shooting - then got another kill by default as the ref called a 1 for 1 on the player he hit for "playing on" - so both their snakes side players gone - GAME OVER. The 3rd and 4th games were a little ugly against the other team from Hawaii and a team from Montana - 406's Finest - who went on to win the tourney on Sunday. Get this - thru the first 8 games of the prelims to get into the Quarterfinals they (406's) not only went 8-0 but only had 2 guys shot out - TOTAL. Do you know how sick that is? But guess what - packing up the pits in the dark again - Dad did some quick math - and point calcs - by the way we were playing center flag rules and points - AND IT LOOKED LIKE WE WERE GOING TO GRAB THE LAST SPOT IN SUNDAY'S QUARTERFINALS!!! So we went to Dennys as a team to celebrate. And later that night got the "official" email that we had made it and would be playing Sunday at 11 am against the #1 seed - 406's Finest. But that didn't matter. We had done better than we thought we would/could and we were playing on SUNDAY. Time for bed. Had to be in the pits Sunday at 9:30.

Sunday: Everyone was on time except for Larry and Kevin who we all love to call slow and slower. (They argue over who is slower). But they were not too late. The pits were FULL so we "borrowed" a table from somewhere else and set up a space very tight and close to the Eclipse gun tech tent. Suckerpunch was great and shifted over a bit to give us more room. The Kidz were a bit nervous again but were doing their best at keeping it light. Game 1 against 406 - we lost - BUT we got 2 G's which equaled how many they lost all tourney up to that point. We played a little bit different strategy that game and adjusted it a bit more for Game 2. In between games 1 and 2 I got the killer pic of Sawyer that is at the top of this post and filmed him pumping himself up - a memory I will never ever forget. So, Game 2. We took them down to the wire leaving only 35 seconds on the clock. We got 2 more G's. Sawyer got 1 on the left tape. But we lost Game 2. Sawyer and James battled 4-2 then 3-2 for nearly 3 minutes but couldn't pull it off. What was really cool for me to see was Sawyer being so aggressive and instictive. He had strict instructions that our game plan had him staying back center - not bumping up - and laying down a ton of paint. But when we lost our mid center player and other right side player and our back left player - Sawyer moved on his own - knowing he had to spread the field from his center position since James was in the Carwash on the right snakeside of the field. So he ran left and slid into the back Dorito - making it there alive. He popped up and started gun fighting with two players trying to come up the tape on that side of the field. AND THEN HE GOT HIS G - AND THE CROWD OF PROBABLY 250 WENT NUTS LIKE IT WAS THE SUPERBOWL - him and James did die a minute and a half later at almost the same time. So we lost - but the Kidz came off the field FIRED UP. Sure they lost - but they played their hearts out and did some damage. It was awesome. They were not bumming but celebrating their play considering all the factors and how against the odds it was. That was when the Kidz picked up another sponsor. Gio came over and said he liked the way they played, liked their attitudes and that the team was going to be able to practice at Hollywood Sports and SC Village and we would get a bit of help with paint costs as well. HOLY CRAP. Bear's dad, Gio, ROCKS. This is one of the things we really really needed as a team considering most of the team can't have a job yet. We hung out for the rest of the day and watched Dynasty win the Pros, Dynasty Entourage win D1 and 406's win D4 before we started packing up the tent to head home - after another Dennys stop of course. At Dennys Sawyer went tearing out on to the Strip when he saw Oliver, Alex F, Ryan G, JRab and a slew of other players walking by to walk the Strip. It was his final goodbye on the trip. We hit the road soon after and Sawyer was asleep by Stateline. Dad made several boring stops on the way home for coffee and redbull but Sawyer slept thru them all - LUCKY GUY!

A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Nicky Cuba for all his help. Nicky and I talked about how great the team did over the next few days. They all improved so much individually and as a team in so many ways. We also both agreed that James was the team MVP for the event in our minds. Although we never told him, we thought him reading it here on the blog would be a nice touch.
A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Gio and Hollywood Sports and SC Village for all the help they are about to provide for us for the rest of this year and the 2010 season. In 2010 we plan to play in the USPL, The RPL, The Bear's Cup and a few local field tourneys as well.
Thank you to all who read this and your continued support.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Professional Pics taken by

Love the first one - look at the eyes. Popping out of the dorito. Sawyer and Kyle before a game. Nicky getting them fired up before the game. Sawyer putting on his NuSkool head gear.

More Pro Pics

Before a breakout and a few playing pics of Sawyer.

More Pro Pics

Kyle on the breakout. Larry on the breakout. Kyle gunfighting.

More Pro Pics

Chris gunfighting, Kyle bumping, Max'd Kidz cruising and breaking out, Kyle sliding in

More Pro Pics

Random pics of Max'd Kidz

More Pro Pics

Checkout the cool photography under the lights of the first four and Kevin on a breakout.

More Pro Pics

James controlling the snake, Chris and Sawyer in the pits

Pro Pics

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Press Release for Max'd Kidz after USPL Las Vegas

October 21, 2009

Laguna Hills, CA

Max'd Kidz is pleased to announce a new sponsor after reaching the 5 man Division 4 Quarterfinals at the US Paintball League World Championships in Las Vegas, NV. The event was held October 16-18 on the strip at the Riviera Hotel and Casino.

Hollywood Sports Paintball Park ( has signed on to support Max'd Kidz for the 2010 season. Max'd Kidz will also have use of SC Village through the sponsorship.

Max'd Kidz was the youngest team in the competition in Las Vegas and created quite a stir with their coach, professional paintball player Nicky Cuba. Featuring the youngest player to suit up at a National Event in recent memory (Sawyer Smith at 10 years old) the team surprised everyone by making it out of the prelims on Friday and Saturday and into the Quarterfinals on Sunday.

Max'd Kidz roster includes 4 players under 16 years old.

"We are really happy to have Hollywood Sports as a sponsor," said Smith. "Now we have a place to practice and get better. We are going to be even better next year."

Max'd Kidz plans to play in all 4 USPL events in the 2010 season as well as the RPL, Bear's Cup and a few other local tournaments.

"It was great of (Hollywood Sports) to recognize the kids," said Cuba. "I see a lot of talent there and want to help cultivate it. I really enjoy coaching them. With the added support now there is no limit to what these kids can do."

The team was formed only a few weeks before the tournament and practiced together only three times. They plan on staying together for the upcoming season. Cuba ( offered to coach the team as a way to expose younger players to the tournament scene. "This is a great opportunity to get younger players more involved in our sport,” said Cuba. “Most tournaments at the National level only feature more established teams and players, but venues like Las Vegas are a perfect place for players, both young and old, to get their feet wet in the tournament scene.”

Max'd Kidz will start their 2010 season on January 16th at a tournament in Lemore located in Central California.

Videos from USPL Las Vegas - Getting ready in pits for Game 1 - Game 2 prep in the pits - More Game 2 prep in the pits - James gives a shout out before the 2 minute warning and i randomly catch Sawyer getting himself pumped up. Later I find out he was saying "I can do it" over and over to himself. And he played a great last game. - In the chrono tent - A video of the team after the last game of the Quarterfinals - really great attitudes all around after a loss,


Hugs from Dad after getting bumped from the quarterfinals - not because he's sad - but because he played so well. Other shots of the team waiting to play and a breakout. The last one is Dad on the field getting the team fired up on Sunday.


Waiting to take the field, getting a pep talk from Dad, hanging with Nicky, Breakouts