I was previously employed as a structural steel
detailer. I had been with my last company for over 20 years. I prepared shop and field
drawings for the fabrication and erection of structural steel, barjoists, decking, stairs,
handrailing, rock crushing and conveying systems, and about anything consisting of
structural steel shapes. I prepared drawings using ACAD 12 for windows. I no longer work
for SMS, but have my own corporation, Denrig, Inc.
One day Dad was feeling the need to do something with his son Robbie. Maw suggested
that Dad accompany Robbie to paintball. However, this does not sound like a good idea to
"Old Man Riggs" since.... it is hot, plus it doesn't make good sense to run around
for 6 or 7 hours in the palmettos and woods while being shot with paintballs by tattooed
militia type weirdoes and misfits, but Dad agrees to give it a try.
After my son instructed me on the equipment, game play rules and strategies, safety gear,
and described the pain of a 68 caliber ball traveling at 300 feet per second... I realized
he was into this stuff.
When I arrived at the field in Punta Gorda (25 minutes north of here), I was greeted by
the field operator. He was unexpectedly clean-cut, friendly, and enthusiastic. You could
tell he enjoyed the sport and wanted to make sure it was fun and safe for everyone.
I looked around at the others. Surprise..... a bunch of normal-looking men, women,
children dressed in various degrees of camouflage, protective gear, and a wide variety of
There was plenty of coolers with water or kool-aid type drinks. Everything was neat and
We were divided into two teams (blue & red) distinguished by plastic tape ribbons tied
onto our paint hoppers on our guns. The rules of the particular game were explained, and
we were issued 20 rounds of paint. My son took me under his wing.
When the whistle blew, my adrenaline rushed. This was a new feeling. My son had a plan or
method of play that worked well with two or three people. His plan worked and I shot my
first opponent. From then on I was hooked. What fun!
There were a variety of games played. Not just "capture the flag". We played
bomber, downed pilot, the gauntlet, blister ball, and more. In all we played about 8 or 9
games that day. They served hot-dogs for lunch. There was not a bunch of swearing and
cursing. They had a rule that allowed you to take away another players paintball if you
hear him swearing. This was great. The winning team lined up around at the lake and
competed for the trophy.
What a day. The following day I was sore.... every muscle hurt. Great exercise for this
Ever since that day, I have played almost every other week. I have modified my equipment,
purchased new equipment, and became quite accurate with my sniping. I now have
seven trophies. Robbie (as good as he is, and he is good) hasn't brought home the trophy
yet. "Old Man" has even hung the flag to win the game on occasion. See the Old
Man's gun and first trophy.
My older son (Paul) who is in the Navy found out about my interest in this foolishness. I
got him to go with Robbie and me when he was down one day. Robbie and I set him up for his
first hit on the opponent. It also, went as planned. That's all it took to turn Paul into
a paintball enthusiast also. He even carried the flag for a win on his first day. He
couldn't get enough, he went home and had Robbie and I play three-man games in the woods
next to our house.
I have included some links to some paintball related websites.... just in case you too
might be looking for something to do with your teenager. Or maybe, you are looking for
doing something to test your hunting skills against an animal that can think.... and shoot
back...... without an animal giving up its life for your sport. Hunting might be more of a
sport if the animals could shoot back.
Not that I am not a sportsman.... I do like to catch those fish.....especially bass and
Snook. However, I am not into catch and release. I eat those delicious fish. Which brings
me to the next item of play, Fishing.
We live on a canal which leads to the Caloosahatchee River. This provides for some good
fresh water fishing. Snook are my favorite to catch and to eat. There are also large mouth
bass and a few large bluegill. See the Fish Gallery , Old
Man's brag page.
The Extutes were originally a bunch of former U.S. Coast Guard enlisted men (white
hats) who were stationed in Oklahoma City at the FAA center around 1970 thru 1975.
The Extutes also includes chiefs, officers, and their spouses. We
had our 20 year (+) mini-reunion in Branson Missouri (April 1997). Click here
to find out more about the Extutes and see a picture from the
first reunion and from our latest Reunion 2003 in OKC.