Ready, aim, paint: couple works to bring recreation to West Alabama

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 17, 2004

EUTAW-Paintball, more importantly Speedball, has found a home closer to the residents of the area. No more long trips to Columbus, Miss.

Richard Cummings and his wife, Claudia, who have lived in Eutaw for the past four years, will open a new paintball arena in Eutaw called the Greene County Battle Zone Speedball Arena.

“We decided to open this because our son, Kevin, and his friends would always play in the field and woods beside our house,” Cummings said, “Plus there is nothing here in Greene County for the children.”

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Paintball has long been a popular sport in Demopolis and the surrounding counties, but many people think it is a sport just for children and teenagers. That’s not the case, Cummings said. Since the business has been open, the majority of people stopping by have been adults.

“Paintball is one of the fastest growing sports in America, now with over 53 million Americans actively participating in the game,” Cummings said.

The main focus of the business is to provide a joyful experience to the players and to keep them safe. Claudia will be running the daily operations of the field, while Richard works with the Greene County Ambulance Service.

“Parents think that the game of paintball is expensive, but that’s not true,” Cummings said.

He said players could rent equipment from the business for $15 and that allows them to play the entire day and also includes a helmet, chest protector, and a marker (gun). He also said players can bring their own equipment if they choose too, but it will have to pass a complete safety check and they will also be charged $10 for the entire day.

“Everyone that plays has to sign a waiver of liability and will also have to go through a safety class before they step into the arena,” Cummings said.

He said they will only be playing with markers that fire at 275 feet per second and that every shot must be a least 15 feet away from a player. He also said the plastic balls contain paint that when fired out of the marker splat on the opposing player, thus marking them as a ‘kill’.

He said the playing field or the arena is the regulation size of 80 by 155 feet and it also has black safety netting that will stop all paintballs from coming out of the playing field as well as many different places to hide while firing the marker and trying to capture the opposing teams flag.

“The way to win at paintball is easily done in two ways, first you have to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to your side or finally, you can eliminate all the other players by hitting them paint,” Cummings said.

He said they would have on hand extra balls and bottles of co2 for sale as well as refreshments. He also said that with this regulation field they could host tournaments once they get everything ready.

“Our hours of operation are currently Wednesday-Friday 3 p.m. to dusk, Saturday Noon to dusk and Sundays 2 p.m. to dusk, ” Cummings said.

He said people think that the sport of paintball is unsafe, well I have some figures from that say over the past year 0.30 of 1000 participants were injured while playing paintball, while 27.65 of 1000 were injured playing baseball.

“The future looks bright for us,” Cummings said, “We have plans of putting in a putt-putt golf course and batting cages one day.”