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If you follow the major tournament events, what are the first tournaments that come to mind? Sky Dome, Boston Cup, The Masters and the Amateur Nationals, considered by most to be the big four of the year. The thing that strikes me as odd, is the fact, that grouped in there, with all the other tournaments that the pro's attend, there is that one tournament that only allows amateurs, the International Amateur Open otherwise known as the Amateur Nationals.
What makes this event so wonderful that it is usually ranked up there with the tournaments that the pro's play in? I mean there are no pro teams there, no Iron Men, no Lockout, no Aftershock, there aren't even any semi-pro teams there, so what could possibly be the draw to such an event? I contacted Team Effort Events, the promoters of the Amateur Nationals, and was granted an interview with Debra Dion Krischke, the mastermind behind this event. She had some very interesting views:
Splatter: How long has Team
Effort Events been in existence?
Debra: This will be our tenth anniversary. We started as a subsidiary of Three Rivers Paintball, which is one of the oldest playing sites here in the United States. Three Rivers is also located here in Pittsburgh.
Splatter: What was the first
event that Team Efforts promoted?
Debra: It was called the California Magnum Amateur Open and was sponsored by California Magnum Paint. The quality of the paint was so poor that we felt we could not move forward with them, so the second year we aligned with Zap and its been a great marriage ever since.
Splatter: How did the whole
theory of the Amateur Nationals come about?
Debra: I was the tournament and public relations director for National Survival Games back in 1983. I scheduled regional tournaments leading all the way through the national tournaments from 1983 through 1987, then I took a couple of years off. I kept an eye on the tournament scene and started to notice that it was all geared towards the professional teams. I started viewing it as a triangle with the professional teams at the top and all the recreational players were at the bottom. I said look at the bottom of this pyramid, it is huge, all of these players and no where to compete or to see a trade show. At that time I probably had more experience running a national event than anyone else in the business so my husband and myself sat down and brainstormed it out. He was all for my returning to the sport.
That first year was like reinventing the wheel, a national amateur event had never been done. A lot of promoters were leery but I was convinced of the legitimacy of the idea so we kept moving forward with it.
After that first year it was "Hail the great success!" but it was nothing in comparison to what it is today. It just keeps growing, every year we just keep adding something. The use of a five-day format helped us out allot, we were just trying to put too much into four days. I keep trying to meet the demands of the players as well as the vendors and sponsors, the event must work for everyone, they are all important. I think that with that goal in mind, that is why we have been so successful.
Splatter: Is Team Effort
Events promoting any other major events this year?
Debra: Yes, this year we will be running the Spyder Cup 2000. Kingman will be giving away five Ford Mustangs to the first place team. All teams must use a Spyder of one form or another. It will be held on Memorial Day weekend and will be held at the same location as the Amateur Nationals. It is going to be great!
We will be doing the preliminary rounds on Saturday and even if a team is blown out, we will be having a big game all day on Sunday that they can play in. The finals will be completed by noon on Sunday at which time there will be a free cook out for everyone and an awards presentation. Also at high noon we will have a celebrity game of three on three between some of the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the end of the game they will donate $10,000 to the local children's hospital. Its going to be a great weekend of paintball, you're not going to want to miss it.
Splatter: I've noticed a
European Amateur National event being advertised lately, is Team Effort
Events affiliated with that?
Debra: No, but it is certainly time for a major amateur event to be held in Europe.
Splatter: Who is eligible
to play in the Amateur Nationals.
Debra: Well as it stands now, you may not have appeared on a pro roster within the last two years, nor are you allowed to be considered a semi-pro. There is new criteria coming out on the national level that will be used for classification of teams and how they are ranked for all tournaments. This will make the ranking of teams a lot easier.
Splatter: What do we have
to look forward to this year?
Debra: This year we are going to have a new rookie division. I am looking forward to that, it should be interesting. We are going to give the absolute rookie teams a place to come play similar teams and experience the trade show. The trade show is the largest show in the world and it's a fabulous place for people to see what's happening in the industry. We also purchased ten additional acres across from our main entrance that we are going to use for parking. That should elevate the parking problem that we experienced last year.
Splatter: Who will be refereeing
the games this year?
Debra: We already have commitments from LOCKOUT, BAD COMPANY, OBR, SONIC RAGE, and the GREEN DRAGONS, really some excellent teams. We've brought in some of the pro teams and with them comes good judging, their attitudes have been right and they're a good asset to the event. I'm just thrilled that they want to come back this year.
Splatter: How many fields
are you going to be using?
Debra: We are planning on running ten fields this year, but we have the capacity to expand that if it is necessary.
Splatter: How many games
should a team expect to play?
Debra: Well, there are eight teams per division