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- September 8
- Billings area, Montana
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Topics I've Started
31 May 2013 - 01:19 AMJust got in the Resurrection Autococker and did a video. You'll see I had an issue out of the box with the safety being stuck, but it's all fixed. Also, a size comparison with my Black Magic 'cocker.
29 May 2013 - 03:27 PMThis is a video I made from a clinic held last weekend in Great Falls, Montana. Special thanks to Nate Schroeder for holding the clinic.
17 March 2013 - 07:55 PMSo I'm doing a small rant on my struggle for the past few years. Mainly I just got screwed again and want to let the interwebs know. You also get to learn of stupid/costly things I've done.
First off, here is the paintball situation in my area. It's almost non existent because of a lack of organization. When I first started my quest about 5 years ago there was one poorly run field. The place was never taken care of and the customers were not cared for. Needless to say, the owner of that field turned a lot of people away from his field because of the terrible playing conditions. I remember, towards the end of the field's operation, several of us would show up three hours before opening to try and repair the air bunkers best we could before opening. We would then grab lunch and play. Even with our work, we could play two games back to back before having to re-inflate half the field. This continued for several months before we said "fuck it." and quit the place. I'm still amazed that with everything Montana players go through 406's Finest just took 1st in Dallas for D3 race to 2. Anyways, that place closed and I don't see him trying to open back up anytime soon.
There are still a lot of people who want to play in this area, but because of no real organization to bring them together, it doesn't happen.
I have been successful in opening, but not being able to keep open two fields so far. The first was an outdoor field that I was very stupid with. I had inherited some land near Billings (where I live) and decided to open a field there. What I learned is that people weren't willing to drive that far out of town to play paintball. It was a valuable lesson in understanding my market. So I closed down so I could quit spending way to much money to keep in operating.
After this I had the epiphany that a professionally run indoor paintball field could do well here. Billings is a small city that lacks recreation, and just fun things to do, especially at night and during the winter. So began my quest to open an indoor field.
At this point it is 2010. The first place I go to was promising. Just barely outside of town and just off the interstate and directly in the pathway of city growth. Also, directly next to a planned interchange. I was going to lease the property. After dealing with the owners for about 3 months of the realtor and owners hardly responding to me, I finally got a lease in front of me. Let's just say it was terrible. An absolute "screw you" in legal terms. So I moved on.
I then found a building in a town next to the City of Billings. It was bigger than I was expecting. The owner didn't want much for rent. He was already in the process of making improvements to the HVAC systems and doing new bathrooms. This was great. Then, three days before signing the lease, another business came to the owner, offered him more money and a 5 year longer lease. I didn't think I could compete with their offer, so they got the building instead.
I don't know how many building owners and realtors I talked to after that. But the general summary is that people don't want a paintball field in their building, or owners want the same $/psf as a nice retail location regardless that they have a warehouse and not a retail store front. But then, in January 2011, I found a place that wanted a sensible rent price and open to a paintball field. It was also on the outskirts of downtown Billings.
This is where I learned my lesson about the Building Official of the City of Billings. To quote him, "I am not in the business of community development." I had received a temporary business license from the city and was never informed that there may be any major complications from the city (I'm obviously being brief here). After spending about $20,000, signed a lease, etc. I was told I could not continue until I fixed several issues with the building. Most were easily do-able and not a problem except for energy efficiency. It was determined that I needed have my building meet current day building code. Most buildings in this part of town were built during WWII and nowhere near meet current energy code. Because of the building's construction I would have had to spend an estimated $120,000+ on the building that I was leasing. Needless to say the landlord was nice and let me out of my lease and I tucked my tail and walked away.
What was most painful was I had started advertising by this point and had weekday appointments booked several months out. The phone number for that location is also my current cell phone number and I'm still getting calls on a weekly basis from people asking about hours and appointments. I don't know why they are calling because the website isn't in operation and the FB page says the field is closed.
Now armed with the knowledge of how to meet the city's requirements, I continued my quest.
Around this time the nasty outdoor field finally closed down. This lack of places to play was the final nail in the coffin for the local shop as well. So all at once there was no longer a way to easily reach most people who wanted to paintball.
I quit being as picky and decided I would also look at leasing land nearby to start an outdoor field if the rent would be cheap. In this area there is a lot of horse pasture type land. It's flat, not much there, and really only good for running horses. I found out how few people want to rent their land, especially considering the amount of "For Sale" signs on these properties. Paintballers still hassle me saying "why don't you ask some of these people who have for sale signs everywhere" when I tell them I'm trying to find a place for a field. Then they come back to me in a month and tell me that they didn't think it would be that hard.
Talking with a different realtor I found a property last month. A desperate owner, cheap rent, and in the neighboring town rather than the City of Billings. The owner says he doesn't care what goes in the building as long as it is legal. So I call up the architect I had worked with before and made some appointments with the building official/fire marshal of this town. He was very open to me using this building and because they are trying to fill some of their old buildings he won't worry about the energy efficiency of the building and even makes some concessions in a couple other areas. All was better than expected. So I make my first official lease offer to the owner of the building and I hear nothing. Not only that, the realtor can't get a hold of him. The guy just dropped off the face of the planet. He lives in Hawaii so it's not like we can go knock on his door and ask what's going on.
That was a couple weeks ago and the realtor has suggested we look for another place. I am furious because, not only am I continuing to spend money on this shit, but I got so goddamn close. I'm pretty much at the end here. I have a passion for paintball but it seems like it is wasted in this state. Hell, I'm at the point where I'm thinking of leaving this place even though I really do enjoy the town itself. But I am determined to try and open my own business but there aren't many opportunities for businesses that don't already have a saturated market. Also, I have a storage unit and garage full of a paintball field (rentals, netting, bunkers, fill station, tables, etc.)
11 July 2012 - 04:25 PMThis is a video I made from my limited footage from a woods event a couple weeks ago. This is up in Montana, where paintball is in tough shape, so don't comment on how we don't have hundreds of players.
I will say I hate woods videos, cause it's hard to get much footage that is worth anything (that's why there is gopro video in here as well).
I know I need to work on color correction. I'm still working on learning that to match the footage in very different environments and different cameras. Anything is appreciated.