Darin Davenport started playing paintball when he was 12 years old. “Playing” might be a bit of a stretch, though — Darin’s family only had one paintball gun at the time, so his older brother would give him a mask and a head start, and then proceed to hunt him in the woods for a preadolescent version of The Most Dangerous Game. Aren’t big brothers the best? This exercise made Darin appreciate the running and cover taking aspects of paintball that are so crucial to the game, and when he finally wrested the gun from his brother’s trigger-happy hands, he learned to love the other parts just as much. That’s why Darin now runs Legacy Paintball, a sprawling ten acre course 30 minutes north of Bismarck.
“I planned Legacy to offer three radically different types of terrain, so our players can engage in a variety of tactics,” explained Darin. “Our course is shaped like a triangle. One corner has a cityscape, complete with scalable buildings and cars to duck behind. Another has a trench system with old crop dusters painted to look like downed German planes, giving it a WWI feel. The third is a jungle guerilla setting with trees and huts.”
This dynamic layout is different than what most other paintball courses offer. Forcing players to adapt to multiple styles of play throughout one session not only makes the experience more realistic, but handicaps those who excel at one style of play but don’t do as well with others. A cover-based specialist may accordingly find himself a big target in open area situations.
“That’s not to say some players can’t dominate in every setting,” said Darin. “The other day we had a great-grandpa come along with his group of four generations. Even though he couldn’t run, he was like the Terminator, calmly annihilating everyone else in the arena. He had done something like that before.”
“I’ve noticed that women are especially vicious at paintball. Maybe they like a good excuse to shoot their husbands.”
My memory of paintball is that it hurts something fierce, especially when you’re hit point-blank by a sadistic friend who’s supposed to be on your team. Darin assured me this is no longer the case. “Back in the 90’s paintballs weren’t regulated, so they’d have thicker shells that would leave bruises. Now they’re a lot more brittle, so they can break on impact just fine without traveling over 300 feet per second. We’re seeing more and more kids enjoying the game thanks to that innovation.”
Legacy has airsoft as well. Whereas paintballs have a relatively shorter range and are thus more appropriate for arcade-style shooting, airsoft pellets travel twice as far, permitting more stealthy, militaristic tactics. “We have a lot of police and veterans come for airsoft, because its style is much more in line with their training,” said Darin. “Watching the experts in action is amazing.”
“I’m the fourth generation in my family to live on this land,” said Darin. “I’ve been blessed to enjoy it all my life. With Legacy, I get to share this beautiful patch of earth with anyone who would like to come. It’s just a bonus that they get to shoot each other while they’re here.”
Legacy Paintball is located at 27550 Hwy 1804 in Baldwin. You can learn more about them at facebook.com/legacyfield, or give them a call at (701) 527-4336 if you would like to plan a game. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, bond with friends, and shoot them.
By David Scheller