Category Archives: Seattle Thunder

Pro Paintball Interview: Nico Perry, Seattle Thunder

Michael Borenstein recently sat down with PRO paintball player Nico Perry of Seattle Thunder. Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a young player competing at the professional level, how he is able to balance his paintball life with school, reflect on Galveston, and how Thunder is preparing for Phoenix.

Thanks to Raw Fotos and Bjorn Bainto for photographs.

Michael B @ ProPB: Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself – who you play for and have played for and how you got to where you are now.

Nico Perry: Right now i play for Seattle Thunder. Before this I played on Tacoma Notorious and before that Part-Time Ninjas. Hard work and determination got me to where I am skill wise, but without the support of my teams that I have been on and my parents, I couldn’t have been at the level I am now. I owe it all to the people who helped and supported me.

Michael B @ ProPB: Very true, support is key. Being so young, how do you balance your school work with now playing paintball at the pro level?

Paintball player Nico Perry locking it down

Paintball player Nico Perry locking it down

Nico Perry: Ha ha, the school topic. I knew this was coming. In my family, school is very important. Playing paintball nationally and having to miss school Thursday-Monday a few times a year sometimes takes a toll on my school work. I just have to be on top of it. That might mean taking a test a few days before I fly out, or doing homework in the hotel room. Even though I’d like to, I’m not going to make a living playing paintball anytime soon, so school work has to take precedence over paintball.

Michael B @ ProPB: As a first year pro in the PSP, did you find it intimidating to be going up against long-time veteran teams such as Dynasty and Ironmen?

Nico Perry: Yeah, to be honest, I was a little scared going into those two games. You never really want to count yourself out, but against teams like that that have great coaches and players alike, I was unsure if we were ready or not. But after that first game against aftershock and having my boys behind me, the fear left me when those games came around.

Michael B @ ProPB: What are both you and the team doing in order to be prepared for the Phoenix event in only a month?

Nico Perry: Well, since the pros weren’t able to finish the tournament, we have to prepare for two events: Galveston and Phoenix. I have been stepping up my workout regime, doing cardio and working on my core. Besides our regular team practices, I plan to also work on my own gun skills. In this unique situation of having two layouts in one weekend, it will be a challenge for all the teams to be prepared equally for both tournaments.

Nico Perry playing paintball with Notorious

Nico Perry playing paintball with Notorious

Michael B @ ProPB: Were you disappointed at first to be told your team wouldn’t be able to finish Galveston for more than a month?

Nico Perry: As I was standing in a 6-inch puddle of water getting rained on and having fire ants biting me, I guess you could say I wasn’t that disappointed, haha. Having this extra time just gives us the chance to go over what went wrong in the Dynasty and Ironmen games and be that much stronger come Phoenix.

Michael B @ ProPB: Yeah that is nice to have time to review and come back with new outlooks. Any shout outs you’d like to make?

Nico Perry: Of course! I thought you’d never ask. I want to thank all our sponsors: Empire Paintball, DLX, Understood, Diamond Hill Paintball, Ninja, Raza, Exalt, and Pro Paintball. I also want to thank Corey Field and the rest of the boys on Thunder for giving me such an awesome opportunity. Big thanks to my family, especially my dad, who has been with me throughout all of it.

Michael B @ ProPB: And just to remind us, how old are you again?

Nico Perry: 15, turning 16 in april.

Michael B @ ProPB: Well Nico that wraps up my questions… thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us and good luck in Phoenix!

Nico Perry of Pro paintball team Seattle Thunder

Nico Perry: Anytime, thanks!

Paintball Industry Spotlight – Audrey Whiddon

Ed Note: For the sake of transparency, ProPaintball Writer JJ Roth co-owns and plays for pro team Seattle Thunder. Audrey Whiddon, owner of Diamond Hill Paintball Park is a co-owner of Thunder. While the two have a relationship, we felt that a shout out to Audrey and her work was worthy of mention. ProPaintball received no financial compensation for publishing this article.

Paintball Industry Spotlight – Audrey Whiddon

There’s a few people in paintball that really stand out as being exceptional individuals, and having nothing but a good impact on the future of the sport. Even though she doesn’t actually play, I really felt like I owed it to Audrey Whiddon, owner of both Diamond Hill Paintball in Harrisburg, Oregon and the Seattle Thunder Pro NPPL franchise to shed some light on how she has impacted paintball in the Pacific Northwest region. Her field, has grown from a dusty dream into the premiere tournament field in Oregon. With the addition of a rec field that is expanding all the time and future plans for another tournament field, DHP has something for everyone. Every weekend you’ll find a mix of beginner, 3man, 5man, pump and divisional teams mixing it up as well as getting time to play against the Shameless, Uprising and Thunder guys. Audrey makes it a point of ensuring that every player that visits her field feels welcome, has a fantastic time, and gets to really experience the rush that tournament paintball brings with it. Her mandate to the Thunder players is to be accessible and help the newer developing players whenever possible. You’ll often see Thunder players mixed in with walk-on’s and the ‘no attitude’ aura that she brings to the park is one that makes everyone who visits DHP come back for more.

JJ @ ProPB: How did you get involved in paintball?

Audrey: I got involved in the typical way.  My son Josh went to a birthday party at our local indoor field.  The rest is a 6 year long adventure.  He went from a recreational player to a tournament player within 6 months.  He and I were lucky enough to have several mentors over the years that helped him progress to his current D1 status.  I would like to thank Eddie Molter, Brian Hafdahl, Corey and Kasey Field for their support of both Josh and I. I started with organizing a team called Fearless.  We played local and national events from 2007 to 2009.  When that team disbanded Corey Field and Raymond Knuth asked me to manage Naughty Dog Silver (D1) in 2010.  They handed me some very good players and we took the team to NPPL series Champions that year. After the 2010 season I left the Naughty Dogs to start a field of my own.  In January of 2011 I met Dan Mills.  He owns Harrisburg Motorsports Complex.  He felt paintball was a good fit for his park and Diamond Hill Paintball was born.  I named it after the I5 exit you take to get to the park. JJ Roth and I started Seattle Thunder when I was notified that I had won a Pro spot by having managed the team that became series champs.  We then conned Corey Field in to becoming our team captain.  This is an adventure that has just begun! I have never played paintball but I have fallen in love with the sport and the people who are part of it.  You all are the best!

JJ @ ProPB: What are your goals for next year in regards to Diamond Hill Paintball?

Audrey: Goals for next year…..I want to create a paintball park that anyone can come and have fun.  I know that is a bit cliche but true none the less.  To grow, paintball needs to get the young and their families involved.  I want my park to become a fun destination for everyone. Having said that, I can tell you that I want to build a bigger recball field and put in a second speedball field.  I hope to be part of organizing reffing clinics, Pro drill clinics and hosting several tournaments.

To give you an example…We put together a Zombie Maze for Halloween.  It was a huge success.  There were a lot of people who have never played paintball who came out to try something different for the holiday.  They have already started to come to the field with birthday parties and more.  The smiles on their faces and the glow in their eyes are why I keep doing this!

JJ @ ProPB: What are your goals for next year in regards to Seattle Thunder?

Audrey: My goal for Seattle Thunder is to work towards shining as a team.  Winning is not the only thing that makes a team shine.  A team shines when everyone sees them as, not just as winners but also as stewards of the game.  That means some off field time for fundraisers,  running clinics for kids and promoting paintball outside of national events. Seattle Thunder will be part of helping Northwest paintball grow.  Oh and of course we will be on the road to win a trophy as well!

JJ @ ProPB: What tournaments/events do you have planned for Diamond Hill Paintball in the upcoming season?

Audrey: DHP will be running two NPPL 7 man feeder events.  One will be before HB and the other will be before Vegas.  I will be setting up some clinics for beginners as well as some advanced clinics for those upper level players.  I will be working with several others to start a Reffing pool for the northwest. WCPS (West Coast Paintball Series) has already advised me that I will be a field they will be using to run their series.  I also have been asked by Dan Bonebreak to assist him with organizing the Oregon State Fair event in August.  Everyone has asked for a Streetball event.  Whew that is just the start!

JJ @ ProPB: What do you see the future is holding for tournament paintball in the northwest?

Audrey: Tournament paintball in the northwest has been on the decline over the last 4 years.  There are fewer fields open than ever before.  On the up side, I have also seen a growth in new kids wanting to come in to the speedball end of the sport.  I have also never seen the level cooperation between field owners this high.  I have had the privilege of working with Royal Ridges, Impact Action (closed for the moment) and Warpaint International (their out door field is also closed for the moment).  We all see the need and are working together to grow the sport. This is why it is critical for teams such as Seattle Thunder to get their name out to the public.  We need to be a recognized sport by everyone. That will pave the way for more fields to be allowed to open.

JJ @ ProPB: Who do you see as up and coming teams from the northwest?

Audrey: Now that is a tough question.  There are quite a few good teams.  N.W. Devastation (D4-Royal Ridges), Notorious (D3-OP-Seattle), Shameless (D1-DHP), Infected (D2-DHP), APC (pump-DHP), Crossfire (D4-Impact action) and many more.  If I had to pick a team to highlight this year I would have to say Shameless.  They are a team that have been around for many years and have made it to D1 pretty much on their own.  They were just starting their D1 ranking when, in 2010 several members were picked to play on the ND Silver team.  When Silver disbanded in at the end of the 2010 season, Shameless re-formed to play D1.  They have split their time between Royal Ridges (where they have been coaching NW Devastation) and DHP where they have been working with Seattle Thunder.  The guys on this team are a very dedicated bunch and deserve to acknowledged for it.

JJ @ ProPB: Any acknowledgments you would like to make?

Audrey: Lets start with the staff at the NPPL.  They have worked with me on several issues and have been very supportive for a first time Pro team owner.  You guys rock! JJ Roth and Corey Field.  Thanks you two for your friendship and your help with Seattle Thunder.  We will make this a great team together.
BW Dunn (Pro Caps),  thank you for your support this last year.  You are one of the few people who saw the potential for DHP and helped make it happen.
To Eddie Molter, a big thanks for the long hours getting the field up and running.  We would still be at our first ghetto spot if it weren’t for you and the rest of the staff at DHP. Lastly to my family, thanks.  Starting a new business can be hazardous on relationships.  You guys have jumped in and helped when you can and I appreciate it!

Pro Paintball News and Rumor Report

The official start to the 2011/2012 off season is upon us. Read on for the latest pro paintball news and gossip from the Russian Legion, Seattle Thunder and the New England Hurricanes.

Professional paintball players battling it out

  • Pro Paintball insiders report a shake up is taking place within the Russian Legion. Sources suggest that the team will be returning to an all Russian roster for 2012. In addition, sources indicate that the Russian Legion and Konstantin Federov will be parting ways.
  • Justin Rabackoff (Russian Legion) is said to be in talks with a number of high profile pro paintball teams. With the Russians releasing non-Russian players, sources suggest Tampa Bay Damage, Chicago Aftershock, Edmonton Impact and San Diego Dynasty are possibilities. Update: Dynasty has confirmed they have a full roster.
  • Billy Bernacchia and the New England Hurricanes have parted ways. ProPaintball insiders suggest Hurricane player Keith Devitt and Alfred De Los Santos may also be on the move. After playing pro 7-man on St. Louis Avalanche, it is said that the three became good friends and may attempt to stick together for 2012.
  • Seattle Thunder is rumored to have picked up several former Naughty Dog players for the 2012 season. ProPaintball insiders report that Mapp Chim, Raymond Knuth and Mikey Lew are all suiting up and getting back on the grind. According to sources, Mapp filled in for an injured Thunder player at the 2011 NPPL Las Vegas event and the team was very impressed with his performance.
  • Chris “LC” Wilson and Seattle Thunder are said to be going their separate ways. Prior to Thunder, LC played with Oakland BLAST and Portland Naughty Dogs.

These rumors are just the tip of the iceburg. There are tons of moves being made and its hard to keep up.

What rumors have you heard? Share your tips in the comments below!

Seattle Thunder to shoot Alien Paintball guns

The following news article was written by JJ Roth of the newly formed pro paintball team Seattle Thunder.

Seattle Thunder to shoot Alien Paintball guns

After being invited to play in the NPPL Pro ranks in 2011, our team – Seattle Thunder – has gone over it’s many options for this coming season. The most important item on the table for us was the gun that we were going to shoot. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t just get a decent gun, but a gun that would help us win. We talked with Jack from Alien Paintball. We also talked with other teams that have used Aliens, including members of XSV and Team Prime, but we hadn’t signed yet as some of the players had not shot the new 2011 Alien independence. We got our hands on one for this weekend’s practice. Shot money! No kick whatsoever. Straight as an arrow. Whether it was a single shot or a full stream, this gun shot ball on ball. Great on air right out of the box. We shot very brittle DXS Gold in 45degree Oregon weather and not ONE ball break all day long.

After this weekends practice the entire team agreed that they wanted to shoot the Independence guns. We look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship between Seattle Thunder and Alien Paintball!

A quick review of the 2011 Alien Independence by our team captain, Corey Field.

“There are only a few Guns that shot really well and fast out of the Box without adjustments.. Dye NT, Bob Long Victory, and now the Alien.
Gun shot really well right out of the box. Actually ripped. Chrono’d around 265 out of the box, so just needed a little adjustment there.
What Myself and some others like about the gun is the low profile it has. How amazing the gun is with brittle, old paint, and the air consumption will be perfect for the back-liners in any program you play.
Accuracy.. One shot, or a stream this gun was dead on. We did a few 3 on 5 drills and I was on target with my lane lock-downs.
Jack.. You make a well rounded gun. It totally blew me away. I honestly will say I was not expecting much out of the box. I was proven wrong!!!!”

First picture is Corey Field. Second picture is Scotty Knight.