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Shooting for a cure in Barnstead

OSG Paintball hosts event to help fight breast cancer

THIS GROUP out of Rochester made special pink shirts to participate in Ballin’ for Breast Cancer at OSG Paintball on Sunday. The group includes (l to r), Erica McNally, Petty McNally, Beth Vacek, Jackie McNally and Sean McGorty. In the inset, the group shows off the back of their shirts, as OSG Paintball owner David Preston peers through the middle. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 14, 2011
BARNSTEAD — Sept. 11 is a day that holds many sad memories for most Americans.

David Preston of Barnstead wanted to turn the day into a positive experience.

Preston, the owner of OSG Paintball, decided to host a charity event on Sunday and donate all the proceeds to the battle against breast cancer.

Thus, Ballin' for Breast Cancer was born and close to 100 people took to the woods and fields of OSG Paintball on Sunday to enjoy a day of paintball fun, all to benefit the fight against breast cancer.

Between games, Preston surveyed the base area and was pleased to see a large crowd of enthusiastic paintball players.

"They all came out to support breast cancer research," Preston said, noting that all the proceeds from the day went to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

"I wanted to take something that's conceived as a negative day and do something positive on that day," Preston said.

However, the solemn occasion of the date did not go unnoticed, as the group of players took a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the exact moment that the first plane hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

While the Ballin' for Breast Cancer event was a new one to the OSG Paintball crowd, charity work is certainly not anything new to the business, which is tucked away deep in the woods of Barnstead.

OSG makes donations every month to arts in education and the last Sunday of every month there is a charity raffle at the business. Additionally, the popular Haunted Woods takes place every October and it is a 100 percent charity event.

It's also been voted as the scariest haunted house in all of New England by some.

The scope of the first Ballin' for Breast Cancer was relatively small, as Preston expected to raise about $1,000 on the day, he has ambitions to make it a bigger day and raise even more money in years to come.

"I can see this being a much bigger thing," he said. "For a lot of charity events you have to run or work, but here you just get to shoot things."

Throughout the day there were a number of different games, ranging from small scenario games to intense jam-packed games throughout the OSG campus.

And as strangers converged on the courses, fighting side-by-side, Preston said the best thing about paintball comes out.

"The most beautiful thing about paintball is you may not know the person next to you, but he's your best friend when people are shooting at you," Preston said.

He notes that a number of corporations come to the course on corporate team-building outings, including one Lakes Region school staff that was planning on being on the course in the coming weeks as a way to build staff morale.

"When you're under fire, it doesn't matter who's sitting next to you," Preston said.

As a huge crowd of competitors moved out onto the Pirate Cove course, which is one of the toughest courses at OSG, Preston explained the object of the game.

At one end of the field is the pirate ship, where one team is located. In front of the pirate ship is a buoy and the job of the other team is to capture that buoy without getting hit.

Between the two teams is a "cove" of sorts, with a lighthouse, docks with boats and other things one might find at a seaside stop. The team trying to capture the buoy gets to use all those things to their advantage as they try to gain ground on the team in the ship.

As players are hit with paint, they raise their gun and walk off the course and eventually the game ties out, with referees stationed throughout the field keeping competitors safe, monitoring the game and keeping the time.

The Pirate Cove, Preston said, is a double diamond, which means it is one of the hardest fields at OSG. Fields are rated like ski area trails.

Preston notes that OSG is considered one of the top paintball locations in the Northeast, with 35 acres of fields, including 25,000 square feet in the castle field alone. He has regulars from as far away as New York and Connecticut that come to play at the course on a regular basis.

As mid-afternoon rolls around, the players stroll in from their games and Preston stands on a counter to conduct the raffle, with all proceeds again going to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. BOLP Paintball in Lee, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Monster Energy Drinks, Empire and Plaistow Army and Navy have all donated prized to be raffled off and excited paintball players go home with everything from t-shirts to a brand new paintball gun.

The players also observe a moment of silence in memory of those who have succumbed to the disease.

But when the raffle is done, the players load up their paint, strap on their masks and head back on the course for another game.

"I'm pretty happy," Preston said as he watches a game unfold. "For a first time event, it went great."

For more information on OSG Paintball, call 1-800-707-PLAY or visit www.osgpaintball.com.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Varney Smith
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