In Their Own Words: David Preston
David Preston owns OSG Paintball in Center Barnstead, the largest park in New England and a destination for “ballers” of all skill levels. He’s had folks from as far away as the West Coast come just to play in his field. Bring your own gear, or he’ll sell or rent you anything you might need.
You’ll need a lot of paintballs.
I started out in 1991, at the age of 15, by renting 10 guns out of the back of an old Land Cruiser and shooting up our local woods.
I just kept re-investing and expanding.
I eventually bought the land we are currently on.
The paintballs themselves are made of gelatin and nontoxic, water-soluble dyes. They can sting a little when you are hit.
It feels like the snap of a locker room towel.
We do, however, provide low-impact balls for the younger ones.
We concentrate on the fun.
We have a medieval castle. We have a full-sized pirate ship. We often hire an actual helicopter. Many of our areas are themed toward popular video games and films.
The sport has really grown. There are international leagues and tournaments … professionals with endorsements deals.
Some of those guns can actually cost $3,000 and beyond.
Any hit from head to toe is considered lethal. There is no such thing as a flesh wound.
If tagged, you must exit the game.
Just stay aware. You’ll do fine.
In June of 1981, paintball was invented in Henniker, over cocktails, by three friends; Charles Gaines, Hayes Noel and Bob Gurnsey. They imagined a stalking game that could be played in the woods. One of them suggested employing paint guns (like the one to the left) that were used to tag trees and livestock. The first game was played as “capture the flag” with 12 participants. The winner, a forester named Ritchie White, won without firing a shot by simply creeping through the woods and collecting flags.