Maple Ridge’s Dylan Keller is off to Las Vegas, but he’ll be at the speedball field, not the blackjack table.
Keller and his team, Elevation Paintball, will be competing against the best paintball players in the world this weekend at the National Professional Paintball League’s World Paintball Championships at the Riviera Hotel.
Keller’s team competes in the Vancouver Paintball league and has landed on the podium in every tournament they’ve competed in so far, and are hoping to continue that streak in Las Vegas, where there will be cash prizes for the top teams competing.
Keller, who graduated from Thomas Haney Secondary School this past June, started playing paintball in Maple Ridge a year and a half ago, and was first introduced to speedball at Ambush Paintball in Surrey last year.
Speedball is a competitive paintball variant played between two teams of five to seven players face off on a turf or grass field dotted with air-filled bunkers. The two teams must make their way to the centre of the field to capture the flag and return it to their end of the field, without getting shot.
“The paintball has to break and leave a mark bigger than a dime,” said Keller.
Games can last anywhere from 20 seconds to seven minutes.
“I love the adrenaline rush of speedball,” Keller said. “You shoot and yell a lot more than you do in woods paintball.”
Intimidation is part of the game plan. Aggressive tactics include rushing the opposing team to keep them hemmed in their end with an endless barrage of paintballs.
In a typical game, Keller said he can shoot anywhere from 150 to 1,000 paintballs.
Getting hit doesn’t hurt too bad, he said, thanks to the adrenalin rushing through your system as you play.
“It stings a little, but that’s about it,” said Keller.
• The NPPL World Paintball Championships take place Oct. 5 to 7 in Las Vegas. For more information about speedball, visit www.vancouverpaintballleague.com