For more than 14 years, paint-splattered players have duked it out on the varied terrain of Krossfire Paintball's well-kept outdoor fields. Under the watchful eye of fair-minded referees, participants duck for cover and take aim from behind blue inflatables, stacks of barrels, large wooden spools, and a fort surrounded by fencing. Over in the woods, meanwhile, players huddle in bunkers, plan ambushes from behind standing and downed trees, and crawl through overgrown grasses while avoiding opponents camouflaged as overgrown grasses. After private weekday or open weekend games, guests can update their gear by browsing the latest equipment in Krossfire Paintball's pro-shop, which stocks guns, loaders, goggles, and protective pads.
On Paintball Knights' nine pristine grassy play fields, combatants take cover behind inflatable obstacles and large tin drums while waging good-natured warfare against the opposing team. A referee for every 10 participants keeps things civil and fun by promising to foil cheaters and inaccurate Braveheart reenactments. Between matches, players can hatch master plans in the 50-table gravel staging area or refuel at the snack bar. The staff supplies biodegradable, easy-break paintballs that leave minimal stains and bruises, as well as complimentary lens cleaner and paper towels to scrub away colorful specks from skin, clothing, and monocles.
Lost Paintball hits its targets of safety and fun with the varied terrain of its fields, detailed defensive instructions, and an emphasis on less waiting and more playing. Full rental packages include unlimited time in the great outdoors, a protective facemask, a Spyder Xtra paintball marker and barrel cover, unlimited air refills, and 500 Valka and Draxxus paintballs. Before games commence, all players—whether brand-new to the joy of spattering paint or well-versed in the art of stalking human canvases—receive a thorough safety debriefing. Players battle through four different environments, marking and shooting to their hearts' content. Meanwhile, Lost Paintball's cheerful, paint-covered staff stands by ready to assist with questions, directions, and heated squabbles over whether that deer knowingly crossed into enemy territory.
A wide, dusty expanse lies in the center of rugged woods. Its sandy floor occasionally laps up into wind tunnels as desert breezes roll through. The expanse is dotted with large wooden spools and shrubs. Through the eerie silence, a muffled rustling is heard, and suddenly a masked figure appears, a long marker aimed at an opponent.
Within Austin Paintball's nine distinct fields, paint-slinging commandos encounter strategies and scenarios sprawled across 30 acres of dense woodlands and dusty lots. Units march into the Barrels field, which is haphazardly strewn with stacked, splattered barrels, or onto a new tournament area. The Underground and Iwo Jima, two fields marked by deep trenches that force exhilarating combat, re-create famous battles from history or legendary finger-painting skirmishes from kindergarten.
Self-service stations include 3,000 and 4,500 psi compressed-air stations, where players can recharge their air-powered devices or inflate self-brought blimps for paint-based air raids. Pacifists can view the action from the 1,000-square-foot stone patio that overlooks the hill country or take aim at motionless targets at the firing range.
According to his bio, Stunt Ranch owner Steve Wolf specializes in "professional training for people who like to play with matches and run with scissors." Or at least, how to look like they're playing with matches and running with scissors. Throughout his 25 years in television and film production, Steve developed an affinity for stunt work and special effects, supplying his expertise to shows such as MTV's Call to Greatness and feature films such as Hustle & Flow. Still active in the industry, Steve also shares his passion for throwing spectacle-laden events through heading up multiple enterprises that include Wolf Stuntworks, Stunt Ranch—which also encompasses paintball and stunt parites—and Science in the Movies. Through these companies, Steve's experienced team of special effects professionals is able to stage professional fireworks shows, train people in creating controlled explosions, and applying special-effects makeup to help zombies look human again.
A humble personal blog can start a movement. Take Kash Shaikh's blog, for example. When he started it, he was a business executive traveling around the world. He poured his passion for writing into a travel blog that he dubbed #Besomebody. Not only did people read it?they began sharing tales about their own passions on Twitter, under the #Besomebody hashtag.
Today, Shaikh is the CEO of the #Besomebody movement, headquartered in Austin. His team's mission? To encourage people to pursue what they love, whether they're artists, athletes, or adventurers. Shaikh and his associates go about this in numerous ways, sometimes with gorgeous graffiti murals in locales from Dallas to Amsterdam, and sometimes with epic events. Their weekend-long 2014 conference features inspirational speakers such as an Olympic gold medalist and an ultra runner, both of whom followed their dreams without getting lost in the Nether, the land where nightmares are born.