Old Town Challenge takes place over weekend

Max Anderson, left, Zack Bonnetrouge, and Tristan Cross face off against another team during the Old Town Challenge last Sunday.

Max Anderson, left, Zack Bonnetrouge, and Tristan Cross face off against another team during the Old Town Challenge last Sunday.

The Old Town Challenge paintball tournament took place last Sunday, with four teams participating.

Only a dozen players came out to the annual tournament this year, but with smaller teams, it made things interesting.

Regular player Tristan Cross said that while he would have wished more people had come out for the afternoon tournament, it was still a good time.

“The games will probably go pretty fast, with only three guys on each side,” he said just before the action kicked off.

Co-organizer and recreation programmer for the municipality Emma Harper said when she had first started in 2011, the tournament was a huge event, drawing 40 players. She noted that the numbers had been declining since they began running more than one paintball event per summer.

“I guess if people can come out more often, the tournament is less of a big thing,” she told The Hub. “I was expecting more today, but you work with what you have.”

Harper and a few dedicated volunteers run games every two weeks or so at the ball diamond in Old Town, depending on what else is going on in town. She said that while she isn’t seeing the same numbers show up for the tournament, she sees between 30 and 40 individual people coming out to regular games over the course of the summer.

“These guys definitely don’t come out to anything else I organize,” she said, surveying the group on the field Sunday, mostly teenagers and young men, with a few nine-year-olds thrown in. “They’re not quite the target group for family beach day.”

While Harper said they have been trying to get more teams interested in coming in for the tournament, so far, they have been most successful with teams from Hay River and the reserve. She said she was contemplating hosting the event at another time next year in the hopes that more people would be in town to partake, but whether that would be later in the season or earlier has yet to be decided.

However many people come out, the players seem to have a good time. Nine-year-old Chase Templeton has been going out to the games every second Sunday all summer and was ready to play last week.

“It went good … and painful,” he said excitedly after his first game. “We’re out this round, but we’re going to play again.”

-Sarah Ladik