Herd in the Paint

North Dakota State’s Paintball Club is a small, diverse and ragtag team that is not afraid to get dirty.

This club is one of the more undercover clubs here on campus, despite its long standing status.

With players like the ones currently in the club, it’s likely that the passion and excitement the club possesses right now will carry into the future. While the club is relatively small right now, club president Conner Poppke predicts a surge of new members in the near future.

“I see the club gaining more members, recognition and being more involved on campus,” Poppke, a senior majoring in psychology said.

With a main goal of expanding their team and spreading their enjoyment for paintball throughout campus, the team is dedicated to its craft as well as making sure everyone has an enjoyable experience. Currently, a group of 13 members who compete and travel together, the team is looking to expand their club in order to make it more well known.

There aren’t fields in Fargo for the team to practice on; the club is forced to travel to Goose River Paintball in Hillsboro, N.D. twice per month in the fall.

In the winter months, the team takes a monthly trip to Air Assault Paintball in St. Paul where they are able to practice at one of the largest indoor facilities in the region.

Poppke explained the changes that the seasons have on their practice routine.

“The practices in the fall usually take up most of the day unless we travel to scrimmage other teams,” Poppke said. “Our winter practices take up the better part of a weekend because we travel to St. Paul.”

Since the club doesn’t get to practice frequently, it’s important that they cover necessary skills when they do get the opportunity.

“We work on a lot of fundamental skills,” Poppke explained.

Since there are not many teams in the area for the team to practice against, they are excited at any opportunity they get to scrimmage competition outside of tournament play.

The NDSU Paintball Club is a part of the National Collegiate Paintball Association MidWest North series where they compete against schools in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota.

Since its competition is not from around here, the team is forced to travel frequently.

Although most of the team has experience, there are some members that haven’t ever participated in tournament play and joined the club more for fun.

“Paintball is really cool as there are only a handful of unique skills that you need,” Poppke said. “The rest is actually mental in nature.

“With the right motivation, work ethic and attitude, anyone can learn this sport really fast.”

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