Now heading into our 14th season as a team, we reflect back on 2015, one of best seasons yet. The Wild Bunch achieved a number of incredible firsts, making last season incredibly memorable. We have come a long way since we were founded in 2002 by members LoudThunder, Delta Echo, Squishy, and Brutis, who formed the inaugural team.
Since then, Wild Bunch has grown to a team of 27 players, 22 on the active roster, and five on the reserve. Centered on its core members, teammates have come and gone as part of the expansion process, yet, Wild Bunch has never failed to assemble a team that plays the game of paintball with honor. Over the years, Wild Bunch has been privileged to have some of the finest scenario paintball players in the upper Midwest among its ranks. This continued evolution of the team, absorbing the very best talent in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area, has continued to push core members with the increasingly enriched talent pool of each passing season.
Over the past fourteen years, Wild Bunch has traveled to games all over the nation. While playing its regular full schedule in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the team has also traveled to Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, New York, and California, making many of those destinations regular stops on the annual team schedule. This year, we made our first international team trip, venturing to Canada for Shoreline’s “The One.”
As the Wild Bunch has grown and sought to make its presence felt at more national destinations, it has been grateful to be sponsored by many outstanding organizations over the years, including: WDP/Angel, Northern Command Paintball, Fast Signs, Family Friendly Chiropractic, Sierra Ink, ANS Gear, Atomic Ordinance, and Country Wide Financial. Wild Bunch is especially grateful for the sponsorship that started it all, their home field of Splat Tag, based out of Hudson, Wisconsin. Wild Bunch takes its sponsorships seriously and each season, we work diligently to promote and represent our sponsors to the best of our abilities. This past year, we were especially happy to be chosen by Planet Eclipse to become part of the official Emortal Army of PE teams. The 2015 season also saw us pick up sponsorships from WESTconsin Credit, DuraCoat, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Contract Killer.
The past thirteen years have also seen the continued expansion of Wild Bunch’s involvement with raising money for charities. One of the most proud chapters in our team’s fundraising history so far was The Hunt for the Cure. 2009 marked the sixth and most recent Hunt for the Cure event organized by our team. As this charity scenario game grew, it became one of THE games to attend in the upper Midwest. We donated 100% of the proceeds to the Huntington’s disease Society of America. The Hunt for the Cure was produced by players, for players, and the results spoke for themselves. The game was the pinnacle of the Wild Bunch season, despite the fact that Wild Bunch team members did not play in it. Instead, Wild Bunch teammates creatively constructed the scenarios, worked the registration and refreshment booths, served as referees, and ran the game. Wild Bunch was grateful for all of the volunteers who teamed with us to give graciously of their time and energy to promote this worthy cause. To help raise funds, Wild Bunch raffled off some of the highest-end markers in the world of scenario paintball, and held special donation drives to help raise money; through our combined efforts, we raised nearly $100,000 for the Huntington’s disease Society of America. It truly was a labor of love for us. We ended our Hunt for the Cure tradition with a bang in 2009, and since that time have helped host many other charity-based games at our home field of Splat Tag, and have supported several other teams in their charity games at various fields.
In 2015, we were very excited to announce our return to the charity game world with our brand-new series, “Battle for the Cure.” We partnered with CURE SMA to help raise funds to create a cure for SMA (spinal muscle atrophy), a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease among young children. We will be holding our second installment in this new series this summer and we are VERY excited for players to see everything that is in store as part the expanding game.
Beyond our charity work, and even as the team's successes have grown in number, Wild Bunch is most proud of the fact that honor and integrity have continued to be the unwavering core values of the team. While we hit the scenario fields of the world at full speed, and we play hard until the close of every game, we do it with honor and respect for the game, and the players around us.
Our thirteenth season saw the team travel and partake in the biggest games in scenario play. We continued the tradition of being one of the anchor teams for both of Splat Tag’s Giant Big Games as well as all eight month-end Jungle Rumbles. We ventured to Indiana, making our first-ever visit to Fort Knox, where we had a great time and won both the Most Valuable Team and Most Feared Opponent awards. Some of our team members again made the trip down to Oklahoma D-Day and even got to play in a castle series in Europe! Our next team trip was to our team favorite, Sherwood Forest, in Indiana, and we anchored our team, helping them to achieve one of the largest margins of victory in field history. Our final team traveling game came in September, and we made our first-ever international team trip to Ontario, Canada to Flag Raiders, where we secured both the win and returned with the Most Valuable Team trophy.
As we look to the future, we are committed to remaining a team until we are no longer able to play with the banner of the Wild Bunch across our chests and in our hearts. We will play as a team; where you see one of us in the Wild Bunch uniform, you will know that others are waiting by their side to strike. We will continually elevate our style, so that the move you saw will not be the next move you see. We will continue to respect your play style, and we only ask the same in return. We will play our game and we will do our best. We will play to win, and we will do it with honor.
Keep a watchful eye on the woods…