Paintball has invaded America and Ohio’s Paintball Country is a major battleground.
Paintball started innocently enough. Foresters used them to mark trees and farmers used them to mark cattle. Then, one day, two foresters turned the guns on each other in a friendly fight. Over the past 20 years, it has feverishly grown into one of the top extreme sports in the world and has many variations. These include ultimate air, woods, speedball, x ball, hyper ball and special scenario war games.
Ohio’s Paintball Country offers all of this and even has lit fields. Using more than 40 acres of the repurposed 210-acre Niederman Family Farm between Cincinnati and Dayton, it has become a major attraction. It spans fields, woods, a creek and more featuring scenarios from the Civil War to Star Wars. The vast offerings there attract seasoned veterans from around the country for major scenario war games to first time, individual, speedball players looking to try something new. Just show up and the folks there will provide all the equipment for you.
Sometimes popping a cap in someone’s …gluteus maximus… can be very therapeutic. So too can the fresh air, running around and camaraderie. Participants include church groups, business groups, family reunions and walk-ins. Paintball has rapidly become one of the world’s most popular outdoor participation sports. Players include anyone from housewives to Navy Seals.
Safety rules and regulations make paintball a safe sport for anyone from 10-years-old to senior citizens. Referees on the field enforce safety with strict game rules. Each player is required to wear safety goggles at all times. The rifle is an air gun. Players are eliminated when a paintball splats on them. Being hit by a paintball leaves a bright colored paint mark on the clothes and can sometimes sting a little bit.
A paintball has a thin outer skin with colored liquid inside it resembling a gelatin-like capsule. The liquid interior is non-toxic, non-caustic, water-soluble and biodegradable. It rinses out of clothing and off skin with mild soap and water.
What began with a handful of locals asking to play paintball in an old cow pasture on a 210 acre farm has turned into nine sophisticated paintball courses attracting several hundred players for some games.
“One day we’re sitting around the supper table racking our brains for ideas to save the farm and the next we’re knee deep in paintball requests,” said Bethann Niederman.
In order to generate a new form of revenue to preserve life on his family farm, the Niederman family dove into the opportunity to meet the demand of paintball enthusiasts. This working farm is smack in the middle of Cincinnati and Dayton. In its fourth generation, the Niederman’s have diversified parts of their farm in order to survive and preserve their way of life. Paintball is just one of their creative offerings.
Ongoing activities feature bonfire pits, barn rentals, primitive cabins and many seasonal events plus group tours. Group accommodations are routinely made for families, mom clubs, school groups, day care centers and home school groups. The Niederman’s also accommodate large family reunions and corporate events in a restored 1890s barn with modern amenities. In fall, the farm’s corn maze and activities are a major attraction. So is the Christmas Walk.
Paintball Country and Niederman Family Farm are located at 5110 LeSourdsville-West Chester Road in Liberty Township, Ohio between Cincinnati and Dayton. Call 513-779-6184 or visit www.paintballcountryohio.com and www.niedermanfamilyfarm.com.
By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler