A few months back, in November of 2014, Thomas Mitchell posted a photo of Team Strange on Custom Cockers. Team strange was based out of Florida and during the mid 90s competed as an Amateur team in Florida and South Eastern events such as the World Cup and the Splat 1 National Indoor Championships.
Mitchell’s photo was posted in a thread trying to identify and archive photos of John Gross and Florida Paintball Center’s paintguns. Find that thread on Custom Cockers at:
Thomas was sent the photo by a local friend who originally received the photo from Team Strange player Don Binkley. Mitchell identified the players as:
“Don [Binkley] is on the far left, then Joey Blute (John Gross’ former stepson), then BJ Jolley in the front, (didn’t know crossfire mask guy), then Tim McClendon in the back.”
Florida Paintball Center, owned by John Gross, and later Gross’ stepson, Joey Blute, worked on many of the Autocockers and Automags used by Team Strange in the mid 90s. Blute even played on the team.
In 2009 I purchased the Sniper 3 / Mini Cocker pictured above, from Robert Peterson, a player on Team Strange, who I’ve kept in contact with. Peterson writes:
“The gun was done by Russel Breeden of the Doom Troopers around 1990 then anodized Team Strange Colors around 96 or so. I know John well and he did many of our team guns, but not this one.”
Rob had this Sniper 3 anodized by Pk Selective in Team Strange Colors which, as he explains, all Strange players were required to do. Peterson writes, “At one time we required any player that played for [Team Strange] to get their gun anodized that color. It was never really a problem getting players to do that cause everybody wanted to play for us. We were the hot local team.”
Peterson identified the last player (with the Crossfire goggles on) in Mitchell’s photo as Mike Smalls. Peterson goes on to write:
“That is a pic from the 1995 world cup where we took [4th] in the amateur division. Back them they had Pro and Am so the am division was tough. We got walked dry in the finals but that was our first year in 10 man.
I also found another photo from the 1995 Pittsburgh Amateur Open in the January 1996 issue of Action Pursuit Games. Strange finished 24th in this event.
Peterson explains, “That was actually from the 95 Pittsburgh amateur open. It was Team Strange’s first event as a 10 man.”
This event would have likely taken place before the World Cup so it could be the first 10 man Strange played with the World Cup being one of the next few 10 man events they competed in.
Peterson goes on to label the Team Strange members pictured:
1. Cory Schumacher
2. Robert Peterson
3. Mike Potter
4. Will Parsons
5. Ron Matthews
6. Mike Baker
7. Joey Blute
8. Don Binkley
9. Mike Smalls
10. William “BJ” Jolly
I also found this post on Rec.Sport.Paintball about Team Strange’s finishes in the World Cup around that time. Joe Martin, of Team Strange (but not pictured above) writes that Team Strange finished 4th in 1995 and 26th in 1996 on 11/1/1996.
“And it has nothing to do with how well our team finished because we finished 26th. Compared to our 4th place finish last year its pretty good considering there are 5 out of the 10 guys that played who have never played a 10 man tournament before.”
Thanks to Robert Peterson for the information on Team Strange, Thomas Mitchell for the photo of Team Strange at World Cup 1995, to Chuck Link for the Splat 1 Indoor brochure and to Matt “Maggot” Kohler for the photo of the Team Strange pullover.
Find Thomas’ youtube channel with videos on customs Autocockers and mags at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi61cx5ckCwySyU1zN3Smcw
And find Matt’s informative site, Otter Custom Paintball with tons of information on Autocockers and Automags at of http://www.otterpaintball.com/