Home Events The Brush Bandits and the Florida Annihilators form Team Rage c.1993

The Brush Bandits and the Florida Annihilators form Team Rage c.1993

A few months back I posted some information and photographs that Joe Gorcsos sent in on the Florida Bushmasters and Brush Bandits. This is a partial continuation of that story, following Joe and his fellow Brush Bandit’s transition to the Florida Annihilators and then the formation of Team Rage after the 1994 Dallas NPPL (April 2nd, 1994).

Find the write up on the Brush Bandits at:
https://paintballhistory.com/joe-gorcsos-florida-bushmasters-brush-bandits-rage

Rage Team Banner,
Rage Team Banner, likely from 1995. Sponsors include RPS, Smart Parts, AA and other brands. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

During 1993 the Florida Brush Bandits had been practicing with the Florida Annihilators. Around this time several players from the Annihilators retired and additional players were needed for the team to continue competing.  Gorcsos and some of the Brush Bandits were invited to join the ranks.
During this time the Annihilators were sponsored by Pursuit Marketing Inc. and shooting PMI 3s.

Joe remembers that for the “Vallejo California Masters, in July of 93, [The Florida Annihilators] used PMI 3s.” 

The Florida Annihilators getting ready for a break.
The Florida Annihilators getting ready for a break at an event towards the end of 1993 or Dallas 1994. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Joe describes how competing at the national level was nice with PMI as their sponsor because PMI allotted enough funds for professional teams to cover most expenses. 
Joe writes, “[With PMI] all our gear was paid for, and in fact the only thing we were responsible for was our airfare and food, they covered paint, [entry, fees], hotels, rental vehicles, etc…”

Scoreboard from the 1993 Lively Masters.
Scoreboard from the 1993 Lively Masters, fall 1993. Gorscos says this was the last Lively event he played.
Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Joe writes:
“Not long after becoming [The Annihilators] and not placing well in a couple tournaments we realized the [VM-68s] were holding us back. We just could not compete with the Autocockers and Automags … with such a large bulky clunky gun.”

Florida Annihilators with Strokers.
Back row, left to right, Paolo Balzano (FA), Mike “Foxy” Fox (BB) , Todd Adamson (FA), Bill Fleak (BB), Doug Massi (BB), Front row, Kenny Hall (BB). Photo c. late 1993 to early 1994. FA=originally a Florida Annihilator and BB= originally a Brush Bandit. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

According to Gorcsos, after he and the rest of the Brush Bandits joined with the Florida Annihilators for the 1993 season, they felt the VM68s were holding them back and to be competitive they would have to risk their sponsorship:
“We decided we would rather risk losing our sponsorship and have to pay out of pocket, than not be able to compete with the pros like Ironmen, Aftershock and the All Americans.”

The All American's on stage at the 1994 or 1995 NPPL World Cup.
The All American’s on stage at the 1994 (?) NPPL World Cup. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos. I think Ironmen took 1st in 1994 and All american’s took second?

Joe continues on the advantages and intimidation that came from the combination of skilled players and finely tuned equipment:
“These teams dominated the NPPL back then and while they had a lot of talented players, they also had top of line [paint]guns that were custom modified and cutting edge. [The Ironmen, Aftershock and the All Americans] had both the skill and the hardware advantage over us [(The Annihilators at the time)]”

Annihilators with Typhoons.
Left to right, top and bottom row combined, Paul Bollenbach (FA), Bill Fleck (BB), Joe Gorcsos (BB), Kenny Hall (BB), unknown (traveled with the Florida Annihilators but didn’t play). Photo c. late 1993 to early 1994. FA=originally a Florida Annihilator and BB= originally a Brush Bandit. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

In the fall of 1993 The Annihilators switched from PMI’s VM68s/PMI 3s to Palmer’s Pursuit Shop and Bad Boyz Toys removable barrel and fixed barrel Typhoons and were able to keep their PMI sponsorship since the guns were the same platform as the PMI pumps. But the Annihilators didn’t have great luck with their Typhoons.
Joe explained:
“Since the Palmer [Typhoon] was a PMI based paintgun, [Pursuit Marketing Inc.] allowed us to use them under our contract, which we did, [as the Annihilators,] for 2 or 3 tournaments. [The Typhoon] was a awesome gun, when it worked, unfortunately that was rare.”  Joe’s main gripe with the Typhoon was that he “chopped paintballs quite a bit.”

Joe goes on to explain the time period that the Annihilators used the Typhoons.
“We used the [Typhoons] in the 93 Masters and into the 94 season … [at] the NPPL Dallas open in [April] of 1994.”

Dallas 1994 Open T shirt.
Dallas 1994 Open T shirt. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

But PMI’s contract was difficult to turn away from. Gorcsos writes, “[Leaving PMI] was a tough decision, especially since the sponsorship was so lucrative.”
Gorcsos remembers that with PMI as their sponsor, “We had to use [PMI 3s / VM-68s or the Typhoons] knowing that we were at a big disadvantage and in the end it was pride over dollars.”
The Annihilators knew they could continue to play under PMI but never hope to rank well or move up against teams that were heavily outgunning them.

After the Dallas 1994 event, the Annihilators made the decision to disband the team and the remaining players from the Annihilators and Brush Bandits formed Rage, with Todd Adamson voted in as captain. They also decided to drop PMI as a sponsor so they could use other equipment and stand up to the competition.

Rage next to team banner showing sponsors.
Rage next to team banner showing sponsors. RPS on banner likely indicates photo is c. 1995, courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Gorcsos writes:
“[Rage] realized that [our current paint] guns were going to be an issue, even though it meant our contract was at stake. [So for 1994] we broke away from PMI in order to compete at a higher level.”

He continues:
“Once we started to level the hardware playing field, things began to take a turn. A win over a top pro here and there gave us the confidence that we belonged in the land of giants, and Rage began to imprint its mark in the history of professional paintball.”

Team Rage spent 1994 building the foundation for their new team and getting their equipment situation worked out.  Gorcsos writes that in 1994 they “struggled with the gun situation.”

Front side of World Cup 1994 shirt.
Front side of World Cup 1994 shirt. Rage Judge print is on the back side. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.
Back side of World Cup 1994 shirt with Rage Judge print.
Back side of World Cup 1994 shirt with Rage Judge print. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

In 1995 Rage began the full NPPL pro circuit with most members of the team using Automags  and a few shooting Autocockers. 
Since RP Scherer was located in close proximity, Chuck Hendsch joined the team “bringing a full RP Scherer sponsorship with him,” Joe remembers. 
Rage did alright for that season and ended the year judging the the World Cup for the second time.

Dallas Texas Open 1995 NPPL shirt.
Dallas Texas Open 1995 NPPL shirt. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Joe remembers that Rage did well for the next couple years he played with them, explaining that in 1996 “we quickly rose up in the rankings.”  
Rage continued to place in the top three team but never “got over over the hump [to] winning a first place” before Joe retired.

In the 1996 NPPL season, Gorcsos remembers Rage’s “best finish was second place in the 1996 San Diego NPPL event and third overall in the year standings.”
Towards the end of the 1996 season Joe and a few of the other players retired from Team Rage and “the remainder of Rage merged with the Terminators.”

Joe Gorscos next to Vents Predator banner.
Joe Gorcsos next to Vents Predator banner. Vents was a sponsor during the 1993-1994 period Gorcsos played on the Annihilators. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Joe continues:
“Ultimately we became one of the first teams ever to be in ESPN’s inaugural World Cup Coverage, and then winning first place in ESPN’s first ever speedball tournament as [Paintball] was revolutionized from wooded fields to open speedball where spectators gained greater viewing advantages.”

Gorcsos didn’t play the ESPN televised speedball event there Todd Adamson’s infamous dead man’s walk lead to a first place against the Paraplegic Turtles. That final game is above, footage courtesy Dale Price, of the Paraplegic Turtles.
He remembers, “I left the team right before the ESPN speedball tourney.”

Paolo Balzano and Todd Adamson of the Annihilators with their Typhoons.
Paolo Balzano, originally an Annihilator, on the left holding a BBT Typhoon with a removable barrel. Todd Adamson is on the right, also originally an Annihilator, with a standard fixed barrel Typhoon. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Todd Adamson eventually left Rage and joined with Aftershock and Joe writes that, “Chino from the Florida Terminators took over Rage and they went on to become Miami Rage, doing very well for several years.”

Ironmen next to Rage ref on the left at World Cup 1994.
Left to right, Mike “Foxy” Fox, reffing the 1994 World Cup for Rage, unknown Ironmen player, Clayton Kyle (or is it Pestana?), of the Ironmen, and far right, Youngblood. Rage refereed the event. Photo circa fall 1994 (October?) courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Michael “Foxy” Fox explains, “I played with Rage from the beginning and retired in 1999. About five Terminators joined Rage in 1997. We won several tournaments, including 1997 NPPL 10 Man Pro Chicago, 1998 NPPL 10 Man Pro Vegas, and 1996 ESPN World Champions.”

Since then most of Joe’s teammates have stopped playing and he writes, “Now everyone has pretty much retired but we are all still friends and are able to look back fondly on all that we did and the great memories we made.”

 
Front of Florida Bushmaster T Shirt.
Front of Florida Bushmaster T Shirt. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.
Back of Florida Bushmaster T shirt.
Back of Florida Bushmaster T shirt. Photo courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

Find the previous article on the Florida Bushmaster and the Brush Bandits at:
https://paintballhistory.com/joe-gorcsos-florida-bushmasters-brush-bandits-rage

Find the ranking for the Annihilators and Rage on the old archived PCRI site at.
The 1994 season has Rage as the Annihilators for the complete season.
https://web.archive.org/web/20000621170735/http://www.pcri.net/teams.htm

Thanks again to Joe for the information used to write this article and the photos.  All photos courtesy Joe Gorcsos.

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