Chuck Link, of Paladin, Music City Hooters, Lightning Strike and KY / TN Stock Group, sent over these photos of some of his vintage Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products camouflage clothing items that are still in his collection.
A couple years back Chuck sent a ton of his old paintball shirts and camos to me since he thought he wouldn’t be playing any more. But with the creation of KY / TN Stock Group by he and Robert Riemenschneider, Chuck has re kindled his love for paintball.
Recently while digging around for wardrobes to wear in videos, I came across Chuck’s Lightning Strike Realtree Camouflage pullover and thought he might want it back.
Sure enough Chuck was excited by my offer and we talked a little about the camos that he and his various teams wore over the years. He also took a few more photos of camouflage clothing items he still owns, a few of which help offer insight on Vintage Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products made by Tim Schloss.
Chuck explained that the Realtree camo pullover he sent me was “actually a Pursuit Products jersey, [which was] Tim Schloss’ company after Tiger Stripe Products. Realtree camo became all the rage in the early to mid 90’s.”
I’ve often wondered whether pullovers I’ve come across were genuine products from Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products when they don’t have any branding on them and sure enough Chuck’s pull over lacked a Pursuit Products tag.
Chuck remembers receiving his set of Realtree camos from Pursuit Products, with a gift certificate he received as part of “the “Best Ref” award one year at the Splat-1 National Indoor Championships. I think it was like $150 to $200 worth of stuff. I got the jersey, pants, a carry bag (like a helmet bag), and a custom made Anorak parka, which I still have, unused/unworn.”
The Realtree camo pullovers were Lightning Strike’s first “official” team camouflage and Chuck thinks that the referee award was “probably 1994 or 96.”
Although Chuck wasn’t sure of the exact year, he remembers that the “All Americans won that year because they all came and shook my hand when I got the award from Randy [Baxter]. But According to Chuck, the “All American’s won several years on a row” so he wasn’t certain on the exact year he got the award.
“I was a head field ref the next year after ( head ref on one crew) so I wasn’t eligible for another award. They generally went to the regular refs in the trenches.
He recall that after the Splat 1 Indoor Championships he “ordered the Pursuit Products [Realtree camouflage pullover] jersey, pants, bag and anorak all at the same time. The tourney was always in February so probably ordered in March and I think it took a couple of months so maybe may I receivied in the order.”
I hadn’t heard the term Anorak before, so Chuck clarified that Anorak was the term used for the typical hooded drawstring pullovers, with the velcro pouch on the front.
“Anorak is a type of garment [similar to a Pull Over]. The brand on this one is Pursuit Products but it only has a generic tag…I had it custom made by them….this item was not in their list of stuff they made.”
Link was thinking that this Realtree anorak would work for using to play in bad weather but never ended up playing with it. He writes, “I had intended to use this when we had tourneys in wet weather but never did.”
I asked if Pursuit Products added their logo to the pullover?
Link writes, “There are no other tags on it… BUT… it has a very telling Tim Schloss/TSP/PP feature…. the inside pouch pocket on the front.. the pocket itself on the inside is made from Tiger Stripe Products tiger camo.”
The Real Tree pants Chuck received used elastic cuffs at the bottom, “similar to renegades.” Chuck mentions that he “wore the knees out” in the pants after a year or two. The realtree jersey he initially sent me remained in pretty decent shape, even after years of use though.
Another set of camos that Chuck held onto was an original set of Tim Schloss’ Tiger Stripe Camouflage.
Chuck details this uniform:
“I also have an original set of Tiger Stripe Products TS camo… this is the original three pocket cotton twill jacket and pants with the exposed flat buttons…not the later light weight rip stop with covered buttons….which I also have though. The cotton twill “advisor” cut as they called it is pretty rare to find these days…Hella expensive if you do. This set is barely used because I liked the lightweight rip stop to play in a lot better.”
I’m pretty new to most camo identification and clothing terms so I asked Chuck to inform me on what the advisor cut referred to. He writes:
“The Jacket is “advisor” cut since there are only two pockets on the front upper chest (no lower BDU pockets like in later models and one tiny pocket on the upper arm/shoulder on the left side.”
Chuck then further explains the origin of the advisor terminology:
“”Advisor” referred to the US Army “advisors” sent to Vietnam in the early ’60’s to advise the South Vietnamese army on tactics to fight the growing Viet Cong rebels. The US advisors were some of the first to wear the Tiger Stripe camo….most of it was made in Vietnam for them. Characteristics of the early camo were exposed thin flat front buttons (later versions of US camo have rounded thicker more robust buttons that were covered by an outer flap on the pockets and jacket front….same on the pants).”
Thinking more about the camo’s and gear that Paladin, Music City Hooters, and Lightning Strike wore, Chuck recalls two of Schloss’ products that aren’t as well known today.
“TSP also made 2 non clothing items that I had and would love to find again…but highly doubt they are able to be found….they made a mesh sniper veil in their tiger pattern and they made cloth rolls of tape in their pattern… both great items to camo up you stuff. I remember buying the tape and veil from I and I Sports.
He continues, “I used the veil as a scarf when I first got it… it was big…..and the tape I used to camo up some home made pods, and to cover my homemade helmet that I used with my early [JT GSX, JT Whipper Snapper Goggles] and Vents. Later, I cut up the veil and covered the helmet with it over the tape. This really broke up the sillouette of you head in the woods”
I hadn’t closely examined photos of this helmet of Chuck’s before so I asked him for a little more history on it. He sent over some of the photos we’ve posted in his past articles and sure enough the camo helmet is in nearly every photo!
I asked if these were originally motorcycle masks and Chuck explains:
“This [helmet] started as a kids Grand Prix style plastic racing helmet. We cut the bottom front out and then flipped the clear visor up and tacked it to to top to create the visor. We drilled holes it it to create air flow and keep it from being too hot and then camo’d it. This was Al Winfrey’s idea, [Al was] the captain of Paladin. He was a fan of the Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and got the idea from that….if there had not already been a team of that name.. that is what he wanted to call the team.”
In the photos above, Chuck is modeling one of these two masks with the Real Tree veil glued to it. He writes:
“The realtree mesh covered version with an old JT mask that shows how we wore them….strap could go outside bur was more secure around you’re head with the helmet over. We wore Terry cloth head bands underneath to combat fogging”
Chuck writes that, “If you look back closely at the paladin team photos you will see us with them on.” He identifies himself wearing the helmet in the front row:
“[Photo is] from 89 Master’s [where we played 15 man] wearing the TSP covered helmet. [I’m the] only one in the photo with my mask on down in front lol!”
A photo from Chuck shoing the Inside of the helmet and foam stripe glued to the top for comfort.
Chuck also mentions the photo above, where he is wearing “the helmet with TSP tape AND Veil covering it….with Vents goggles.”
Giant thanks to Chuck for the photos and details in this article!
Find more articles on Chuck Link’s paintball history at:
And more articles on camouflage relating to paintball history at: