In January 2015, at the SC Village UWL event, I questioned Rick Cendejas and Michael Baird, of the Ironmen and the GBD, about classic APG, Paintcheck and Front Line Magazine articles and photos.
Many of these photos were used in last months article with Rick and Mike, which pieced together the teams early beginnings, with help from Michael Leon of Diablo Venture Games. The previous article also looked at Steve Davidson’s write up on the Ironmen’s 1991 season in the February 1992 Paintcheck:
Although the February 1992 issue of Paintcheck covered the Ironmen’s victorious 1991 season, I was also very interested in hearing Rick and Mike’s memories on the team photos printed in the January 1988 issue of Front Line.
This issue of Front Line was distributed as the Jan 1988 issue and the photos were likely submitted three months before, so they were likely taken around August-September 1987.
This issue featured several player photos and group photos that were taken around the time when Rick, Bob Long, and Rick’s friend and teammate on Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dennis Wolfe, joined the Ironmen.
Michael Leon, who ran Diablo Venture Games and played on the early Ironmen, remembers that some of the photos featured in the December and January 1988 issues were taken around June of 1987 at his field, Diablo Venture Games.
And as mentioned in the previous article, on the Ironmen’s beginnings, Michael Baird remembers asking Rick Cendejas, Dennis Wolfe and Bob Long to join him, Rick Baird (Michael’s father), Chip Hyde, Flynt Smith, Greg Tanner, and others for an upcoming tournament at Paintball Sam’s during the summer/fall of 1987.
Mike writes, “There was a 15 man tournament at Paint Ball Sams, in Sacramento, and we, the Ironmen, were entering 2 teams but some members couldn’t make it so my dad had me ask Bob Long and his group from Delta Archery (Bob’s store) to join us. Rick Cendejas and Dennis Wolfe were still on the Ninja Turtles still but Rick was part of the Delta Archery group [as well].”
The outcome of one of Paintball Sam’s tournaments was also printed in the January 1988 issue of Front Line, so it would make sense that photos taken at the same event (if developed quickly) could also be added to the layout. And since the Ironmen did place first in that event, the photos where Baird and others are holding up their index finger could be from that tournament.
I asked Michael Baird, Rick Cendejas and Michael Leon about the photos and they help identify some of their teammates pictured:
4. Bob Long
5. Dennis Wolfe, who, as Rick says, “introduced” him to paintball and was his “Mare Island Naval Shipyard co-worker in Shop 31 Machine Shop.”
6. General Rick Baird
7. Bob Long’s Store Manger, “Jim ______”
8. Chip Hyde
11. Mike Baird
13. Matthew Perry (Bob Long’s nephew)
And the following photo of the 1987 Ironmen, also pictured in the January 1988 issue of Front Line Magazine.
1. Rick “General Rick” Baird
2. Robert ________ (?)
3. Chip Hyde
4. Bob Long
5. Rick Cendejas
6. Phil Chachere
9. Corporal Lance Eaton
10. Mike “Machine Gun Mike” Baird
11. Bob Long’s archery shop manager, “Jim _____”
12. Matthew Perry (Bob Long’s nephew)
After remembering Lance Eaton’s name from the photo above, Michael Leon also recalled back to their days on the Ironmen, in likely 1986, and how Michael Baird received his nickname, “Machine Gun Mike.”
Eaton was, as Michael Leon remembers, was from the “Concord weapons station,” and “organized the marines that came from the Concord base” to play paintball. Leon remembers that Eaton also “traveled with the Ironmen guys” around that time.
And Leon continues,”Corporal Eaton, [during the] first time bringing up his crowd [from the naval base, was playing against] 6 of us. Our guns were nelspots, with PVC pumps, Mike [Baird] was the only one who could pump and not break [paint]…[Baird was] shooting so fast [that] Eaton’s guys thought [he] had a machine gun.”
After Michael Leon stopped playing with the Ironmen, he occasionally played with the Little Rascals, who were based out of his field, Diablo Venture Games. Michael Baird, Rick Cendejas and Michael Leon all remember Tommy Waltz, pictured front left in the Little Rascal’s team photo.
Waltz also played with the Ironmen and is currently a Lieutenant or Captain with the Davis, California Police Force.
Baird writes that “Tommy Waltz, played on the Ironmen for about 2 years and I think he made Captain for the police dept.”
Michael Leon named a few of his teammates in the photo above. Leon is pictured on the right with the SMG.
1. Tom Waltz – “co captain of lil rascals, all [were] in law enforcements or were security guards. [eventually] going to school to become le.”
3. Bill Stradamyer.
4. Michael Leon
Giant thanks to Michael Leon, Rick Cendejas, and Michael Baird for the help with this and the previous article documenting the Ironmen’s early history. If anyone remembers additional names of players not yet identified please post or email!