The following article was written by Wes “Shockman” Shockley after Brandon Cayetano passed away last month. I enjoyed Wes’ personal accounts of Brandon and their shared Hawaiian paintball history so I asked to repost it. Wes agreed so I’m posting with his permission. Find Wes’ original post at:
While at work today I received the sad news that my friend Brandon Cayetano had passed away last night. Everyone in our facebook circles was posting about him. I was in shock.
I got through the rest of my client schedule, setting my emotions aside for the drive home. On the way home I was till trying to wrap my head around this news and then I had an epiphany. It was like he was in my head saying, “No worries Brah. You knew this was coming”.
I did know and once I realized this I was no longer sad. I knew what I needed to do, so bare with me as I tell you about my friendship with Brandon.
Brandon opened [The Adventure Game] (TAG) in Hawaii. The first Hawaii paintball field in 1984. [His second field, Tactical Air Guns, opened after The Adventure Game closed.]
I was in Damien Memorial High School only reading about paintball. I wouldn’t actually play for the first time until fall of 1989. My good friend Russ Manley introduced me to the sport when I ended my term of service in the army.
[In my first years] we were playing at “outlaw” fields. I was new to the sport and didn’t know about established fields. I thought outlaw was the norm. Then Brian Stoddard and his team, The Wizards, asked me to go to a tournament with them. I said “Sure, sounds like fun.”
This would be the first and only time I played at T.A.G [likely Tactical Air Guns/Games by then].
On the drive there I learned about establish fields and the politics of Hawaii paintball. You see back then a lot of field owners did not get a long. The reason why the many outlaw fields. Many were just avoiding politics. I didn’t know any better. I just played where my friends were. That event was where I would first see Brandon. We hadn’t formally met then. This was also when I met Matt Luber, Garret Noguchi, Glen Fujimaka, Eric Kobashigawa, and Dean Sarahina. These men would later form Team Ronin US / Hawaii. Together we would build great memories from paintball.
Over the years I would always hear stories about Brandon and the T.A.G. field. Good and Bad, his named always seem to pop up. It wasn’t until years later that we would finally meet.
On March 28th, 2002 I received a call from Dean Sarahina. My good friend Matt Luber had passed away.
I flew back to Hawaii immediately to carry my friend home. The service was standing room only. I happened to notice one man, Brandon Cayetano, standing in the back all by himself. I knew who it was and I knew he was hanging back out of respect for those mourning Matt.
I realized some old politics were a play here and that’s when I thought to myself, “Bullshit.” Matt would have hated Brandon standing there alone so I decide, “F” politics.
I went and Introduced myself.
He smiled and said, “I know you Wes. I have wanted to meet you for a long time.” He went on to say, “Matt and your friends always talk about you.”
I was shocked. I said, “Funny! Same here.”
We laughed and it was at that moment my friendship with Brandon started. I lost a friend that day and gained another. We talked for a bit and hit it off.
Because our circle of friends intersected it was like we knew each other. After the service he invited everyone to Hawaii All-Star Paintball & Airsoft to play paintball and celebrate Matt. All on his dime and I mean all, paintballs, air and food. All of it.
Over the years Brandon and I would communicate in passing. Mostly through myspace and then here on Facebook. We talked paintball and about Matt. He loved my custom Subdued Hawaii state patch that I got from Keaka Atkinsonback in the day. I would follow his posts about his health issues.
We were supposed to meet up at Living Legends 5. But he had to cancel. Thankfully he made it to Living Legends 6 the next year (2013) and we got to meet up. This is where it goes back to “I knew this was coming.”
When I saw Brandon he looked tired and weak. He didn’t play much, he mostly stayed at his stagging area with the players from Total Grief. We were happy to see each other, and we talked for a bit. But I could tell he wasn’t well. Something inside me said this would be out last face to face. I felt compelled to do something. I told him,
“Eh Brah. I got something for you.”
“Really?!! What?” he asked.
I ripped my custom Hawaii State Flag patch off my jersey sleeve and slapped it in his hand.
I told him “You deserve this. If it wasn’t for you starting paintball back home I wouldn’t have made a lot of the friends I have today”. He smiled and said “I’m sure you would’ve found paintball eventually” He accepted it and gave me a big hug. It was like we were thinking the same thing.
I told him I would be right back with some people I wanted him to meet. I grabbed what members of the Muddy Water Boys were at our staging area told them, “Come with me, there’s someone of paintball history I’d like you guys to meet”.
Though Brandon was tired, he remained standing and shook everyone’s hand and talked with us a while longer.
Aloha to you Brandon. I take comfort in knowing that you are no longer in pain and that you and Matt are playing some awesome paintball together.
Wes “The Shockman” Shockley