Bob Long - Paintball Superstar
From the PaintBall.com archives
Simply put, he is paintball. The name is known by players around the world and some may say he’s the best captain and back player in the game. His team has gone through a major split and his guns are used by some of the top teams in the sport.
He’s been in paintball longer than some of his opponents have been alive. That doesn’t mean he’s any less aggressive, any less skilled or any less passionate about the sport that consumes his life. For 18 years, Bob Long has played competitive paintball. He started like most players at the time, “just playing in the woods.”
In 1984, Long created a team, which he called the Ironmen. At the time, they were a 15-man recreational team. As the sport progressed and moved out of the woods, the Ironmen moved right along with it. In the early 1990s, the Ironmen dominated the 10- man professional division, topping the year- end rankings in ’93, ’94 and ’95. After winning, repetitive titles, the team began to slip.
After disappointing finishes, the team split and Long left the Ironmen and to begin his own team. “We were so used to winning…but we weren’t being consistent, we weren’t making finals, we weren’t winning,” explained Bob Long, “[the team] wanted new management.” In 1997, Long left the team to captain his own team.Since Long originally formed the Ironmen, he wanted to continue to use the name, but the other team wanted to continue with the name, as well. This left two Ironmen teams in the pro division, quite a dilemma. As a result, Long’s guys came to be known as Bob Long’s Ironmen, while the other team is known as the SC Ironmen.
Bob Long has captained his Ironmen to finals finishes in most all NPPL tournaments in the following years. In 1998, he led his new team, made up of mostly amateur, to a 1st place ranking. Besides being a great leader for his team, he’s also a strong player.
“I’m a back man, I enjoy it,” says Long with a smile, “but I’m getting old.” He doesn’t see that stopping him anytime in the near future. “When I’m a hinderance to the team, I’ll sit down,” he says.
Long is a back-player, but he has a solid grasp on all the positions and how the game should move. “You’ve got your damage players, they get at least 2 or 3 kills every game. Then there’s your back players, they control the field to let the damage players get their kills and there’s the finishing players, you’ve gotta have these guys in the end,” explains Long. When he plays, he says he tries to “bring it to 5-on-5 as soon as possible.”
Aside from playing paintball, Long also works in paintball, producing one of the most popular high-end paintball markers. Long has his own company which produces paintball markers, such as the Intimidators and Defiant. The Intimidators, commonly called ‘Timmys are becoming increasingly popular for tournament play. “We believe it’s the #1 gun. It is very, very accurate,” boasts Long. There are four different editions of the Timmys: 2002 Intimidator, Ripper, Ground Zero Intimidator and the Dragon Intimidator. The Ironmen use both the Ripper and the Dragon Intimidators.
Going into the Chicago Open, Bob Long and his Ironmen are currently ranked 5th in the pro division. The team took 3rd in the NPPL LA Open, 4th in Las Vegas and 2nd in the recent PSP/NPPL Chicago Open.