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Joker

20 Years Of Airsoft!

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Joker

20 Years of Airsoft!

 

If I may take a moment to reflect and brag about something I am honestly quite proud of. I'm warning you that I'm definitely going to be long winded on this one. Some may be familiar with my past, others may not. So I'm going to try and recap parts of the last 20 years.

 

In 1998 as a 10 year old I was introduced to Airsoft via some of my best friends, even to this day. We stumbled upon some spring handguns in our local Army/Navy store. Long before Airsoft was popularized, especially here in Indiana, my friends and I started playing Airsoft with each other. Making rules up as we went. Literally finding out things the hard way. Lots of stories in there haha. The four of us (Atticus, Poogas, Pittviper, & myself) then formed a team known now as IMPACT. An acronym I came up with while looking through a dictionary one day after school. As time passed our numbers grew. From 4 to almost 30, with about 10 of us being very serious about Airsoft. Lots of kids from school wanted to come play and we had quite a revolving door of players for years. It was lots of fun. We also had access to many different areas to play airsoft thanks to various members of the team. We started playing in Atticus's literal backyard, but quickly outgrew that. Poogas's family owned a 300 acre farm we had access to, some of you may have even gotten to play at "The Farm" years ago. We had access to a mock old western town known as Kady Lynn where we played very regularly, night and day, even during the weekdays during summer. And of course my field, which was once bigger before they added that new section of N. Curry Pike, which became known as "Joker's Circus". All of these fields were within just a couple miles of each other, some even just walking distance.

 

Then the internet started to become more popular and prevalent and that allowed us to discover more about Airsoft. We learned about new Airsoft guns that were electric (AEGs). We found forums like Airsoft Zone and Airsoft Core and a couple others that no longer exist. We learned that lots of other people were playing in other states. We watched very crude videos of Airsoft and were even more hooked. So in an effort to try and find more local players or teams we (Boogey) created the IMPACT website to post our events on. Then a little later I created the IMPACT forums that would end up becoming the very foundation of the Airsoft Indiana community. As time went on we would also come across Airsoft Ohio in 2001/2002 and decided to take a team trip to an OH event. We wanted to meet and play with new people who share our love for airsoft but we also wanted to test ourselves. Over time and after many successful trips to OH we started finding other IN players. Little by little (and do I mean little) they started showing up to our events here and the community grew. Think about it, all of this stemmed from events I hosted with as few as 4 players (or less lol). But thanks to the internet word got out about our games and more and more players showed up. Quick sidebar story, many years ago I once hosted an event in the rain that only one person showed up too. So me and another player whom I'd never met before played a 1v1 in the rain at the Circus. And from that the player base grew and now I've hosted events with 150 players in attendance.

 

For those that don't know once upon a time I was a short, quiet, shy, skinny, class clown who was bullied most of his life who grew up around guns. I loved to shoot, still do. But Airsoft was slowly forcing me out of my shell. Sure I still got bullied at school and I am mostly still kind of skinny and short but I'm far from shy. I'm also still a clown lol. I can easily speak to complete strangers or speak publicly unprepared without hesitation no problem. When you go from just messing around shooting at your friends with spring Airsoft guns to having to enforce rules and playing with complete strangers in a more serious setting you met on the internet you tend to grow up some. Someone had to step up and host these events and that person became me. And when the other original members of IMPACT decided they were not going to play anymore or only once and a while, I had to step up to lead the team. Me, possibly the most unlikely of candidates, especially of the original 4.

 

By 2004/2005 the numbers of Indiana players was growing fast. New teams were formed and new fields appeared. We outgrew the IMPACT forums and the Indiana Airsoft Association (IAA) was created. Finally after years of either having to host events myself or having to drive out of state to play Airsoft, others stepped up to host locally. Then the community really thrived and for years at that. Then after a couple incarnations of the IAA and a community split we end up with the wonderful thing that is Airsoft Indiana. That's the very condensed version as a lot of things took place over the course of 10 years or so. I'm not going to recap all of that. But I can't help but remember the countless people I've helped get into Airsoft over the last 20 years. Some of you found the old IMPACT website/forums, our events, or our videos on YouTube, my old Airsoft store and reached out to me. A few of you have stuck around but so many didn't. I've answered countless emails (some I still have), PMs, DMs, phone calls, posts, and in person questions about how to start playing Airsoft. I probably could have had a hotline or something haha. And not just players but businesses and big Airsoft event hosting companies, hell I've signed NDAs lol. I've even helped sporting goods stores order their Airsoft inventory back in the day when they were just figuring out what Airsoft was. Those questions haven't stopped either, sure maybe the platform changes but I still get those questions from new players and businesses today. And it's great, I'm happy to help if I can. It's just a little crazy to think about just how much I've really influenced Airsoft here in Indiana over the years.

 

I've learned a lot of life lessons from Airsoft. Sure I've become a better player, whatever that even means. But I've learned things about teamwork, communication, leadership, tactics, my mental and physical limitations and so much more. While still in high school I was running my own small Airsoft store. Learned a lot from that. I have devoted so much time and energy into Airsoft. Literally two thirds of my life has been consumed by it. I lost friends and destroyed relationships because of my Airsoft obsession. But I've also made lifelong friends that I have attended their weddings (divorces too lol). Some even attended my wedding recently. I've been to Airsoft players funerals. I've visited (or spent the night at) these people at their homes, their jobs, and even in the hospital. I know some of your spouses and kids, and a lot of you know mine. Even long before social media was around. Ive had tons of conversations with younger players parents reassuring them that they will be alright and I will look after them when they've been dropped off at my field for an event. I've created a lifetime of memories, both good and bad, that I wouldn't trade for the world. And not just during the events themselves, sure I have tons of those. I could have easily been "YouTube famous" by now if I'd had a helmet cam back in the day. But also driving to events, sleeping in vehicles, tents, on the floors of hotels, couches of homes, or on the gravel barn floor during a massive flood in OH almost two decades ago. I've shared meals with many of you, likely cooked by Pablo (Vacceo), BigAltes, myself, or others during events or before and or after. Traditions have been created. I'm not so much bragging because I'm the "best" Airsoft player or the "best" event host or any of that bullshit. I mean it is just BB warz after all. But I am proud to have been able to do this as long as I have, as actively as I have, and to make these friendships and these memories. Not many people can stick with things for long periods of time. Whether it's friendships, jobs, relationships, school, or hobbies it's not easy. I hope to continue doing this Airsoft thing for as long as I can, I've said until I die so who knows. I just want to get to play with my kids just like I got my Dad to play for a couple years. And I want Airsoft here in Indiana to continue to grow and evolve long after I'm gone.

 

I'd like to take a moment to thank my Papaw (RIP) who from almost birth instilled a love and respect for firearms onto me. Which would turn into a love for Airsoft. He along with my Mamaw and parents were very supportive and encouraging of my Airsoft obsession since the beginning. Joker's Circus was of course originally my grandparents property and were gracious enough to allow us to use it all these years before it became mine. My parents of course driving me to events before I was old enough to drive and helping me buy new things to play. My younger brother who also played for many years before becoming more "part time" had to deal with constant conversations and things all revolving around Airsoft. I'm sure it got old lol. I'd also like to shoutout and thank my Wife, who I've gotten to play Airsoft with a couple times. I had gotten to a point where with dating someone new I would warn them about my obsession. Most didn't handle it well, some did for a short period. But my Wife still encourages me to play and can't wait until our kids are old enough to play with me so we will leave her alone from time to time lol. From the bottom of my heart I can't thank you all enough.

 

So cheers to 20 years of IMPACT, Joker's Circus Airsoft Field, and yours truly the one and only Joker! And here's to hoping I can continue to make an IMPACT (pun intended) in Airsoft for many more years to come! Thanks for putting up with me all this time everyone.

 

~Joker

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Sturm

Congrats!

Neat summary of airsoft in our state.

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Crimson

Man, I have only been here less than half of all that.. what memories have been made.   Great post here is to 20 more.  Impact for life........ 

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bipfog2

Awesome stuff. Congrats look forward to the next 20

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Spectra

Cheers! 

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amazonwoman

This post is very well written! Very inspiring Joker!

I have observed your leadership’s skills through loads of archived posts where you’ve offered players’ many many necessary information in order to survive airsoft!

I learned integrity in airsoft from you!

I had no idea how lengthy the process was until the creation of this forum! I always took Airsoft Indiana for granted! Not anymore!

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Sith

IMPACT was the first team I ever heard about, stumbling onto these forums eight years ago. You hosted the only free/community game I'd seen in years Nov. 2016 where we got a chance to finally meet. Cheers buddy

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Joker

Thanks everyone for the especially kind words. It's all very much appreciated.

 

I plan on celebrating by being as active as I possibly can be this year. So hopefully I will run into about everyone on the field at some point this year. Thanks again.

 

~Joker

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tacelectric

The help you have given others over the years doesn't go unnoticed. Wish you the best thanks for all.

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