ORLANDO – The entire concept, Spiros Kodouns is the first to admit, is probably a combination that a lot of people don’t usually associate one another with: Halloween activities ….. and paintball.
“The Halloween thing is kind of interesting, and it was something that grew,” said Kodouns, who owns and operates Orlando Paintball, the paintball field at 7215 Rose Ave. in Orlando.
The idea of doing something at his field for the Halloween season first came to him a few years ago, he said – and went nowhere.
“I thought, ‘Okay, a Halloween contest, that’s something we should do,’ ” he said. “It wasn’t a great success, though, because there was nothing catchy about it.”
So he let the idea drop …. until this year. Kodouns gave the idea of hosting a Halloween-themed event at his paintball field a second thought, and decided maybe it was worth exploring a second time, but in a different way.
“I thought, ‘Okay, we’re in a recession,’ and this whole thing grew,” he said. “It went from two phases to three.”
In an effort to excite people’s inner monster around this spooky time of year, Orlando Paintball is hosting a Halloween Contest from Oct. 24 through oct. 31, with a chance to win $1,000 in cash.
It will be, Kodouns said, the opportunity for a huge win for one person, and there are going to be three phases to this contest.
The first part, obviously, is the Costume Entry. Anyone who plays paintball or laser tag on their field in a costume will get in free between the contest dates, so just show up and play. Kodouns said Orlando Paintball would post all the contestants up at the same time on Nov. 1.
The second phase involves the judging of those costumes – by the general public. All the contestants will have their photos posted on the Orlando Paintball Facebook page. The contestant who gets the most number of Facebook “likes” wins the contest, and people can keep voting on their favorite contestant through Facebook from Nov. 1-7.
Finally, phase three is the “Deal or No Deal” part of this event. The winner, chosen by FB likes, will be asked to play a game of “DEAL or NO DEAL” back at Orlando Paintball, in an event that will be videotaped for everyone to see wen it gets posted on YOUTUBE.
What could be more fun, Kodouns said, than having an opportunity to play paintball or laser tag, scare people with their Halloween costume, and have a chance to win $1,000 cash.
To learn more, call Orlando Paintball at 407-294-0694 or log on to www.OrlandoPaintball.com.
“I call it the Monster Media Mashup,” he said. “There’s going to be a competition between people on our field. This is our first one. We’ve never done this before.”
Kodouns, a former engineer for IBM, has been operating Central Florida’s oldest paintball field for more than two decades – a career he owes in part to Sylvester Stallone, he said.
“It’s a crazy story,” he said. “I’ve had it since 1991. That’s 21 years. That’s the longest surviving paintball facility in all of Florida. It was my dream. And it all came about from watching Rambo movies.”
As a kid, Kodouns said, he loved those action-packed Rambo flicks.
“I’d watch these movies and I’d have fantasies where I’d see Rambo shooting everybody, and I thought, ‘Wow, Rambo is so cool, and he’s able to escape through 80 soldiers and make it out alive,’ and I said, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be cool to be that guy’ — except I don’t like killing people. But I also don’t want to get killed.”
Then he discovered the concept of paintball, a game where players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate opponents by tagging them with capsules containing water soluble dye. These paintballs are propelled from a paintball gun, and the game has become quite sophisticated, with organized competitions involving worldwide leagues, tournaments, and professional teams.
The technology behind paintball is even used as a form of training by military forces, law enforcement, para-military and security organizations.
When he tried playing the game himself, Kodouns felt he had discovered his passion.
“I was thinking, ‘Wow, I can make this better,’ “ he said. “The fact that I liked it so much led me to give away from career as an engineer at IBM and just actually do this full-time. I started it as part-time, and then it got bigger than me because I would try to inject my fantasy into it. My goal was to give them the best possible fantasy — and convert reality into fantasy.”
He set out to provide the most elaborate paintball field he possibly could.
“I have the largest indoor and outdoor facility,” he said. “You have to have the passion to do this. Our equipment is not your standard gear equipment. I have the best equipment. I don’t supply my customers with the cheapest rental equipment, either. I don’t want that. I have the best masks.”
And now, he said, Orlando Paintball is ready to see how many scares they can generate on the field – not from flying paintballs tagging people, but from those Halloween costumes worn by the players.
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