Writeups for BBT and Belsales
Well, we are back to trying to get the main site of Customcockers.com done, which includes the writeups. Below are two that I've been working on and I thought I'd post em up and see if anyone had commentary, additions or corrections. I am especially unhappy with the Belsales article and feel it is probably incomplete compared to what it should be, dates especially were hard to find.
n 1991 Rennick Miller opened a small shop he called Bad Boyz Toyz in his garage using the business license from the family lumber yard to help out fellow players who were having trouble getting gear. It proved so popular he moved to an actual storefront in 1992 and even opened a second store that year. In 1993 he opened his third store and a 4th and the field Badlandz in 1996.
By the time Rennick started to make paintball a business, he had already been playing tournament ball for a number of years with close friend Gary Noblett, and this would serve to launch BBT into history. In 1991, Rennick agreed to merge his team “Scream” with one of the strongest teams of the 80’s, the “Lords of Discipline” after LoD was banned from Lively Productions events (at the time the major tournament promoter) after an on field brawl with another team. This new team was named Aftershock and it would feature such Names as Rennick, Noblett, and “Spud” Jackson. In 1993, Danny Love and Mike Bruno joined up. Not only did this create the team to beat on the NPPL 10man Pro circuit, it also gave BBT one of the top cocker techs in the world at the time.
With the combination of a popular Chicago land store front, one of the top cocker techs and one of the best known teams; BBT quickly became one of the most recognized names for top of the line autocockers with their Stage 1,2 and 3 series. Many considered the Belsales Evolution the only worthy competitor to the Stage 3. While Belsales used the stock parts and tuned and matched them, BBT took a completely different approach by developing new technology such as the RAT valve.
In 1996 BBT Upgraded the ante with the release “Westwood” series created by its namesake, Dan Westwood. At $1700 it redefined the top end of autocockers (and their price tags). Besides the craftsmanship, tuning and parts work; a huge portion of the cost came from the radical milling, the first true production CNC milling on a custom cocker line.
In 1999, The era of the Westwood ended, and marked the leaving of Noblett and Jackson of Aftershock as chronicled in the movie PUSH. BBT kept the Name Bad Boyz Toyz for its storefronts, but the name Shocktech was used for the product lines. The Westwood was replaced by the SFL (Super F’ing Lite) , which was much more modestly priced and relied on new technology to achieve a similar performance to the Westwood. With the help of Mark Davis of PMS/Nitroduck, BBT also began to produce budget lines for Chris Cole, 32* and PMI as well as their own hookup series.
By 2005 BBT announced its termination of its last autococker lines, including the SFL derivatives to focus on the newer guns.
Named after its founders Keith and Steve Belsey; Belsales Performance opened in 1989 as a small paintball shop in England. They quickly became Worr Game’s representative in England and were one of the first factory authorized service centers. In 1994 Belsales took the initiative and launched their “Evolution” autococker.
The Evolutions had the distinction of being the first non WGP line to receive full warrantee from WGP despite many novel advancements like threaded timing rods, the reverse P block, wire ball detents and cosmetic milling and later innovations such as the REX kit, twister externally adjustable sledgehammer, and angry 3-way. Belsales quickly earned two reputations, the first for meticulous perfection, the other for being a mostly stock over priced stock cocker. These reputations came about due to Belsales use of hand matched parts and outright rejection of bodies and parts that didn’t meet their standards. The standard anno was grey, but commonly came in a variety of splash colors. Belsales also made a strategic alliance with Smart Parts as its US distributor that would cause some variations between the US and UK models (Despite common misconception, Smart Parts never manufactured the Evolution, they solely served as US distributors). In the UK, three Evolution variants were produced with a varying level of accessories (Evolution, Evolution Jetstream and Evolution Supernova). The US version was equivalent to the top end Supernova, however came with a SP barrel and Max-Flo compressed air system.
In 1995 the UK Predators (top UK team and a solid world contender) agreed to switch to shooting autocockers and the Belsales Predator series was born. Early Predator cockers were built off left feed Evolution bodies anodized in the Predators trademark green and only later took on the signature milling and engraving of the line. Unlike the Evolution series, Belsales US distributor for the Predator series was WGP themselves.
In 1999 Belsales ended their 90’s cocker lines with the limited edition “Last of the Millennium” series. The Predator Series was discontinued and the Evolution series was replaced by the Evolution X series. The Evo X series, as they came to be known, featured a number of new components including roller sears, rams and later hinge frames, eblades and race frames and anodizing options were limited to fades. Eclipse and Belsales would collaborate on many of the parts with Belsales designing and producing such Eclipse parts as the Magnum rams.
In 2005 Belsales and Eclipse ended their partnership due to Smart Parts increasing focus on their own products.
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