When telling any story, there can be different versions depending on the story teller and their perspective and relation to the events being recounted. The history of Dynasty, and how they came to be, is no different. That being said, I am going to put down on paper the story of Dynasty as I know it.
To start at the beginning you’re going to have to go back to May of 1997 When 4 of Dynasty’s players played their first tournament, the Mare Island Cup at Mare Island Paintball Games in Vallejo, CA. Alex Fraige and Oliver Lang entered a team called The Monkeys, and Ryan Greenspan and Yosh Rau entered a team called The A-Team. Both teams participated in the tournament, and that’s about all that can be said for it. Later that year, both teams played again, and this time did respectably. At this time Oliver was playing on a local team called Positive Impact.
That November, Alex, Oliver, Ryan, and Yosh made the trip to San Diego to participate in the Great Western Series (now XPSL) final tournament of the year. Beyond the fact that they were there, there isn’t much to tell.
The following year, 1998, the same four players teamed up to play as Lofty in the Great Western Series. By this time they were beginning to understand tournament paintball, and finished 2nd and 3rd a number of times. They were also practicing with Bob Long’s Ironmen on a regular basis, to which I credit a great deal of their success.
I firmly believe that the only way to improve is by playing against the best competition you can find.
At the end of 1998, Alex, Oliver, and Yosh made the trip to the World Cup in Orlando with some other local players. The team was short 2 players, and through a friend, they were put in touch with two players from Southern California willing to make the trip and play. Those two players were Kevin Bredthauer and Brian Cole.
The team played at World Cup in the Novice Division as KAPP Factory Team. Ryan Greenspan was also at World Cup, but was playing with Outta Control. KAPP Factory went through the preliminary rounds with one of the highest scores at the tournament, but did not make it out of the semi-finals.
In 1999, Ryan Greenspan and Oliver Lang were playing the NPPL Amateur Division with Outta Control, and Alex Fraige, Yosh Rau, and Angel Fragoza were playing with The Diggers. It was in 1999 that Alex Fraige and Oliver Lang came up with the concept that, I believe, is when Dynasty truly began. I remember being at Alex’s house when he and Oliver said they wanted to make a “kids” team to play in the Great Western Series.
I know I mentioned The Great Western Series before, but here’s some background. The Great Western Series ran tournaments around the west coast with an amateur and novice division. It was the best competition available besides the NPPL, and many top pro and amateur players from the NPPL also played in the Great Western Series. In 1998, the Great Western Series Amateur Division was won by the Ironmen II. That team went on to become Bob Long’s Ironmen, and win the NPPL series title in their first year as a pro team.
So Alex and Oliver had a vision to create The IronKids. At that time, there were no “kids” teams, so this was a truly unique concept. They knew exactly what they wanted to do, and asked if I’d help, as well as play on the team. I thought the idea was great, and said I’d love to be a part of it. The only problem was that the first event in Las Vegas was right around the corner, and I couldn’t make that. It was on that day that the IronKids were born, and with that, Dynasty.
In Las Vegas, the IronKids were Alex Fraige, Oliver Lang, Ryan Greenspan, Yosh Rau, Angel Fragoza, Brian Cole, Kevin Bredthauer, Davey Williamson, Whit Piece, Todd Martinez, Sonny Garcia and Mike Fontayne.
After Las Vegas, the IronKids roster was finalized. The IronKids were: Alex Fraige, Oliver Lang, Ryan Greenspan, Yosh Rau, Brian Cole, Kevin Bredthaur, Todd Martinez, Angel Fragoza, Eric Roberts, Davey Williamson, Whit Pierce, and Eric Crandall. Davey Williamson and Eric Roberts were already playing pro at the time with the Ironmen, and were the two pro players allowed on the roster.
The IronKids did something that had never been done before. They won every 10-man event on the Great Western Series. To top it off, they also won four out of five 5-man events. The competition on this series was very good, with teams made up of the top players from the west coast. I think it’s fairly safe to say that nearly all the pro players from California played the Great Western Tournaments at one time, as well as lots of pro’s from other places.
Playing on the IronKids was one of the best experiences of my life. At 21, I was one of the “old guys” on the team along with Davey, Eric, and Kevin. Brian Cole was 15, Alex and Oliver were 16, Ryan, Yosh, and Whit were 17, Angel was 18, and Todd was 20. The average age of the team was 18, which may not sound like anything special now, but in 1999, it was unheard of. Every tournament was a great time. We were hanging out with our friends and playing paintball. I think what made the IronKids special then is exactly the same thing that makes Dynasty special now. Beyond talent, the IronKids, and now Dynasty, have an amazing bond amongst the team members.
Here is the text from an article published in the September 18, 1999 issue of Paintball News about the IronKids which can be found on page 54.
For most sixteen year olds, creating a dominant tournament team is little more than a dream Two kids from the San Francisco Bay Area have lived that dream—along with 10 of their friends. That dream is called the “IronKids”.
Oliver Lang and Alex Fraige started playing paintball when they were 14. They played their first local tournament at Mare Island Paintball Games, in Vallejo, California, and didn’t do well. At their next tournament, they got fourth place. With some friends they’d met playing walk-on paintball at Mare Island, they formed a ten-man team. They traveled to the Great Western Series Championship and while competing in the Novice division, learned they still had a long way to go. That was November, 1997, and since then, Oliver and Alex have earned places on two of the top ten NPPL Amateur A teams, but they still wanted their own team, and their own success. So the two of them set out to make it happen.
The first step was easy. All of their friends agreed they’d like to play on the same team, but there were two problems. First, the Great Western Las Vegas tournament was just a couple weeks away. Second, three of their players were unable to make the trip. But Oliver and Alex were not to be stopped. They made the calls to find substitute player; they arranged for entrance fees and hotels and plane tickets. These are challenging details to handle for any team captain, but even more so if you’re only 16. Ever tried getting a hotel room or a rental car at that age? Impossible. Again, their intelligence and persistence overcame every obstacle that was thrown at them, and the Ironkids went to Vegas.
The Ironkids roster included Alex and Oliver along with 17-year-olds Yosh Rau from the Diggers, and Ryan Greenspan from Outta Control, 15-year-old Brian Cole and 21-year-old Kevin Bredthauer from Krusade, and Todd Martinez, 20, from the Turtles. They picked up 21-year-old Davey Williamson from the SC Ironmen as well. It was these eight that made up the core of the Ironkids’ first place 5 and 10-man teams. 21-year-olds Eric Roberts and Eric Crandall would make the trip to San Diego, as would 18-year-old Angel Fragoza from the Diggers. The Outsiders Whit Pierce, 17, for the Portland tournament, filling out the roster with an average age of 18.
What Alex and Oliver had succeeded in doing was bringing together 12 of the top young players in California. For some teams, having 12 kids would be a problem. With this group, it was the answer. After winning the 5 and 10-man Amateur in Las Vegas, the Ironkids won the Amateur 5 and 10-player divisions in the San Diego Great Western, followed by a 5-man victory at the SC Village “Summer Slam”. Most recently, the Ironkids once again took first place in the Amateur 5 and 10-player events at the Portland Great Western. Seven tournaments and seven victories. The number of games lost can be counted on one hand.
Alex and Oliver had put together what so far has amounted to an unstoppable force. They delegated responsibility to those who had the resources and responsibility to make it succeed. Davey Williamson and Eric Crandall share the captain duties. With a combined 15 years experience between them, they were best suited to making reservations, getting sponsors, and handling the on-field duties of a captain. For two 16-year-old kids to make that call is incredible. Then again, so are Alex and Oliver. Every member of the Ironkids takes an active part in helping to further the Ironkids success. These 12 unique young men have combined to create a totally awesome experience for everyone involved.
The Ironkids’ success is the result of hard work and dedication by all 12 players, as well as how the individual skills mesh on the field. Most importantly, the success of the Ironkids corresponds to how the 12 players interact off the field. The Ironkids’ have fun on and off the playing field, and that chemistry has resulted in a top notch tournament paintball team. Portland, like San Diego and Las Vegas was nonstop fun. The 12 players have an incredible time together. They played 5-on-5 basketball, they played paintball in their rental house (without paint and air), and they just had a blast. It’s this relationship they have with each other off the field that makes being on the field so incredibly fun. And they win because they’re having fun.
What the Ironkids put on the field is 12 young men who have balanced a competitive attitude with having fun. This unique combination was recognized early on by a number of sponsors. Mare Island Paintball brought together most of the “kids” and provides them with a place to play—which they do nearly every weekend. There’s more to being competitive and having fun than just wanting it. Having the necessary equipment and backing is important too. Jerry, John, Jay, and Alycia with Diggers Paintball Shoes also played a key role in the allowing the Ironkids to realize the success that they have. Richard at Great American Paintballs has been incredible as well. Dave at DYE barrels, Chuck at JT USA, Kevin at Super K Web Design, Rose from Unique Sporting, Chris at KAPP Products, and Kevin at Kustom Graphic Apparel are the other sponsors that allowed the Ironkids dream to come true. It’s these sponsors whose equipment and support allow the Ironkids to live up to their full potential. Without the incredible vision these companies showed in supporting these young men and their dream, non of this could ever have happened. The Ironkid’s success is a result of all of these sponsors’ commitment to the best.
Alex and Oliver succeeded where almost everyone fails. They turned their dream into a reality by creating a fun and successful team. For this, these two young men should be applauded. All the members of the team are thankful to be able to play on a team where everyone is not just part of the team, but part of a family. The Ironkids have Alex Fraige and Oliver Lang to thank for the wonderful times they’ve had, and all the fun to come. These two 16-year-old kids created what may just be the most successful team in the history of the Great Western Series, and the team definitely has the most fun. If they can do it, you can too.
After the IronKids, the same core of players hooked up with Chris Hagin from KAPP Products to play as KAPP Factory.
They played in the Amatuer Divison of the NPPL during the 2000 season and had an excellent year, finishing 1st in the overall standings. Outta Control’s roster consisted of: Alex Fraige, Ryan Greenspan, Angel Fragoza, Yosh Rau, Tom Palechek, Chris Hagin, Jon Almera, Opie Loughran, Tim Peters, Kenny Chamberlain, Kevin Bredthauer, Chuck Hendch, and Brad Maughan.
Oliver Lang turned pro with the Ironmen, becoming the youngest pro at age 17. He immediately made a name for himself at the Mardi Gras open by shooting all 5 Image players in a finals game. The Ironmen went on to win the NPPL Pro Divison that year as well.
Todd Martinez was picked up by the Ironmen and quickly changed teams again, moving to Avalanche.
For 2001, Chuck Hendsch, now the president of the NPPL, took most of the members of Outta Control, and formed a new pro team, Dynasty. There is a little confusion as to who came up with the name Dynasty, but as best we can figure it, Ryan Greenspan was the one who thought it up.
Dynasty played the 2001 pro season with the following players on their roster: Alex Fraige, Ryan Greenspan, Rodney Squires, Chuch Hendsch, Angel Fragoza, Opie Loughran, Johnny Perchak, Brad Maughan, Glen Forster, Kevin Bredthauer, Sonny Lopez, Marcus Nielsen, Andy Kopcok, and Brian Cole.
They had the following record. 3rd LA open, 12th Gettysburg, 3rd Chicago open, reffed Atlantc City, 1st World Cup. 3rd Toulouse France, 3rd England.
In 2001 Dynasty began what today is an unprecedented run. Given their current success, it’s hard to imagine that until Dynasty came around, it was impressive just to make the finals most of the time.
2002 was a big year for Dynasty. They went on an amazing winning streak, but more importantly, Oliver Lang returned to the team. In the midst of the 2003 season, Dynasty went through the ground breaking process of incorporating themselves, so that they would be self-owned.
The 2004 season was another amazing year for Dynasty. Todd Martinez and Yosh Rau rejoined the team, truly bring all the original IronKids back together. (I don’t count Eric Roberts and Davey Williamson since they were already playing on the Ironmen at the time, and Whit and myself don’t play anymore).
So that is a story of Dynasty, and where they came from. There are so many people who supported the entire process, and without their contribution, Dynasty would not ever have been. I think they all know who they are. I’d particularly like to single out Jason Bedell, who was the driving force in Lofty, and a member of the World Cup Team. Bob Long, who is unquestionably one of the greatest paintball minds ever, who let “the kids” practice with his team. Richard Fraige, who supplied all the paint they could shoot, allowing the team top play and practice as much as they wanted, which was a lot. Chris Hagin who kept them going during 2000. Chuck Hendsch, who helped Dynasty turn pro, and become what they are today. I’d also especially like to thank the original sponsors of the IronKids who supported something new and groundbreaking. It’s amazing to think that their support led to this. Even more amazing is that JT and GAP are still two of the teams biggest sponsors at supporters.
So there it is. An idea of how the best professional team in the world, and maybe ever, came to be. They started out with a dream, and haven’t stopped trying to live it.