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SPLAT! You've been 'balled

April 22, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

HEBER BEACH DUNES— A paintball zoomed through a bush to hit Calexico High School junior Wesley Anderson in the leg.

Three down. One to go.

Someone was left.

Three paintballers crouching behind Heber Beach dunes shrubbery looked around nervously as Anderson trudged off to the side of the desert battleground to join his fallen teammates.

One of the remaining paintballers, Calexico High sophomore Jonathan Pacheco, hollered, "Where you at?"

Behind him!

William Moreno Junior High School student Jesse Martell sprung from behind his cover and ran toward Jonathan, firing away.

Jonathan returned a barrage of paintballs.

Splat! Right on the face mask.

Cheers erupted from Jonathan's teammates as Jesse held up his hands.


"Aww, that was a lucky shot," one of Jesse's teammates said.

As Jesse and Jonathan walked back to base camp they talked about the standoff.

Why didn't Jesse attack Jonathan earlier when he had the chance?

"I was just there …, " he trailed off and made a sound to finish the sentence that sounded like "grrggeiuv."

When translated, that might mean he was thinking about too many different things at the time and didn't jump out earlier even though he had the chance.

It could mean "grrggeiuv," too.


The guys were having a good time.

Jonathan smiled a champ's smile as he reloaded his gun in the shade of a salt cedar.

In the past few months, Calexico high schoolers Jonathan, Jesse, Ray Lopez, Roger Pacheco and a good number of Calexico teens, including Willie Moreno student Alex Nyul, have met at the Heber Beach Dunes on Saturday mornings to battle each other in paintball wars.

Most of their gear has been ordered off the Internet or purchased at El Centro's paintball shop.

The teens are hoping to get a bunch more people out here in the dunes in the future to join them.

To do that, Jonathan and Arturo "Smurf" Sotelo, a fellow Calexico High sophomore, have set up Web sites that feature links to online paintball retailers and announcements of upcoming paintball games.

The Web sites are and

On a recent Saturday at the dunes, the camouflaged Calexico teens were getting ready to play when they noticed a couple unfamiliar vehicles drive up.

It turned out the people in the sport-utility vehicles were Calexico Police Department Explorer Scouts.

Officer Scott Ketchum said the Explorers recently purchased a bunch of gear — "all out of our own pocket" — in order to play.

And that includes Ketchum, "Oh, yeah, I'm playing. I'm full-on playing," he said.

In addition to Ketchum and another officer, 12 Explorers finished up their Jack-in-the-Box breakfast and got ready to do battle.

As they opened up their new guns — "Wal-Mart specials," Ketchum said — yet another group pulled up to play.

These guys were Sheriff's Office Explorers whom Ketchum knew.

So, while Jonathan, Smurf and their gang played on one side of the dunes, the Explorers played on the other side.

All total, there were about 35 paintballers battling on a recent Saturday morning.

Jonathan said there is plenty more space available.

"We want to see this get as big as we can," he said.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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