34 as in Thirty-Four!!!!!
34! Can you believe it? 34! This year will be my 34th National Skydiving Championships! I’ve traveled to Muskogee, Oklahoma, Deland, Sebastian, Eloy, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York and Perris. I’ve gone with practiced teams, pick-up teams, playing to win and no chance of winning. It’s the most amazing event in Skydiving and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Competitors of all disciplines are some of the most passionate skydivers there are. Trying to perform at your best and show the world what you can do in the heat of competition is only one part of it. Very few teams actually go with the goal of winning a medal. There is so much more to win than that. You have many of the best skydivers in the world sharing the skies, the planes, and a seat at the bar, with newly “B” Licensed jumpers at their first Nationals. And the Champions are as excited to meet the novices as the novices are the Champions! The bond built at the Nationals between competitors of all levels, across all disciplines, is truly unique and different than the bond built at a boogie or another event. You’ll leave the Nationals having made new, amazing friendships. You’ll never want to miss a Nationals because it becomes the annual reunion when you rekindle those friendships.
34! Did I mention this is my 34th Nationals?! My mother still asks me every year when I’m going to stop. There is nothing that could keep me away. But better yet, this time I get to welcome all of you to my home at Skydive Perris!! If you’ve never competed before, even if you still don’t have a team, you’ll want to be a part of the Nationals. Pick a discipline you enjoy, throw a team together with your friends, have a great time and cheer on the champions as they battle it out for the Gold. All of us are there because we love the sport and the community. There are no big prizes. The winning teams don’t walk away with money or endorsements, (they actually walk away in debt). But we all walk away having made some of the best skydives of our lives with friendships that will last for decades. I promise, you won’t regret it.
A Little Nationals History:
1989 was the first year air to air video was used for judging at the Nationals. Prior to that it was done from ground to air video or telemeters. The 4way FS Competition was done out of Cessna 182s which only carry 4 people. In order to be able to film using air to air cameramen they would send up five Cessnas at a time. Four Cessnas that each had a 4way team and one that had four cameramen in it. The four Cessnas with the teams would drop 2 minutes apart while the Cessna with the cameramen would do four passes flying formation with each plane and dropping the cameraman from the trail plane. It was amazing to watch and even more exciting to be a part of! (Being the nostalgic person I am I tried to make this the plan for this year but couldn’t find enough Cessna 182s to get the meet done in two days with 80 teams.)
At the 1999 Nationals in Sebastian competitors from across the country had gathered for the meet. But before the meet even started everyone had to evacuate because of a hurricane. After the first storm passed and before the second one moved in all the competitors returned and jumped in between some of the most amazing clouds (never through the clouds of course) to get the meet done. Hardly any teams left. (The roads and local airports were pretty much closed so they couldn’t leave)
See you for the time of your life at Nationals in September!!!