A Decade of SkyFestBy on 2010-05-03
SkyFest celebrates 10 years of giving back to the sport of skydiving this June 15-21st at one of the top-rated dropzones in the country. Yes, that is right- the event will be at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia, adding more to the already incredible history of this unique event: The Boogie that “Pays it Skyward.”
The Dive Plan
SkyFest (SF) and the Skydiving Scholarship Fund were established after Jerry’s death to continue his efforts in keeping upcoming jumpers safer and longer in the sport. Jerry believed that coaching programs provide the bridge between student status and becoming a safer, experienced, long-term skydiver. He also knew that we needed more skydivers to get involved in coaching, if nothing else, for the education alone. The Fund has donated thousands of dollars to many jumpers over the south/south east over the years. Several DZ’s work closely to distribute the funds raised to offer free coaching jumps, cover the cost of canopy control courses, or even help with obtaining ratings. Jerry believed that we lose our jumpers between 25 to 100 jumps due to the fact that they had no one to jump with and would simply give up. And with today’s coaching fees, it’s even more prevalent than the old days when the pioneers loved passing their knowledge on for free. We simply took the ways of the days of ole and created an environment that would endorse their beliefs. The Load Organizers (LO) that have participated at SkyFest unknowingly created a “vibe” that sparked a true essence of what it’s about, much more than ever expected. They truly create something that cannot be expressed with words.
Jerry was one of the first skydiving instructor/examiners in the sport. Jerry started jumping in 1959 and had accumulated over 3500 jumps and flying hours as an instructor not only in skydiving, but also in many types of aircraft. He was a CFI in single engine, land and sea, dual engine, helicopter, lighter-than-air, gliders, and had an ATP rating. He traveled all over the world with his wife Sherry as she judged skydiving events. Sherry was the Chief Judge for most of the US Nationals in the 70’s and 80’s, and she went on to become USPA’s only female President in its history. They operated The Dallas Parachute Association in Seagoville, Texas from the late 60’s to the mid 80’s where their 3 children learned to pack by the time they were 6 years old. Together, they dedicated their lives to the safety, growth, and retention of the sport they loved.
Mentoring and coaching became Jerry's goal early in his 41 years of skydiving history. He immediately saw the need that many students still struggle with today over 50 years later. Students do not have anyone to work with unless they pay for a coach after completing the AFF (Accelerated Freefall) or Static Line course. Never asking for anything in return, Jerry donated his time and money by sharing his knowledge with the new or experienced jumper as a safe and trusted “jump buddy”. He would be the first to take you by the hand and spend the day with you by inviting you on his skydives. Since the early 70’s, those who were around refer to themselves as one of “Jerry’s Kids”. To this day a “Jerry’s Kid” can be found in many places around the globe. Jerry believed continued education of the sport, its equipment and aircraft would create a safer environment in the sky and on the ground.
Jerry passed away on October 14, 2000 at the age of 65 from a heart attack, while deploying his main canopy, after completing a memorable skydive with some of "Jerry's Kids". We look at it as “he never landed” and died of “natural causes in his natural environment”.
Paying it Skyward at SF 10’
SkyFest will have many Load Organizers in most disciplines dedicated to assisting the new jumper in advancing their skills, safety, and awareness by creating low pressure dives that anyone can feel comfortable being on. We encourage the newer jumpers to get there early so they may participate on the SCR (first 8 ways) jumps and eventually increase the size as the days pass. SkyFest is not run like most events, each LO has a specific “schedule” to follow, thus allowing each one to have the desired experienced jumpers to assist the new jumper - meaning we will have several LO’s dedicated to 8 way groups the first few days of the event, not allowing any big ways so we can ensure we have enough “players” to fulfill the needs of the young jumper. For those not quite ready for 8 ways, we have you covered as well. Every jump will include “coaching” in one way or another at no charge, so feel free to join us and take advantage of the experienced jumpers dedicated to spend time with you.
Many manufacturers will be present to provide you with the latest and greatest developments with their equipment in our sport. There will be a gear auction Saturday night that will enable you to get great deals on all types of equipment. The auction items will range from helmets, audible altimeters, to tunnel time, containers, and much more for you to bid on. We cannot express the gratitude we have towards the folks that have assisted SF over the years and the manufacturers for supporting the event.
We will have an Otter, Casa, Helicopter and possibly more to be announced. The Helicopter will be there all week offering jumps for only $60! The Casa will be the place to launch rafts, hoops, most inflatables, safe sex ways, and tube dives! SF usually draws folks from over 36 states and a dozen countries, a chance to see old friends and make new ones worldwide. Black Friday will be entertaining us with their great sound Friday Night. Lindsay Galloway and her ladies of Zazzua will be bellydancing the night away for us. Zazzua is an American Tribal Style (ATS) bellydance group. Let’s not forget the free beer, and of course, a chance to party “Farm Style”! With two natural swoop ponds, 55 acres, beautiful country side, and The ChutingStar Gear store, what more could you ask for?
We will be going for several State Records during the event, including Women’s 20+ ways. A raffle will be held to allow one lucky winner to go and jump with 19 women in hopes of obtaining a 20 Way Pink Patch! PUPS (Parachutist Under Phorty) will be making their debut to recruit jumpers to participate in their upcoming Record Attempt TBA. Rumor has it there may be a PUPS /POPS competition in the works! Need your first 8 way? Come join us as we support the Bob Buquor Memorial Star Crest Awards and participate in one of the oldest skydiving traditions in our sport! Safety is of upmost importance and violations of the rules will be strictly enforced. We will have designated swoop loads for the ponds. Let’s make this another safe SkyFest. Pre register now online at www.skyfestboogie.com and become a part of SkyFest’s incredible 10 year history. The boogie that truly “Pays it Skyward” has something for everyone!
Many thanks to everyone involved over the years!
The Schrimsher Family
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