0
xenaswampjumper

Muff Muff Johnny Gates...........

Recommended Posts

Yeah Hoo!

Just before my 100th jump, someone noted that I was sporting the same color jumpsuit as Johnny. So, I got a fake beard (there happened to be one lying around), put on a frap hat, and started walking like Johnny, and I started screaming "YEAH HOOO!" and flipping everyone off.

That day, the curse of Johnny Gates was born. (My 100th ended with a broken leg).

FOURTH IMPORTANT SAFETY BRIEFING -- DONT IMITATE JOHNNY GATES!

I wasn't very close to him, but I was sad to hear he died. Of course, once I heard HOW he died... I just had to say "what a cool motherfucker."

Blue Skies Johnny... Say Hi to Cliff for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There were at least two memorial dives for Johnny yesterday at ZHills. The first was an earmuff-shaped RW formation with a simulated release of ashes (Johnny was not creamated). The rumor was that they emptied a couple of ashtrays from the Muff Bros. trailer - more than enough for a big bag.

The second jump was an RW formation of the letter "M" sequenced to the letter "B". It went very well. There was a high overcast allowing for great visability of both jumps by the folks on the ground.

The second load was on jumprun at 4:19 pm, with an exit at 4:20. Go figure. I think Johnny had a hand in making that work out. We'll miss you, you old Asshole. ;)

Kevin K.
_____________________________________
Dude, you are so awesome...
Can I be on your ash jump ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hello to you all, Johnny's sister here. I am looking for the source of the beautiful picture (sitting in the bomber) that we chose to display at the funeral. That picture put me in such a place of peace. If anyone can e-mail the picture I would love to have it as a keepsake. I am almost breathless at the outpouring of love for my brother. He truly found heaven on earth in his sport and all his friends. We should all live so well. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It really helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks to all for the pics. Johnny Gates muffed me on my tandem and was my mentor and inspiration. He was the angel on earth for many of us. He landed his last jump with his own wings at twilight(sunset) a magical time on earth. What an exit Johnny, I am still learning and listening. I love you Muff Muff See Ya. Joanne Muff # 2928

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I dunno if ya heard yet Mark, but Darrell will be taking care of the Muff Stuff.
Here's a link to a story about Johnny and the rest of us Assholes an outdoors writer did a few years ago. I'm not that great on computers but I'll try to post the photo that went with it.
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/07/17/Pasco/Taking_the_plunge.shtml
Muff Muff!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I dunno if ya heard yet Mark, but Darrell will be taking care of the Muff Stuff.
Here's a link to a story about Johnny and the rest of us Assholes an outdoors writer did a few years ago. I'm not that great on computers but I'll try to post the photo that went with it.
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/07/17/Pasco/Taking_the_plunge.shtml



Quote

Outdoors
Taking the plunge
Uncertainity fills the mind, fright temporarily freezes the body, but after finally braving the leap for your first skydive, it is a high you never will forget.
By ERIK JACOBS
Published July 17, 2004

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


ZEPHYRHILLS - "It will change your life," Johnny Gates shouted as a parting shot while I found my way back to my car after my first visit to Skydive City.

I had arrived at Skydive City via Freefall Drive and Skydive Lane and was set to inquire about skydiving when I was distracted by a white tent with the words "Muff Oasis" printed on the canopy.

Walking past a "Residents Only" sign, I approached a half-dozen people relaxing in the shade. The Muff Oasis, I discovered, is a shelter for the Muff Brothers, an international skydivers organization of more than 3,400 men and women worldwide who live to jump out of planes. The association started in Texas when Dennis McGlynn donned a pair of earmuffs during a jump just for a laugh. Soon it turned into an ideology.

"We take all the negative stuff in the world and make fun of it," said Gates, a 65-year-old grandfather, retired auto mechanic and Muff Brother No. 65. "If you are goofy enough to put on a set of earmuffs and fall through the sky, then that's what it is all about." Gates made his first jump "November 1, 1981; I remember it like an anniversary," he said. Since that day, Gates has been hooked.

"My whole life changed," Gates said. "When I worked, I always put money away to go to local boogies (skydiving rallies). Everything I didn't have to spend I put away."

Two weeks later, I was ready to try it myself. As the Muff Brothers choreographed their free-fall formations, my altimeter sitting comfortably at 0 feet above sea level, I watched gray clouds threaten to fill in the last few gaps of blue sky needed for us to jump.

Sweating under my jumpsuit, I decided to review my game plan: Jump. That was all I had to do. But today, that little bit of knee extension and hip flexion I had been perfecting since my preschool days on the jungle gym possessed a threat greater than a scraped up knee.

I was going to be doing a tandem jump, which meant I would have a licensed skydiver attached to my back. Jody Conn was my man. Never before had I trusted my life so entirely to a single person.

After three minutes of instruction, Conn deemed me ready to jump. Though Conn was going to carry the parachute, pull the rip cord and steer us to the ground, three minutes didn't seem sufficient to instruct someone to jump out of a plane. "Are you certain you want to do this?" Conn said.

"Yes?" I replied with as much certainty as I could muster.

"Great," Conn said sarcastically. "I was hoping for a break."

As I gathered myself and started approaching the airplane, a skydiver walked past. The first three words on the back of his shirt caught my eye.

"You'll be fine," it said. "Just don't do anything stupid."

"What, like jump out of a plane?" I thought. From then on, my memory becomes foggy.

I had been told the experience was so intense your senses become overloaded and memory is compromised. In fact, before loading the plane, Joanne Lyons, another skydiver on my load, leaned over and said, "Try and remember this."

Ironically, that is one of the few details I remember. It is a simple matter of deduction that the plane took off, but I can't recall it.

About 20 of us sat in between each other's legs on the floor facing the rear of the plane.

When the first two exited, I looked out at the miniature neighborhoods framed in the open doorway and thought to myself, "Boy, are we high." A quick glance at the altimeter, however, indicated we were at 5,000 feet - not even halfway to our 13,500-foot jump altitude.

I knew I was running out of time when the pilot announced "13,500." Without any good-byes the plane began hemorrhaging people from the hole in its side. I was one of the last.

Standing at the doorway, I looked down at the ground, my stomach knotted with the realization of what I was getting ready to do. Before any rational thoughts could interfere however, Conn began the count, "3-2-1-JUMP!"

When faced with the danger that jumping out of a plane presents, the old fight or flight response becomes confusing and invalid. I had two options:

A. Fight. Confront my fear and jump out of this open door.

Or B. Take flight. But wait, wouldn't that require me to jump out of this door too?

My will to stay alive obviously was confused. So for no better reason, I jumped.

As I left the safety of the plane and began accelerating up to 115 mph, my mind flooded my body with a panicked message, "Warning, you have just made a fatal error in judgment. Prepare to die." I'm certain I screamed the whole way down. Fortunately, I couldn't hear my own hysteria over the roaring sound of the air rushing past. Eventually, I got up to speed, the error message subsided and everything became strangely calm and serene. The ground was headed quickly toward me but seemed to be a safe distance away.

In the meantime, Gates and fellow Muff Brother Joe Rogers floated over to me as smoothly as if we were underwater. After we locked arms in a formation and posed for a few pictures, there was a harsh tug at the straps wrapped around my legs and the parachute was open.

Sixty seconds after leaving the plane, the roar in my ears stopped and at 4,000 feet we danced above 20 canopies open below my feet.

Did it change my life, as Gates said it would?

The Hardee's Thick Burger on the way home tasted the same as it always did. And the traffic was no more or less tolerable.

But fooling my body into thinking it was near death then coming out alive has seemed to make some of those mundane aspects of my day seem a bit more enjoyable and well deserved.

"Don't take life too seriously; you are only going to be here once," Gates said. He logs every jump he makes into a diary. At the end of his entry on his 3,375 plunge, he finished with "Yahoo, fun-."

I couldn't have said it better. "Yahoo, fun."

[Last modified July 17, 2004, 01:00:37]


Leroy


..I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw my bath toys were a toaster and a radio...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From Skydver in the Incidents forum:

Quote

As the leader of the Muff Brothers, Johnny was a legend in his own time, organizing fun loads at the WFFC, assigning Muff numbers, hosting the annual Muff Brothers Reunion at Zephyrhills, doing his 4th of July fireworks for the dropzone, and chairing various safety meetings. His departure leaves a void in the Skydive City family which we cannot yet begin to think about filling. Johnny was our friend, and we will miss him dearly.

MUFF MUFF my brother


Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At WFFC 04, Johnny Gates jumped with me on a magic carpet ride and presented me with my Muff Brothers card afterwords. It was a great jump, and I'll never forget him and everyone else giving me the "one finger salute" in freefall. B|

I'm sad to hear of his death, but I would imagine that going out after a great skydive would suit him fine.

Blue Skies Johnny!!!

MB 3528, RB 1182

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First met Johnny at Skydive Pheonix in Z-hills in 94, almost lost my muffs so with one hand on my head I couldn't dock on the 10 way! That pissed me off for a couple of years until I went on another muff load at Quincy in '97. I was the only one to actually dock with Johnny on an 8 way zoo load, and then he tried to kiss me! What a guy :)

Blue Skies, Black Crotchless panties! Won't be the same without you brother.

Salsa Rodriguez, Muff # 1528

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0