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jcd11235

Wes Rich (Rim World Video)

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Sadly, I heard yesterday that Wes Rich passed away. He suffered a heart attack last week, and was taken off life support yesterday.

Although I don't think he was an active jumper any longer, Wes owned and operated Rim World Video in Deland, and built some of the very best custom camera helmets in skydiving.

I'll remember fondly speaking with him in his shop on numerous weekends. Aside from being a very interesting character, I'll remember how his shop was always in perfect order. His meticulous nature made him very well suited to build the helmets upon which professional videographers could depend on to do the job with interfering in the skydive.
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Damn. [:/]

It was probably 2004 when I saw my first Wes helmet. I didn't even have enough jumps to fly a camera yet, but I was already fascinated by the helmet. By the time I was flying cameras, I knew I had to get one of his helmets, but I took the road less traveled and decided to try to build one myself since Wes offered the "instructions" on a CD for purchase. Trying to build one of these things yourself will give you a much larger respect for what that man did! I emailed him a few times for help/advice with the building process, and he was a bit standoffish the first few times, but with time he started not only answering all my questions, but eventually began emailing ME to ask how the helmet was coming along! The kicker was one day after I had finished my helmet, he sent me a bunch of his new ideas and some pictures and asked me what I thought of all them. I felt honored. He even mentioned wanting to use some of my pictures in the instructional video he had always planned on producing.

Even though I lived only an hour away from him, and jumped at DeLand now and then, I didn't get to meet Wes until months after I finished my helmet. I stopped by the shop one day while in town and talked with him for a few hours. He showed me all his crazy shop toys like potato guns and tennis ball launchers. He really loved building stuff... not just helmets. I am very glad I did get to meet the man behind my helmet. He was an interesting one of a kind character for sure.

I'm also very glad he got to have his work somewhat immortalized in the Sky Systems helmet he designed. Selfishly, for the skydiving community, I wonder what will become of his "build your own CCM" plans. Since building my helmet I have had numerous people ask me for a copy of his instructional CD, and each time I told them I refused to copy it, and they needed to buy it from him to fund his genius. Sadly, that option has passed along with him.

EDIT: Not less than an hour after writing this, an old friend emailed me asking where he could get instructions on how to build a CCM (I am pretty sure this was unrelated to my post... just a strange coincidence).
www.WingsuitPhotos.com

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Damn! Whatta lousy Monday.... I find out about Eli, and now, Wes.... Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Wes put me on my first square, at jump #48. The DZO nearly fired him, 'cause the DZO had a strict 50 jump rule, before you got to jump a square. And, both of them were on my last 'student' jump, which also ended up being a 4-way, two point, sunset load.

Visiting him in Deland, was one of those things I always tried to do, on every trip there. I hope his dog gets a good owner. He had a really nice dog, that 'talked' with me... a lot of talking, and always happy!

Thanks for all those early Saturday morning jumps, and that really cool barrel roll in 182! Oh yeah, and all those 'Zero-G' exits.... despite the dirty floor.....

Check's in the mail...........
Practice random acts of kindness, and senseless beauty...

And, give money for Mr Douglas! www.mrdouglas.org

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I guess I met Wes around the same time I met Rags and THAT is ancient history. I can't decide whether it was Atlanta in Jenkinsburg or at a LaGrange boogie, maybe even Palatka. Wherever it may have been we were friends for a long time. I just saw him a few weeks ago and it was just like old times. He was such a modest guy. Hard not to like. I don't think I ever saw him pissed off.

I'll be tipping one back for ya bro. Blue Skies!

jon

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Jon, I am guessing it was Jenkinsburg. That was where I met him, as well as Rags.
After posting the previous, I went back through the photos. This is that last 'student' jump of mine, with Wes being in another silly mood.... (first from the left)....
Yeah, you could not hang around him long, without becoming a friend....
Practice random acts of kindness, and senseless beauty...

And, give money for Mr Douglas! www.mrdouglas.org

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I wrote this in the video forum, but it deserves to go here as well...

This breaks my heart!

I was fortunate enough to travel to Deland in April and have Wes mold my head for one of his amazing helmets. I just received the completed helmet a few weeks ago. It is truly a masterpiece. If you didn't know Wes, you'd never guess from seeing him just how talented an artisan he was. He had a gift. No one in the world made helmets like Wes... And no one ever will... Wow. I don't think he'd jumped in a while, but he loved to tell old skydiving stories. In my brief meeting with him and a plethora of emails, I learned a lot from Wes. He will truly be missed.

This helmet already meant a lot too me. Now, I will cherish it that much more...

Thank you for everything Wes... Blue Skies...

Karen Lewis

Attachment: the best helmet ever made...
http://www.exitshot.com

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Yessir Jon.... That's Jeff Saunders, DZO of Westwind, formerly Green County... He died in the Cowboy's Caravan crash in '85. My first sight of someone in freefall beside me, was Jeff.... with a big-ass grin on his face!! In fact, Wes was the pilot that Saturday morning. It was one of my 20sec-delay jumps. Then, we 'punched' a little cloud. Two cool moments on that jump! I do not recall the fourth person's name. The logbook was stolen in '86....Grrrrr
Practice random acts of kindness, and senseless beauty...

And, give money for Mr Douglas! www.mrdouglas.org

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I've had the opportunity to meet some great people in this sport and to also meet some people who are Greats in this sport. Wes was one of those Greats and I'm happy to have known him and proud to have had him as a friend. Sad to say I haven't seen him much the past couple of years. I'll miss being able to tell him that "Your Canon is ok, but when you get serious and learn a bit about photography... I might let you hold my Nikon." Photography, blues music, and big brimmed hats... that's what I'll always carry in my mind to remember Wes.

Wes was from a different era in the sport and one of those 'One-of-a-kind' dudes. There aren't many of his ilk around anymore. There are many incredible skydivers in Deland, but there are four in particular I hold in high esteem: Gus Wing, Wes Rich, Rags Raghanti, and Charlie Kenlin. We've lost Gus and Wes. If you didn't get a chance to know them, you've missed out on a chance of a lifetime. If you don't know Rags or Charlie, now's your chance to make a pilgrimage to Deland, seek out these men, buy them a drink, and listen and learn. Forget about skydiving... these are just great men to know in your life and appreciate them before they or you are gone from this Earth.

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