1996 Dallas Freefly Competition, 2ND American Championships

Recommended Posts

1996 Dallas Freefly Competition, 2ND American Championships

Written by: Dead Magic John H Schuman,

OCT. 19, 1996 SKYDIVE DALLAS Whitewright , TX

The Freefly crowd at Skydive Dallas put on the Texas hospitality for its 2nd Annual North American Championships of Freeflight, Oct. 18 and 19.

Pete McKeeman, chief executive of Skysportif International, provided his ESPN X-games judging staff for this Intermediate class Championship based on Pro-fly rules. Only teams who have not competed in the X-game finals could enter this event. McKeeman explained at a judge/competitor Instructional debreif Saturday evening, "This event marks the 1st anniversary of the Pro-tour of Freeflight skydiving competition which was held here a year ago at Whitewright. The SSI judging staff scoring tells a competing team how it would finish at an actual try-out for the X-games presented by ESPN."
Teams from Eloy, Kansas City, and Dallas went head to head in Freefly. A skyboard team came from Canada to get their ranking and received first place in their division without a contest. Teams assembled on Friday for an afternoon practice session out of the Pink Flamingo Porter in perfect weather conditions. They traded tips and stories in between loads.
By Saturday morning a cold front out of Alaska had moved into the Rockies area and the winds started picking up in anticipation. Everyone showed up on time for registration to get things rolling and the first load of competitors lifted off before 9 in the Skydive Dallas' Caravan. The meet had barely gotten underway, however, when the aircraft of the second load of players had to land following the DZ's first problem with DFW's Tower allowing access to altitude. (Was that a case of beer?) Only a week before, the FAA had enlarged the VOR rectangle around DFW to allow for expanded traffic.
After a flurry of phone calls between the owners, manager and pilot at the DZ to the Tower supervisor, the meet was allowed to continue. Skydive Dallas had moved to its rural location north of long ago to escape the original VOR rectangle set up for DFW airport. As a sign of changing times at Skydive Dallas, the competitors and regulars had to adjust to seeing large commercial jet craft flying directly below them about 4 minutes apart as they turned on jumprun. By the end of the day, Skydive Dallas Owners had set a meeting with FAA and USPA officials including Sherry Schrimsher .
The leftovers from Hurricane Lili slowed down the approaching weather and allowed the four teams to complete the required 4 rounds in a tight race. Everyone jumped the Otter, which shows up on weekends at Skydive Dallas, for the final 3 rounds. City Lights from the Greater Kansas City skydivers had first place until the final round but got nosed out by the local favorites, a Skydive Dallas team named The Blonde, the Bald Guy and Funny Pants. The Dallas team of Haas and Bailey have previously finished in the top three in International Freestyle and Skyboard board and their experience level showed as they came on strong in the final 2 rounds while City Lights had a bad round 3 dive which cost them the lead.
Third place went to the team from Eloy which featured an Instructor from the Clown school, Omar Alhegelan , flying video for a female team of sit flyers from the First School of Modern Skydiving based at Skydive Arizonia. Forth place went to the Bomb Squad, a throw-together team of Sky Dallas regulars which performed Rodeo style freefly and had Roland Barksdale, a former medalist in Freestyle camera, for video.
By late afternoon, the honking wind stopped all ideas of fun jumping. Team officials gathered players, spectators, and interested flat flyers into the large DZ packing area for the award ceremony. While videography of the competition replayed on DZ tv , Ron Chickering (sp), Event MC and the guy in funny pants, announced the winners and passed out prizes. Top teams won medal , t-shirts, goggles and 35% discounts on gear and jumpsuits towards matching outfits.
Jeff Serrault , chief judge for the SSI Pro-tour, moderated a lively hour long Instructional debrief right after the awards show in the DZ school lounge. He explained the basic approach the judges used to quantify the scores, "The primary goal of the teams is to entertain the judges... this means teams must have dive plans that tell a story or have a dance-like flow to them.... and demonstrate the team's ability to fly tightly in the difficult vertical modes."
Players agreed they understood the technique part of the rules, but everyone, including the judges, had trouble defining the best type of artistic style to use. Omar of the Clowns wondered if the 'hammy' style of flying seen in previous X-games marked a trend towards wilder stunts and more comedic routines. He said, "...I'm tired of eating Slim Jims head-down.....", a reference to his gold medal performance with Olaf Zipser in the first X-games with freefly competition. Judges claimed they remained neutral to any 'cheese' flying and wanted to see dives that had 'meaningful' transitions. Pete McKeeman added, "The comical stuff makes great 'eye candy' and sometimes this gets the teams a lot of press outside the competition. However a well flown and difficult vertical skydive captures and holds the audience for the whole 40 second run. Freefly champions must work towards these types of entertaining repertoires. "
As the meeting broke up and headed for a bonfire and BBQ at the nearby Haas ranch and lake, McKeeman summarized the current Freefly scene." There may be only 14 freefly teams in the World right now. The rules are designed to evolve as skill levels and creativity develop. .... the ESPN X-games offer the only real hope for skydivers who want to compete and have a chance to recover their investment in practice dives through prize monies and TV sponsorships. "
He further explained," Because of the hierarchy and bureaucracy of the IPC, the FIA and the Olympic Committee,.... it will be 2008 again before skydiving will appear as a demonstration sport. It will be that long until freestyle, skyboard or freeflying can get International recognition for being the only '3-D' sport available to mankind. The X-games provide that venue now in America and ESPN has plans to market translations World wide in the next few years."

JHS (dead Magic John Schuman)
< http://www.koyn.com/JohnSchuman/pages/nac96.htm >

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.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

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.