Labor Day weekend in Central Texas means a lot of different things to different people: a tasty plate of barbecue with friends and family, another fun outing to the lake or one last trip to the coast. For skydivers, the lure is Skydive San Marcos’ once-a-year Jump Your Ass Off event. For almost a decade, the DZ has dedicated the first weekend in September to the pursuit of fun jumping (with the emphasis on fun). The terms are simple: Pay $99 and jump as many times as you wish on Saturday and Sunday.
Although this year the only ride to altitude was the wonderful Blackhawk Caravan, DZOs Paul and Jen Illingworth made a silly business decision and restricted tandem reservations to 40 percent of the normal volume. This left a more than adequate number of slots (412, to be exact) for jumpers of all disciplines to utilize.
More than 50 skydivers from Texas and beyond registered for the event. R.D. Latimer provided formation skydiving organizing, Greg David organized the freeflyers, and Nate Clark coached canopy skills. From wingsuit flying to canopy formation skydiving, hybrids to flocking, 10-ways to swooping—whatever the jumper’s interest there was a load to get on and fellow skydivers to fly with.
The weather cooperated with its typical September heat, humidity and light and variable winds. The Caravan flew 25 loads on Saturday. The sunset load took 14 jumpers up for low-altitude passes and the highly entertaining swoop-and-chug competition. For the event, DZ Chief Instructor Don Cameron added a weaving obstacle course between landing and drinking, which proved to be a bit too challenging for some. Others, in their search for glory, earned time penalties for sacrificing safety and landing on the wrong side of the beer line. The winner was local CF jumper Derrick Bommarito, followed by Tony Ludwig as a close runner-up. Other than bragging rights, prizes were vintage Skydive San Marcos T-shirts, which were very well received!
Sunday loads started bright and early at 8:15 a.m., but whether it was physical exhaustion from the previous day’s exertions or the late-night partying, action was a little slower, and the day’s tally was 15 loads. Local jumper Fang Huang squeezed in 16 jumps over the weekend (a cost of $6.19 per jump) to be crowned Top Jump Hog. As the last event on the Skydive San Marcos calendar before its September 14 sale to the Spaceland family of DZs, it was a fitting finale for DZOs Paul and Jen Illingworth. The pair wish fun jumpers and staff all the best for the future.
Jen Illingworth | D-28226
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