December 8 dawned chilly and gray at Skydive Spaceland–San Marcos in Fentress, Texas, the newest location in the Spaceland family of drop zones. Twenty-two jumpers gathered for a weekend of fun and challenging formation skydives deep in the heart of Texas. (Yes, where the stars at night are big and bright.) Led by caffeine-fueled organizers Scott Latinis and Mark Pharr, the participants were ready for some awesome skydives! DZ Manager Thomas Hughes gave a speech welcoming everyone to Spaceland San Marcos, and the jumpers excitedly prepared for the first jump.
Prior to the weekend, Spaceland pilot J.P. Furnari contacted Latinis and suggested a dive in the shape of the number 41 in honor of President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States. Latinis and Pharr thought this was a great idea, and so did the rest of the participants. Unfortunately, low clouds settled in for the day, so everyone left the DZ hoping for a clear dawn on Sunday and a chance to build the memorial formation.
The same low clouds greeted the jumpers on Sunday, but their spirits and enthusiasm remained high. Their wait paid off, and soon they heard the magic words: “Load one, 20-minute call!” On the quick climb to altitude, everyone in the plane was excited and ready to be in the sky after watching clouds for so long. The vibe was electric.All the preparation time during the weather hold paid off, and the group was successful at building the 41 on its first attempt. Being typical skydivers, they decided to make the jump again to tweak a few things and were once again successful. After watching both jumps on video, Latinis, Pharr and video flyers Chad Hall and Peter Kwon decided that jump one was the keeper.
The group then decided to put up a fun dive featuring the traditional 20-way Texas star. This was and will forever be remembered as the pre-second Texas Star built over the top of the beautiful new Skydive Spaceland–San Marcos.
Hall created a video of the farewell dive to the 41st president, which major network affiliates across Texas, as well as other states, aired. The participants hope that the Bush family will appreciate their tribute to President George H.W. Bush’s service, character and family focus.
Sam King | D-25412