Spaceland–Houston Hosts POPS Nationals and JOS Record Event
By James Davis
Members of the Parachutists Over Phorty Society and its many subgroups gathered at Skydive Spaceland–Houston in the quaint Texas town of Rosharon October 2-6 to compete in the annual POPS National Championships and Jumpers Over Seventy Record Attempts. While there, the POPS members were also able to participate in the Jump for the Rose fundraising events benefitting Houston-based breast cancer clinic The Rose, which took place concurrently. These events, along with the DZ’s usual business, made for a busy operation, but the Spaceland staff handled the workload beautifully. DZOs Steven and Steve Boyd Sr. rolled out the red carpet for everyone; Charra Elliot, Alicia Karbanoff, Tanya Swank and Larissa Weeks efficiently handled registration and manifest; Ryan Reed was a wonderful pilot; Scott Latinis did a great job organizing; Christy West ensured everything ran smoothly; David Hounshell (known by all as “Judge Tooth”), assisted by Linda Kommers and Betty Moore, provided scoring; and Stephanie Behnke kicked in to help in myriad ways.
As they often do, many POPS members showed up a day early to socialize, fun jump or get in some practice. Then, on Thursday, the first official day of the event, the competitors met for an 8 a.m. briefing for the 4-way scrambles competition. Some of the JOS jumpers, there for the record attempts the following day, joined the scrambles as a warmup. Late for the Party (Patie Duttlinger, Bill Johnson, Marshall Madden and Jeff Stagg with Konstantin Petrijcuk on camera) took first; Team Duffy (Gary Barron, Jim Harrison, Harry Moore and Bryan Wolford with Felipe Vancelette on camera) took second; and a team consisting of JOS jumpers, Team Bob (John Bates, Gary Eve, Joe Pete LoRusso and Bob Stroud with Kirk Theobald on camera), took third.
Unfortunately, no teams signed up for the traditional FS competition this year. Consequently, POPS is looking for a team to represent the U.S. in the event at the 2020 POPS World Meet scheduled for August 8-15 in Dunkeswell, Great Britain. Interested teams can contact TopPOP James Davis at email@example.com.
On day two, the sport accuracy competition began, and the POPS event ran concurrently with a drop zone sport accuracy competition that happened to be scheduled for the same day. The goal was for competitors—using canopies loaded at 1:1 or above—to land standing up as close as possible to a 1-meter-wide target in the center of a 30-meter-wide circle and stop all forward motion. After the three rounds of competition, Harry Moore took first; former TopPOP James Harrison took second; and current TopPOP James Davis took third.
On Saturday, competitors gathered for the traditional final event of the boogie, hit ‘n’ rock, a timed event where jumpers try to land as closely as possible to a target, remove their rigs and sprint to a rocking chair set up in the landing area. This year, adding to the fun of the event, the competitors wore pink bras in support of the Jump for the Rose event. Taking his second gold at this year’s Nationals, Moore came out on top of the competition, while Davis took second and Harrison took third (swapping their sport accuracy placements).
While the POPS jumpers were challenging each other on their accuracy skills, JOS members were up in the sky trying to set and break records. John Bates, Jim Culhane, Gary Eve, Doug Jaques, Ray Kuemmel, Joe Pete LoRusso, Tom Morris, James Parker, Bob Stroud and Joseph Taylor flew a 10-way to set a JOS World Record for Largest Two-Point Formation Skydive on the last jump of the event. During the two days, Bates and Kuemmel also flew a 2-way to set the JOS World Record for Largest Four-Point Formation Skydive. In addition, Joe Taylor, who made 65 jumps in 24 hours in 2008, had this achievement certified as a JOS record during the event.
There was a lot to celebrate at the Saturday awards ceremony and dinner. Parachute Labs Inc. provided generous discount certificates on canopies and containers for all the medalists, and also provided T-shirts and goody bags for all participants. Local organizer Scott Latinis had a special treat for the hit ‘n’ rock awards: He presented personalized ceramic trophies of a gnome in a rocking chair, which resembled the POPS logo, to all the winners. JOS also presented Jump for the Rose a donation of $300 for the cause.
More information on joining POPS and a listing of upcoming events is available at thepops.org. Those interested in Jump for the Rose can donate to the cause and find more information at jumpfortherose.org.
James Davis | D-28216