Swooping in Raeford

Pia McFarland and Brian Buechler putting on the big boy pants!

Pia McFarland and Brian Buechler putting on the big boy pants!

This past weekend, 37 canopy pilots met up pondside at the Raeford
Parachute Center in North Carolina. The event was the fifth and last meet of the Florida Canopy Piloting Association league for the 2009 season. On hand was a healthy mix of pro and amateur competitors, ready to lay it all on the line for 6 rounds of speed, distance and zone accuracy, to find out at the end who would be crowned the 2009 league champion.

North Carolina was in a bit of a pissy mood and kept threatening to drench competitors and spectators alike. By mid-morning, the first competition load finally took off and competition began. During the speed rounds, two competitors decided to test themselves against the density of planet
Earth; planet won in both cases. Jairo Garcia was able to walk away (very slowly) whilst Morgan Lane got a full service ride from the local ambulance service. To the best of our knowledge, both should recover well.

“Happy Swooper” Marat Leiras set a couple of new records during this meet.  He set a new record in speed that qualifies both as a state and national record of 2.472 seconds. The distance record of 115 meters (337.3 ft) will be a state record only. Both records have been submitted to USPA and await
validation by the association.

At the end of a long day with multiple weather holds, it was finally time for the award ceremony. League director Albert Berchtold gave a short and sweet speech and immediately went on to announce the awards (smart move, considering the hordes of hungry skydivers awaiting food).

The top finishers at the Raeford Swoop meet were:
1. Critter Weiss, Atlanta Skydiving Center (GA) – 444.05 points
2. Curt Bartholomew, Air Adventures (FL) – 410.88 points
3. Joe Ablen, U.S. Army Golden Knights (NC) – 399.32 points
4. Micah Couch, Skydive DeLand (FL) – 367.02 points
5. “Big Steve” Haseman, Skydive the Farm (GA) – 365.22 points.

PD New Beginning

After a healthy amount of high-fives and man-hugs, it was on to crown the 2009 FLCPA league champion. It had been announced earlier in the season that the winner of the league would get a free ride to go compete in the USPA Nationals, including airfare, hotel, competition jumps and
registration. Albert also announced that the runner up would get competition jumps and registration comped as well. The top five finishers would be issued “PRO” cards by the league, so quite a lot was on the line for the top contenders.

Showing off the bling!

Showing off the bling!

The top five were:
1. Curt Bartholomew, Air Adventures (FL)*
2. Micah Couch, Skydive DeLand (FL)
3. Jairo Garcia, Skydive Palatka (FL)
4. Shane Shaffer, Skydive Palatka (FL)
4. Kai Sherwood, Skydive Orange (VA)

* Golden Knight and World Champion Greg Windmiller actually tied Curt in points for the first place, but since he already has a PRO status, he wasn’t eligible for the title.

All in all a great meet and it will be exciting to see how these guys and gal do at future competitions.

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