Freeze Your Buns Off Boogie

This yearly event was blessed with incredible weather as snowbirds flocked from all directions to do BIG CReW in Z-Hills, Florida. Lead by Mike Lewis, organizers ran non stop dives that were incredibly dirt dived and debriefed from top to bottom. Video fliers caught all the action and the group of more then 50 strong literally took over Skydive City.    More on CReW after the …………jump.
As small as the CReW community is, that’s a lot of people for one event. This year saw a lot of newbie CReW pups ready to take on larger formations. Mike lead two nights of jumping with a near completion the first night of over eight Friday night. On Saturday night Dogs went for a 16-way diamond, which I was afforded the opportunity to be Brian Scott’s “light Biotch.” That jump wasn’t as successful and ended up as one of the best CReW entertainment shows ever for people on the ground.
On final the winds switched 180degrees at 5+MPH and all jumpers landed downwind to the delights of spectators and the curses of Dogs. Many on the ground said it “looked like an artillery shelling, kinda reminded me of Nam.” said one onlooker, obviously shocked and delighted at the same time.
Damien Ristaino took the only true injury after ego with a sprained ankle. But let me tell you, it coulda been a LOT worse. Landing under a lightening CRW canopy is hard enough in the day time, but down wind at night should spell A-M-B-U-L-A-N-C-E.
Sarah Clark Bromley took home the best CReWppy award. Non stop attention, Sarah kept jumpers smiling happy with a constant stream of goodies, home baked brownies and chocolate chip cookies, served with milk. No lie, she shows up with a tray of brownies and cookies and your choice of milk. Wow. Way cool. Not to outdo herself, end of event? Fresh Plant City Strawberry Shortcake!
A big thanks to TK Hayes all staff and Skydive City and Jeanine Colombo for making Z-hills feel like home.
It’s been a while since I was under a CReW canopy, which was very apparent from the smell of my musty rig. Opened right on heading too, of course with a loud “THWAK!” followed by a very grateful sigh of relieve I didn’t have my full rack of cameras on.
I became a certified, card carrying, coin holding, Toad Suck’n Toad Sucker back in the late 80’s. Hanging on risers, chasing formations, docking, being docked on and generally completely stressed out under canopy is well, fun! I had forgotten how fulfilling real fear was. It’s been so long and the older I get the voice that says “what are you doing this for?” gets louder and louder to the point of ringing in my ears.
By the end of the event I was just exhausted. My arms were shot. The last dive of the meet for me, one of the times I was totally in the fray, I was praying, no more points, please, no more. The girls just made fun of me, UNDER CANOPY! no less.
CReW is challenging, fun, takes skill, will and shear guts. Waves of memories came back to me from years gone by. Not just the memories of “wow, dude, you are totally going in!”, oh no, memories of fun, pushing the limits and partaking in something a very small percentage of people ever get to dream of doing.
The best part? The community. I had forgotten how close the CReW community really is. It really feels totally different then any other slice of skydiving. In CReW, emergency takes on a whole new meaning as does landing out, or just landing for that matter.
Day or night jumps there is always someone paying attention, making sure everyone got back safe. It’s a great feeling, like there really is someone who’s got your back, not just business as usual. They pay attention.  And it’s real, authentic, one can feel it, it’s almost tangible and in one day you could lose count of all the extreme generosity that just comes natural to CReW Dogs.
A reunion, a real reunion. And as the Dogs get older some new ones are appearing from the fray of skydiving, the lost bastard child’s of skydiving finding there way into a community that has depth and danger and the sport continues, duck tape and all.
I had great time getting back in the air with you all. Thanks Mike for making “Do Big CReW” a possibility in general.
Look forward to flying with you all again sooner then later.
Do hope you like the slide show below. Wanna see all the pics? Check out the Harry Parker Photography Gallery.

And in case you missed it, there is another write up on these creatures of skydiving on my Harry Parker Photography Blog containing the B&W images I took Friday evening.

PS- Please like my new fan pages, Harry Parker Photography and The Harry

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Christopher MabbettMarch 7, 2011 - 7:47 pm

Mr. Harry Parker, thank you so much for meeting up with us in Z-Hills this past weekend. You always know how to make everyone feel welcome no matter where we may be. I really appreciated all the wonderful photo’s and video you took for us. It all came out amazing. Hopefully I can buy some of the photo’s once you get them up on your website. Also thanks for organizing the BBQ at the trailer Saturday night. Your personaliy and drive to make sure everyone was having fun is truly a blessing. Trust me when I say everyone loves Harry Parker.

Chris Mabbett

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