New Skydivers Spread their Wings at Rookie Roundup
Event News | Apr 29, 2024
New Skydivers Spread their Wings at Rookie Roundup

Jim Brenneman

Above: Coach Nate Rogers flies a 2-way with Kenadie Smith. Photo by Zane Jackson.

Energy was high as 53 rookie skydivers from all over the country gathered for the annual Rookie Roundup at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Katie Murabito organized the much-anticipated event, in which jumpers with fewer than 200 jumps enjoyed a special weekend of gifts, raffles of items from generous sponsors, one-on-one coaching in every discipline and camera flyers filming all the jumps. The rookies kept 30 coaches hopping on tracking jumps, sit-flies and belly jumps all weekend long. For those who wanted to improve their landings, professional canopy pilots Justin Price and Steve Sims filmed them and provided debriefs. Ryan Gregory and Greg Arens provided B-license water training, and Nathan Rogers held classes to help fine-tune packing skills. The drop zone covered all the bases for a great learning weekend.

Fortunately, Mother Nature delivered good weather. The event started early on a beautiful Saturday with the rookies writing their names and the type of jumps they were interested in on the white board. Then the coaches called out names, introduced themselves and kept manifest busy with lots of 2-ways! And all day long and into the evening, the wind tunnel was cranking. The energy level was off the charts!

 

Coach Juan Ospina works on belly flying with rookie jumpers Isaac Mastel and Benjamin Iverson. Photo by Zane Jackson.

 

Though Sunday started out cloudy with a ceiling at 8,500 feet AGL, the clouds lifted shortly after the first load, and the event got going full swing. Everywhere, experienced skydivers were coaching rookies on exiting, body position, flying, tracking and even how to open the aircraft door. Price and Sattler held a class on emergency procedures. The 2-ways started growing to 3- and 4-ways.

Skydive Arizona hosted an end-of-day barbeque with Chief Pilot Frank Frassetto flipping the burgers and Windee Hill managing the food line. Smiles were everywhere. Rookie Wes Ditton commented, “I learned more in one day being here than I did all during October jumping at random DZs.” It really couldn’t have been better.

Jim Brenneman | D-39514
Mesa, Arizona

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