VR Proximity flight!
Feel like you're really flying down Tianmen Moutain
It was a dark and stormy… morning?
7am: Texas time - and four 20-way teams were standing at the ready to begin another installment of a Texas Tradition - the TeXXas 20-way meet.
The draw was released the previous night, and the teams had prepped round one. And because the weather was bringing a full load of liquid sunshine, they were able to prep some more… and some more… and some more…
For those unfamiliar with the TeXXas scoring system, a team is awarded 1 point for each person who has the correct grip in a formation. The “gotcha” is that if a team does not build a complete, correct formation, their scoring stops. For example - if a team has only 19 skydivers with correct grips in the first formation, they are not awarded any additional points, regardless of how many more formations they build in the 50 seconds working time. They receive 19 points and “perhaps-somewhat-less-than-sincere” sympathy from their competitors.
11am-ish: Mother Nature finally smiled in the skies over Skydive Spaceland. The Super Skyvan was fired up, the first team - “The Money Shot” - boarded and was soon rocketing to altitude. The 2015 TeXXas 20-way meet had officially begun! Meanwhile, the remaining 3 teams - “Hold My Beer”, “The Other Guys”, and “Where's Our Pecker” (in honor of team member Jim Parker, nicknamed “Pecker”) - did what almost every team does during a meet … hope that their opponents have a bad round! ;-)
“The Money Shot” came out of the chute with a clean, consistent, successful skydive, scoring 59 points. Which was fortunate for them as “Hold My Beer” also had a clean, consistent, successful skydive, scoring just 1 point less than “The Money Shot”. “The Other Team” and “Where's Our Pecker” also started off with good rounds, so spirits were high going into round 2.
This round highlighted how competitive this year's meet was going to be, as “Hold My Beer” executed formation skydiving sequential that as smoother than a cold Lone Star beer on a hot day. After the scores were posted, they were tied with “The Money Shot”. “Where's Our Pecker” stepped up with their best round of the meet, and “The Other Team” kept turning out points.
At the end of round 3, “The Money Shot” managed to open up a bit of a lead over “Hold My Beer” - 45 to 40 - but knew they couldn't relax, as there was one more round, and “Hold My Beer” team captain Mark Pharr may have been heard to say “Well, boys and girls, it's time for some 'Watch This'…we're gonna dig deep into our cooler and pull out a can of 'Whoop Ass'“.
The final round saw an added element of suspense when the Skyvan that “The Money Shot” was riding experienced a fuel issue at 7,000 ft and was forced to return to terra firma. Once the issue was resolved, the team re-boarded and took off to try again. The team successfully made their jump. “Hold My Beer”, “Where's Our Pecker”, and “The Other Team” made their jumps without incident. Stick a fork in Round 4 – it was done!
When the abacus was finally put away, meet director Chuck Akers announced that “The Money Shot” had earned the Gold Medal with a total of 191 points. “Hold My Beer” claimed the Silver with 178 points, followed by “Where's Our Pecker” turning in a Bronze medal performance with 81 points, and “The Other Guys” tallying 33 points.
A hearty appreciation and thunderous round of applause go to meet director, and judge Chuck Akers, as well as the top-notch pilots, manifestors, loaders, packers, and staff at Skydive Spaceland. On a day that started late – and the weather prognosticators predicted would be a “no jumping today” day – they were able to complete the meet in plenty of time for some competitors to make a fun jump or two before sunset.
Some might find it interesting to know that the winning team had more women (7) on their roster than any other. But then, again, some might not find that interesting… whatever sizzles your bacon.
Scott Latinis, “The Money Shot” captain - and back-to-back TeXXas 20-way winning captain, pointed out that two years ago, his 20-way team was named “Chasing Tail”, last year's team was named “Sweaty Cleavage”. It can only be assumed that next year's team name will be a continuation of that theme… stay tuned to find out!…