Gearing Up - July 2011


USPA and its predecessor organizations have always promoted skydiving competition. Then called the Parachute Club of America, USPA began conducting meets in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and the tradition continues today with the annual USPA Nationals and the USPA Collegiate Nationals. But to USPA staff and board members, “competition” means much more than an event. It’s the 205-page Skydiver’s Competition Manual (SCM) of rules and requirements that requires constant updating.It’s the Competition Committee of the USPA Board of Directors that is responsible for the SCM, the site selection and conduct of our national championships, and selecting U.S. Teams and appointing team managers and heads of delegation. It’s the USPA staff’s one-person Competition Department, responsible for serving the committee, verifying and maintaining records, serving as meet controller and many other duties. And it’s funding a USPA delegate and alternate delegate to represent our interests regarding parachuting competition, world championships and record setting through the International Parachuting Commission of the Federation Aéronautique Internationale.

There have been several changes lately in the competition arena. As of March, USPA has a new director of competition—Jim Hayhurst. Jim is a longtime competitor and national and world champion, and he fully embraces the concept of providing unparalleled service to the membership. Already, he has updated our website’s records listings and posted the full results of the 2010 USPA Nationals and Collegiate Nationals. Enhancing and expanding our national and state records program is next on his agenda.

On the board, the chairmanship of the Competition Committee recently changed hands. Scott Smith succeeded Marylou Laughlin, who had recently followed Bill Wenger as chair. Scott is a five-term board member, two-time U.S. freestyle champion, 1995 world freestyle champion, former top American competitive skysurfer and an experienced meet director and judge. Also, after a decade of hard work and exceptional service as IPC delegate, Marylou Laughlin was succeeded by Kirk Verner, a two-term board member and longtime competitor and former member of the national and world champion Arizona Airspeed 4- and 8-way teams. The good news is that USPA won’t lose any continuity, as both Wenger and Laughlin continue to serve on the Competition Committee.

What all this means for you is that the framework is in place for the upcoming USPA Nationals to be held at Skydive Arizona in Eloy October 26 to November 5 and the USPA Canopy Piloting Nationals to be held at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, September 14-17. If you’re not already planning to attend, you should consider it. Though the world’s top competitors will be there, you don’t have to be one of them to compete, learn and have fun. Imagine getting to hang out with and talk to the best of the best in virtually every skydiving discipline—getting tips from Mark Kirkby while on creepers, boarding the aircraft and belting in right next to Amy Chmelecki, sharing the skies with Chris Gay, getting your photo taken by Mike McGowan and sitting next to Melanie Curtis at the banquet and trading stories. In what other sport can you hang with, talk to, get tips from and rub shoulders with champions? Not many. So start your training or put a team together now, and make plans now to join us at the USPA Nationals.

Blue Skies,

Ed Scott | D-13532 | USPA Executive Director


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