After 3,400 jumps in 24 years, parachute jumper Dan Myers still experiences an adrenaline rush from falling out of the sky.
The 58-year-old adventure seeker from Lincoln is one of 20 members of the Lincoln Sport Parachute Club, which was the driving force behind the addition of skydiving to the vast array of competitions offered by the Cornhusker State Games, offered annually since 2009. Nebraska is the only one of the 38 states to host State Games states to include skydiving among its many sports.
"I'd suggested to the club that we make it a State Games event," said Myers, a Burlington Northern Railroad engineer when he's not jumping. "We have a competition for those who want to compete, and a separate division for those who just want to jump for fun."
Myers, who doubles as a licensed pilot, said 12 participants turned out for the first State Games competition in 2009. A total of 17 jumped the following year, setting a new record for large-formation parachuting..
That state record was eclipsed on July 20 of this year when club members joined forces to perform a 20-person formation, nailing the exercise on their first group attempt. The jumpers achieved the feat from 13,000 feet at the Plattsmouth Municipal Airport.
The 20 jumpers included a dozen Nebraskans; Matt Clampett and Myers were the only Lincolnites among the group.
The State Games jump was held in conjunction with the club's Redemption Boogie, which raised funds this year to support the American Cancer Society.
Skydivers in group formations must have the right training and mindset, said Myers, who serves as sport director for the State Games event and helps organize the jump.
Club members come from all walks of life. The 20 members on the current roster include a jet pilot, a scuba diver, an orthopedic surgeon, and a respiratory therapist. The club was founded in 1959 by "Shorty" Janousek and his wife, Leota.
A veteran of national and world jumping events, Myers says there's no substitute for the liberating feeling of flying through the air.
"It's 100-percent, pure adrenaline rush."
For more information on the Lincoln Sport Parachute Club, see www.jumpnebraska.com