Grumpy Gimpy Old Farts Reunion 2011

Story By: John Bull

The 3rd annual "Grumpy, Gimpy Old Farts With Attitudes" Taft boogie once again took place on the Saturday preceding Memorial Day. As is usually the case at this time of year, the weather gods blessed us with beautiful conditions. This year's boogie was dedicated to the memory of Don Henderson: SCR-007. We miss Don's friendship, skilled skydiving/filming, ukulele playing/singing, great laugh, sense of humor & his beautiful candy apple red 1940 Ford.... but his legacy will live on forever ! ! ! ...."Catch a falling star & put it in your pocket... never let it fade away".....(007's favorite Perry Como song).....

Begining on Friday, May 27th, Old Farts from near & far began arriving at Taft drop zone with their tents, trailers, RV's, and "EZ-UP" shade coverings. On Saturday, an attendees sign-in sheet/notebook was provided and was located near Norm Van Pelt's trailer/outpost. This year, 51 Old Farts signed the notebook & listed the year in which they joined the sport, & how many jumps each has accumulated... After crunching the numbers, here are the final figures. Total years in the sport: 1,937... Total jumps worth of experience: 102,528.... Pretty AMAZING ! ! !

AND....the top male Old Fart attendee with the most jumps was: Pat Works - 8,200 + jumps, (1st jump: 1961) The top female Old Fart attendee with the most jumps was: Nancy Sardella - 5,690 jumps, (1st jump: 1977) ...THEM ! THEM !

We were most fortunate this year, to have an Otter from Perris Valley Skydiving Center on site for the event. Skilled Perris pilot & Air Trasher Marc De Ley, arrived at Taft on Friday night, and flew at least 15 loads on Saturday, with various mixtures of Old Farts on every load. Fun was had by all.... with no cutaways or injuries reported.

We were especially happy & excited this year, because grizzled veteran skydiver/Air Trasher/Silly Tit/Wisconsin pervert & all around good guy: Don Vredenburg, a.k.a. "The Old Pirate" was in attendance. Last year at this time, "Uncle Don" was laid up in a Cedar City, Utah hospital.... recovering from a MAJOR 8-way heart bypass surgery.... (a NEW Air Trash record... beating out John Brasher, who held the previous record with a 7-way)......Don was in FINE FORM & did not disappoint his many friends/worshippers/followers... who love to hear him recall his many.... "No shit, there I was, thought I was gonna die" stories.... Welcome back Don ! ! !.... HIM ! HIM !

Also, we were happy & proud that longtime Air Trasher/Silly Tit Fred Basile was back in action and was able to jump this time around.... Fred was involved in a serious motorcycle accident several years ago, but finally has recovered sufficiently enough to jump again.... GO FREDDY ! ! ! "Arrrr-Arrrr-Arrrr" (Perry Armstrong "seal bark").....

Speaking of serious motorcycle accidents..... "Stormin' Norman" Van Pelt was involved in one several months ago..... Although Norm didn't jump this time around, we are grateful he's doing well & has recovered sufficiently from his injuries, to return to his annual charitable cause, of feeding his world famous "firehouse" chili... to all those hungry souls who had the good sense & foresight to be lurking near his "outpost" early Saturday afternoon, when his simmering pot of chili was ready to be served......

After everyone had finished consuming Norman's chili & had taken their respective acid reflux meds., it was time to board the Otter for Air Trasher/Silly Tit Kenny Hamner's 1,000th jump..... The planned Star formation didn't quite complete, but everybody gave it their best shot. Congratulations KENNY ! ! ! HIM ! HIM !

Afterwards, a 12- Way ALL AIR TRASH Star formation was attempted & it eventually built to an 11-Way..... Pretty impressive for Air Trash BG ! ! !

Throughout the day, Patty Van Pelt took charge of issuing to those wise folks who had pre-purchased them.... this year's new 2011 "Grumpy, Gimpy Old Farts" T-shirts.... Norm and Patty ALWAYS put a great deal of thought & planning into the design of these high quality t-shirts, and this year was no exception.... The design this time featured Eddie Armstrong flying a PC..... At the urgings of longtime Air Trasher/SCR # 53/Silly Tit/Chicken Choker, a.k.a. "Brother Stanley Troeller".... this year's t-shirt design even featured a front pocket ! ! !

As early afternoon approached, it was time for the HIGHLIGHT of the event.... the annual awards ceremony which honors/dishonors our ... "Senior Ranking Old Fart In Attendance".... Famed Arvin Good Guy, Parabat, SCR # 8, SCS # 0, & Silly Tit # 215 - BRIAN WILLIAMS.... Brian is our HERO for the 3rd straight year ! ! ! He is now 85 years young, and made his first jump 60 years ago, in 1951... Brian is one of the founding fathers of modern day relative work. Bill Newell is SCR # 3 and founder of the Bob Buquor Memorial Star Crest Awards program & also participated on the "World's 1st 8-Man Star" with Brian on October 17th, 1965 over Arvin, CA. "Newellie" did the honors of placing the 2011 "King's Crown" upon Brian's "royal" head.... In addition, our "sire" was presented with a canister of orange flavored (sugar free) Metamucil fiber/laxative supplement, in hopes that he may spoon his way to good BM at a time, whilst he sits upon his "throne"..... In addition, Brian was awarded a small trophy proclaiming him to be: "King Of Old Farts" - 2011"..... Brian gave an acceptance speech, which brought forth, thundering applause & the approval of his many admiring worshippers..... Congratulations "KING BRIAN" ! ! ! As Don Vredenburg would say: ..."Thank you from the heart of our bottoms".....

Additional "gifts" were presented to other honorees as well.... Limited edition Rite-Aid plastic "male urinal"- Air Trash "beer steins" were presented to each of our unsung heros of Air Trash.....our much loved & respected freefalling photographers: Rick Schlueter, Randy Forbes & John Velardo.... in appreciation for their never ending quest of attempting to keep us derelicts "in frame" all year round'.... Also, our beloved Air Trash Webmaster Larry Walsh was presented with one of these "highly collectable" "beer steins" as well, in appreciation for his many tireless hours/years spent, in keeping the Air Trash website updated & running smoothly all year long. It's a thankless task, and our Larry Guy has been doing this for 15 YEARS ! ! ! HIM ! HIM !.....

Under the category of: Furthest distance traveled to attend this year's Old Farts bash... we had two winners...they were: Bill "Cocky" Cockfield from New Hampshire, and Carolyn Roemer from Alaska. They were each presented with a box of "Bounce" clothes dryer sheets... with the inscription: "Hope you never bounce"....

Also, there was a cardboard box filled with aprox. two dozen "elegantly" newspaper wrapped "mystery gag gifts" which were offered to those in the audience. And last but not least, Norman was given a wooden chili spoon, proclaiming him .... "Chili King"..... HIM ! HIM !

AND.... Randy "Stinky" Green surprised Don Vredenburg by presenting him with an anatomically correct rubber chicken which featured a "peg leg". Don was also given the last known bottle of "Skydiver Blonde Ale"....It's been reported that the brewery that made the stuff has gone "belly-up".....

We also had new members inducted into Air Trash. They were: longtime Otay/Borderland skydivers/perverts/Silly Tits: Roger Worthington & Ed Lockout. Randy Forbes did the honors of trashing Roger & Ed. Mark Witcher did the honors or trashing his father-in-law (Corey's father) & good buddy to all.... skydiver extraordinaire.... Ed McKay. Naturally, the Air Trash Hymn was sung with much enthusiasm, as these new Air Trashers were ushered into this "illustrious" skydiving fraternity/brotherhood & officially welcomed to the lowest point of their lives..... Their wives must be SO PROUD ! ! ! To quote Larry Walsh.... "We're three members closer to world domination".... THEM ! THEM !

As always, Taft drop zone owner/operator/Air Trasher Dave Chrouch & his dedicated staff were ready & eager to host the "invasion" of the Old Farts yet again.... "Maria's Kitchen" handled the delicious Saturday night dinner fare which featured BBQ'd steak, chicken & all the fixings. Also, TWO kegs of beer were provided for the parched & thirsty Old Farts, as well as a raffle drawing. A live band was provided again too.... Dave even somehow managed to escape his busy schedule & was able to make some jumps with us... HIM ! HIM ! As stated earlier, having a Perris Otter on site this year was HUGE ! ! ! Thank You Dave Chrouch & dedicated staff, Thank You Perris Valley Skydiving Center, Thank You Air Trasher Marc De Ley.... A GREAT pilot & friend to ALL SKYDIVERS ! ! !

On Sunday morning, the survivors packed up their belongings & headed for home.... MANY THANKS to all who attended this year's event ! ! ! . "Old Farts... Are The Best Farts".... Let's do it again in 2012 ! ! !

Reporting for Air Trash News, John Bull


Randy Forbes Photos

Page II