It’s the time of year for BASE jumpers to express gratitude with two Turkey Boogies this weekend in Moab.
Matt Lajeuness said that the Turkey Boogie has long been an informal gathering in Moab for BASE jumpers near Thanksgiving.
“We’ve been gathering there for years,” Lajeuness said. “It’s a good time of year to be there. It’s a good place to jump.”
He’s using the weekend for BASE jumpers to come together to raise monies for Grand County Search and Rescue with a raffle Wednesday, Nov. 27 and Accuracy Jump on Thursday, Nov. 28.
“It’s Thanksgiving and it’s time to be thankful and to give,” Lajeuness said.
Moab Base Adventures, which is owned by world-renowned climber and BASE jumper Steph Davis, will be assisting with Thursday’s Accuracy Jump at the Tombstone Exit on Kane Creek Road, not far from the Amasa Back parking area.
“Usually there is a target you have to land as near as possible. You perform your jump and then try to hit the middle of the target,” Rogers said.
Steph Davis is also the wife of Mario Richard, a professional BASE jumper who lost his life in wingsuit accident in Italy on Aug. 18.
“Over the years one jumper was doing more for Moab, and for BASE, than any of us, Mario Richard,” Lajueness said. “Mario influenced most of us in one way or another. He opened exit points, designed BASE gear, set up the ropes that you used to get to exit, encouraged safety, pushed the limits, and did it all with a smile. That’s why we have decided to make sure that every penny generated by this fundraiser is given to Search and Rescue in memory, and in honor, of Mario.”
During the same weekend another BASE jumping outfitter, Over the Edge, is hosting a Turkey Boogie from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1. For a $50 registration fee, Over the Edge will provide a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day and entry to the Sick Flix Film Festival to be held Saturday, Nov. 30 at the MARC.
The Sick Flix Film Festival will feature short amateur films of jumps. Lowe said that the festival is considered R-rated and no one under 18 will be admitted.
It also provides for a shuttle service at Mineral Bottom that will pick up jumpers from the canyon and take them back up to the top.
“It’s so they don’t have to hike and can make more jumps in the day,” said Melissa Lowe, who owns Over the Edge with her husband Ben Lowe.
Local BASE jumper Scotty Rogers said that the two Turkey Boogies are separately organized events, but attract BASE jumpers from around the world.
“They’re both outlets for people to come to town and have fun together. They’re not mutually exclusive of each other,” Rogers said.
Rogers is working with Lajeuness to organize the fundraiser for Grand County Search and Rescue.
A few weeks ago Rogers assisted in the rescue of BASE jumper Ammon McNeely, who severely injured his leg while jumping at the Portal above Kane Springs Blvd., near the Colorado River.
McNeely’s brakelines malfunctioned and he hit the cliff face a few times before coming to a rest on a ledge about 600 feet above Kane Creek Blvd.
Rogers wasn’t involved in the jump, but he saw the situation and recognized some of his friends’ cars.
“When you’re trying to control a situation like that, from a search and rescue point of view, it is hard when people show up and try to help,” Rogers said.
McNeely said the rescue operation “ran like a machine.”
Jim Webster, commander for Grand County Search and Rescue, said that the experienced BASE jumpers were able to drill a three-bolt anchor for fixed lines before search and rescue arrived with a litter to bring McNeely down.
Webster said McNeely’s friends took actions that enhanced the ability, efficiency and safety of the rescue.
“From the time we first got there until he was on the road was three hours,” Webster said. “I was impressed that it was that quick.”
Rogers was excited to see how the BASE jumpers and search and rescue personnel were able to work together during the rescue.
“I’m hoping we can continue to create that relationship and work together really well,” Rogers said.
Rogers said that most BASE jumpers self-rescue, or work together to help each other.
“We have really self-sufficient teams, we can logistically get someone from the cliffs,” Rogers said. “We have plenty of ropes in our vehicles to pull someone out of a bad situation.”
Lajeuness said that BASE jumping is illegal in many places, but Moab has been receptive to the BASE jumping community.
“Moab is one of the most unbelievable places in the world,” he said.
When he began planning the fundraiser, he was delightedly surprised by the support of sponsors.
“Sponsors just keep donating,” he said. “More than 25 sponsors are already named so far with thousands of dollars towards the cause.”
He’s also excited about support from BASE jumpers.
“I thought there would be about 15 to 20 guys; there’s more than 100 coming,” Lajueness said. “It’s awesome to see what jumpers are willing to do to support BASE and the search and rescue crew that supports us.”
Turkey Boogie: Fundraiser for Grand County Search and Rescue
What: Turkey Boogie Raffle
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 27
Where: La Quinta Inn, 815 S. Main St.
Cost: $10 per ticket
What: Accuracy Jump
When: 8 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 28
Where: Tombstone Jump, Kane Springs Road, near the Amasa Back Trail
Cost: $10 entry; must pre-register
More info: 970-683-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the Edge: Turkey Boogie
What: Sick Flix Film Festival
When: 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29
Where: Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North
Cost: $15; $12 for local residents
“We have decided to make sure that every penny generated by this fundraiser is given to Search and Rescue in memory, and in honor, of Mario.” Mat Lajueness, BASE jumper
Two “Turkey Boogies” in area Thanksgiving weekend