BASE jumpers from around the world gather this month in Moab, where the landscape provides ideal locations for the sport. [Photo courtesy of Negative4 Productions]

The Turkey Boogie is not some kind of Thanksgiving holiday dance step – in this case, boogie refers to a multi-day gathering of BASE jumpers who get together for fun and jumping off cliffs.

BASE jumpers worldwide will convene in Moab for the 14th annual Turkey Boogie to enjoy the area’s “infinite number of objects” from which to jump, said Matt Lajeunesse, a 33-year-old longtime BASE jumper who decided two years ago to turn the event into a fundraiser for the Grand County Search and Rescue Team.

“Moab has amazing cliffs,” Lajeunesse said. “To us BASE jumpers, we find it therapeutic, and relaxing.”

Like sky-divers, BASE jumpers wear parachutes – although BASE-jumpers’ are designed to open more quickly, and create a softer landing, Lajeunesse said.

Moab was already a haven for backpackers, mountain bikers and other outdoors enthusiasts. It didn’t take long for BASE jumpers to discover Moab’s outdoor playground, Lajeunesse said.

“Moab embraces it – like other outdoor athletes,” Lajeunesse said.

Because of the town’s welcoming environment, Lajeunesse decided to find ways to raise funds during the annual Turkey Boogie to benefit Grand County Search and Rescue.

The search and rescue team, comprised of volunteers and part-time employees of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, performs approximately 100 rescue missions a year.

“We’ve done 110 so far, in 2014,” search and rescue member Jim Webster said. “Typical rescues involve people with mountain biking injuries, and ATV or UTV (mishaps). We search for lost people on land and on the river. We respond to injured hikers.”

“We have 30 members who train two or three times a month.”

Webster performed search and rescue for the National Park Service for 30 years before joining Grand County’s team seven years ago. The organization accepts donations and holds fundraisers throughout the year to purchase new equipment and replace old and worn-out supplies.

While the BASE jumping is free, Lajeunesse devised a way to earn money for search and rescue by selling raffle tickets and holding a contest that BASE jumpers pay to enter. He solicited 100 prizes from various businesses – many BASE jumping-related – that will be raffled off for $10 per ticket.

“Last year we raised about $2,500 just in raffle sales,” Lajeunesse said. “We will definitely double that this year.”

Raffle tickets are available in advance on the Turkey Boogie Facebook page at . The raffle will be held at the Moab Valley Inn, 711 S. Main St., on Wednesday, Nov. 26. Tickets will start to be sold around 5:30. The auction will begin when sales stop, probably around 7 p.m., according to the event’s Facebook page.

Another revenue source – as long as the weather is good – comes from a contest where BASE jumpers compete to see who lands closest to a specified target on the ground. The winner takes a portion of ticket proceeds, with the majority going to search and rescue.

Mike Cook, owner of Negative4 Productions, raised more money for Grand County Search and Rescue. The Boulder, Colorado, filmmaker shot footage of last year’s Turkey Boogie. He combined his footage with that of other videographers to make an online documentary about the 2013 event. Sales of the documentary viewing netted $2,300 – 100 percent of which went to Grand County Search and Rescue.

“It was a good response,” Cook said. “It was exciting; it exceeded our expectations. “We’re hoping to release a new one for sale (of this year’s Turkey Boogie) in January.”

“Again, 100 percent of sales will go to search and rescue. This year my intention is to go in with an idea for more of a storyline.”

Like last year, electronic music artist Nit Grit will be donating his music for the documentary’s soundtrack, Cook said.

People can view the documentary of last year’s event for free by visiting

People interested in watching the BASE-jumping contest can meet on Thanksgiving morning at around 8 a.m. at the Tombstone cliff parking area in Kane Creek Canyon, Lajeunesse said.

Annual “Turkey Boogie” gathering raises money for local search and rescue

What: 14th annual Turkey Boogie

When: Event times vary. A raffle fundraiser will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 26; tickets will go on sale around 5:30 p.m. and an auction is scheduled to follow at approximately 7 p.m. On Thursday, Nov. 27 at about 8 a.m., spectators can watch a BASE jumping contest at Tombstone Cliff from the parking area in Kane Creek Canyon.

Where: Event locations vary. The raffle will be held at the Moab Valley Inn, 711 S. Main St. The viewing site to watch BASE jumpers is located at the Tombstone Cliff parking area in Kane Creek Canyon. From downtown Moab, drive south on U.S. Highway 191 (Main Street). Turn right on Kane Creek Boulevard, which is located between the Burger King and McDonald’s. Keep left and follow Kane Creek Boulevard beyond the pavement. The parking area is located about 0.7 miles past a cattle guard.

Cost: Raffle tickets are $15 in advance or $10 at the event. For more information, visit the Turkey Boogie Facebook page at