ELOY — SkyDive Arizona will be a busy place on Friday as its annual Christmas Boogie event and the United States Parachute Association's National Collegiate Championships collide.
Additionally, Friday afternoon will feature an airshow by aerobatic pilot Kirby Chambliss, and the skydiving team Arizona Airspeed is scheduled to receive a key to the city.
“We are having the Christmas Boogie, which is a big skydiving event for people to come from all over,” said George Hargis, SkyDive Arizona marketing and events coordinator. “People are here from other countries and they come here to jump with specialty organizers.
“We have professional teams that they can learn from, and then at night we usually do some type of event so that way it’s kind of like a party — so we’re jumping all day and then having a fun event at night. It’s something that we do every year during the Christmas season, and it brings almost like 500 skydivers.”
There will be no shortage of parachutes in the sky as the Christmas Boogie will be hosted simultaneously with the collegiate championships. SkyDive Arizona was selected as the host site for this year’s championship, but this is not the first time it has hosted the event.
“It’s their big competition, anyone who’s on the collegiate level,” Hargis said. “We’ve hosted it a couple times; it’s something that we frequently host here because there’s not very many places who can host this event because of the requirements they have for specific gear and whatnot. So we’re a handful of drop zones that can actually accommodate that type of competition.”
Spectators are welcome to watch the events. They will not be able to see the judging of the collegiate championships, however.
“That kind of thing happens behind closed doors because the judges review video in separate rooms,” Hargis said. “But spectators are always welcome to watch the parachutes land, and you can see the formations in the sky. We just ask that no one brings any pets because it gets way too crazy with animals here.”
Two-time Red Bull Air Race world champion Kirby Chambliss will also take to the air to show off his aerobatic skills and routine. He has won 13 medals in world competition for the U.S. National Aerobatic Team.
Another U.S. national team will be on hand in Arizona Airspeed as it celebrates its 25th anniversary and will be given the key to the city of Eloy.
City Councilman Georges Reuter hopes they will be ambassadors for future projects.
“They represent the name of the city internationally and they’ve never been recognized for it,” Reuter said. “Next year we will have the World Cup in Eloy, and the city has to capitalize on that. It would be a good test run for the world championship that we could get in 2022 if we as a city and SkyDive Arizona get our game together and are finally partners in every aspect of the city life and community.”