Kyle Buchholz drops in on All-Star Game
July 15, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY Parachute jumping is a Buchholz family tradition, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Kyle Buchholz, a 2003 graduate of Park City High School, flew into the stadium at Spring Mobile Ballpark Wednesday evening, minutes before the first pitch of the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game.
Buchholz’s father, Dave, was a United States Air Force Pararescue Jumper (PJ) and Kyle has followed in his father’s footsteps.
But he didn’t start jumping until his senior year at PCHS, when he decided to take the plunge in a tandem jump.
"Once I did that first jump, I knew that was something I wanted to pursue," he said.
Buchholz was an All-Region baseball player for the Miners and an avid snowboarder growing up in town. But nowadays, his full-time job is falling from the sky. He moved to Ogden from Park City three years ago to work for the Drop Zone Skydiving Center where he is now a certified tandem jumper. He also works at the iFLY indoor skydiving tunnel in Ogden. The vertical indoor tunnel pushes abundant air pressure from the floor, simulating the feel of a skydive.
How Buchholz became one of two jumpers to jump from a helicopter into Spring Mobile Ballpark was mere happenstance, he said.
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He ran into Chance Fessler, a fellow Park City High School graduate, who is now the director of game operations for the Salt Lake Bees. Fessler and his staff were in Ogden partaking in the indoor skydiving tunnel.
"We just started talking, and some things happened," Buchholz said. "We talked about the All-Star Game; I told him we had a demo team and he offered us the chance to jump into the game."
Buchholz’s demo team Rockwell Airtime, which won the 2010 Vertical Formation Skydiving division championship at the United States Parachute Association Nationals travels around the state jumping into various events and spends one to two months a year skydiving and putting on shows. So Buchholz figured, why not jump into a stadium filled with 12,439 cheering people?
When asked if it’s difficult to jump knowing you have to hit a specific target, Buchholz laughed.
"It is," he said. "With any kind of demo jumping into a stadium, jumpers have to do 10-20 jumps prior to the event and have to land in a certain area before you can even go out and do it in front of crowd.
"(Wednesday night) we had the stands and the lights, which were obstacles for us up there. What we’re used to is, just landing in an open field. Usually, we go and scout it out before we jump in, and make sure we’re clear with power lines we try and make it as safe as possible."
He said landing and hearing the crowd roar was extraordinary. He had a GoPro portable camera attached to his helmet on the jump and said he is excited to see the footage.
"It was awesome to have that many people there," he said. "That’s probably one of our bigger demos we’ve jumped into. It was super exciting. You kind of get nerves going into it, but when it all comes down it, it’s just another jump. We do this for a living."