Aerialists stay sharp with Flying Ace All-Stars
Weekend shows can be seen at Utah Olympic Park through August
August 8, 2017
U.S. freestyle aerial skier Mac Bohonnon stood on top of the jump, preparing to launch and perform his trick.
The PA announcer shouted Bohonnon's name over the speakers, proceeding to list his career achievements. The crowd was rooting him on, as Bohonnon got more pumped and excited with each scream and cheer. After months of preparation, there was nothing left for Bohonnon to do besides simply sending it off of the jump.
This wasn't Bohonnon getting ready for one of his many competition jumps, but rather, he was participating in the Flying Ace All-Stars show at Utah Olympic Park. Bohonnon, along with other members of the U.S. freestyle aerial team, participate in the popular summer shows during the offseason.
"It's just been exciting because if you look at the athletes that have come and jumped in our shows over the years, I don't know if there's an athlete on the U.S. aerial team that has not done a show with us," Flying Ace Productions President Kris "Fuzz" Feddersen said.
Flying Ace Productions was created in Park City by Feddersen and fellow Olympian Trace Worthington in 1998 after their careers concluded. The idea was to create something that not only allowed aerialist athletes to make some side cash throughout the offseason, but also promote a sport that not many get to see on a regular basis.
"To put them both together — we're promoting our sport, making money for the athletes and helping them out — has been a tremendous benefit for everyone, Feddersen said.
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Aerialists such as Nikki Stone and Jeret "Speedy" Peterson have participated in the Flying Ace All-Stars shows in the past, and Bohonnon is grateful that he can follow in the footsteps of those that came before him. Though the shows aren't competitions, Bohonnon believes participating has many benefits.
One of the biggest reasons is the fact that the athletes have the opportunity to make some money in a sport that doesn’t have much to throw around to its various competitors.
"[Flying Ace All-Stars] allows us to make some supplemental income doing exactly what we do every day, which is an awesome opportunity for us," Bohonnon said.
Second, while this may not be official training for the upcoming winter season, Bohonnon said that the shows — which include many of the athletes attempting to one-up each other with their tricks — can provide their own sense of a competition setting.
"There's almost no better way to simulate competition than that," Bohonnon said. "Because that is the time to perform. You've got all eyes watching you and it's kind of a do-or-die [situation], so that’s another element that's huge for us."
The final reason Bohonnon finds the Flying Ace All-Stars shows beneficial? The athletes simply get to have fun.
"We do a lot of jumps in the shows that we would never do in the competition," Bohonnon said. "It also allows us to kind of have fun and do things that we typically wouldn't do in training. That is also really fun."
Since its creation, Flying Ace Productions has grown to include weekly shows at Utah Olympic Park throughout the summer, private corporate shows, as well as trampoline acts. However, Feddersen doesn't believe the company is done just yet.
"The dream is to put together a show that is a more high-ticket show price with different kinds of acts or elements to it," Feddersen said. "We do corporate shows that use pyro and special lighting, which we've never really done for the public.
"[We'd want to] really put together a high-end show that anybody who comes to Park City would come and check the show out, just like you'd go see a show in Vegas or New York City. This would be part of the destination. That's kind of the long-term dream."
The Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show will continue through the end of the month on every Saturday and Sunday at Utah Olympic Park's Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool. Each show begins at 1 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $7 for seniors and kids.
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