Paratroopers take to the sky for annual competition

 By: Chelsea Priest

Nearly 200 paratroopers leaped through the clouds at the Rhode Island National Guards annual “Leapfest”, the largest international competition of it’s kind. Lt. Col. Robert Zulick of the Rhode Island National Guard said, “it really is a tradition in terms of camaraderie especially amongst the airborne paratroopers, you get to see paratroopers from all over the world.”

In all about 50 teams of 4 jumpers each participated in the event, many from the US but also teams from the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, South Africa, and more. Lt. George De Beer of South Africa said, “excellent, meeting all the foreigners and jumping with them, it’s been a great week.”

Clouds and poor weather conditions delayed the event on Saturday with more than half of the jumpers waiting until Monday morning to compete. Lt. Col. Zulick continues, “it is a competition, in which there are X’s marked out in the drop zone area and competitors land on the X’s or get as close to it. The team with the shortest amount of time and the individual with the shortest amount of time wind the competition.” The choppers left from URI with jumpers finding the X’s at West Kingston Elementary School. 

This years team winner was a Special Forces Group from Utah. A full listing of the standings can be found here:

(C) WLNE-TV 2014