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USA POPS HISTORY FROM 1966 TO THE PRESENT
This history of the US POPS was initially prepared by Bill Wood in 1989. It has been updated since by Cheryl Whitford.
POPS was founded in the USA by Lenny Barad (POPS #1) in the summer of 1966. It all started with a letter from Lenny to Parachutist magazine, inviting all jumpers having reached the ripe old age of forty years or over to join.
The principal idea behind the concept of this new organization is promote good fellowship between the elder jumpers in the sport. The only obligation on anyone's part was and is to promote parachuting in general and safety in particular. Lenny designed the POPS logo with the long bearded man in the rocking chair.
It was felt that the image of sport parachuting would be enhanced if the general public knew there were a group of men and women involved in this sport who were on the more "mature" side, family types in all walks of life and reasonably settled in their community. Since then, some of the people listed in the roster book have passed on, others simply lost interest in jumping and quit, but their POPS number is theirs never to be reissued. Many others have been very active, many receiving their Gold Wings, Diamond and Double Diamond Wings and a myriad of other awards presented in our world of parachuting.
For many years we have established a pattern of holding a Winter Meet (now called "SpringFest") of accuracy, Hit & Rock, and R.W. in Florida in the spring, and a National Meet in late summer or early fall of each year. The National Meet is rotated among various drop zones so that POPS and POPS families may visit different areas of our great country. Various other POPS Meets are held during the year, all are advertised by Parachutist & Skydiving magazines. For competitive spirit and just great family fun, don't miss the next POPS Meet.
POPS has grown, and now has 28 (as of 2018) chapters in many countries around the world and since 1995 there is a World Top POP in addition to a national Top POP in many countries.
Jumpers over forty from any country are welcome as members of the USA POPS.
SKYDIVERS OVER SIXTY (SOS) HISTORY
This history of SOS was initially prepared by Pat Moorehead in June of 2003 and has been since updated by Cheryl Whitford.
The SOS organization was formed by Pat Moorehead, a veteran skydiver with almost 5700 jumps. Pat began his skydiving career in 1969 at Lake Elsinore, California, at the age of 37. Pat was born in 1931 and still makes about 150 jumps per year.
Pat reached the age of 60 in November 1991. A few months later, in March of 1992, while attending the POPS Winter Meet at Umatilla, Florida, he decided to gather all of his friends there that were over 60 to make a jump. The result was a solid 10-way formation skydive which became the first SOS record. With the urging of his friends, he kept a list of those first 10 who were: Danny Hupert, Max Miensopust, Pat Moorehead, Tom Morrison, Walter Ross, Lew Sanborn, Bob Sinclair, GD Williams, Bill Wood, and Len Zak.
He then invited other jumpers over sixty to join this new group. It was agreed that the purpose would be to recognize skydivers that remained in the sport, or joined the sport, as they advanced to their 'senior' years. Or, those who are returning after putting their jump career on hold while they raised their families and/or pursued their careers.
Contrary to the perception of many non-jumpers, modern skydivers include people from all walks of life and all ages. In fact the average age of the 30,000 members of the national skydiving organization, the United States Parachute Association, is near 40.
There has long been (since 1966) an informal membership organization of skydivers called "POPS" (Parachutists Over Phorty Society). There are now over 12,000 (as of 2018) members in this rapidly growing group; and 28 (as of 2018) chapters internationally. SOS is a special group within this worldwide POPS organization.
Since 1993 the SOS membership has grown to over 2300 (as of 2018) and has enrolled members from 23 (now 28 as of 2018) countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States.
Many of the POPS and SOS members renew friendships when they travel to the many International POPS Meets and the bi-annual World POPS Meet - (at the time Cheryl updated this, the next World Meet was held in Argentina in 2014). Previous World meets have been in New Zealand, Spain, Jordan, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, and the USA.
Some SOS members have made only a few jumps but most have made thousands. The oldest members are in their 80's and several of them still jump. Because of the technical advances of modern parachuting equipment, especially the canopies (parachutes), the landing phase of the jump has become much more gentle. No more landing like a sack of potatoes! SOS and POPS members really enjoy the competition events.
The favorite contest is named (appropriately?) "Hit'n'Rock". In this event, the competitor lands his parachute near the center of a large target, sheds all of his pack, runs to the very center of the target, touches a small 3" plastic disc, and then sprints to a rocking chair 40- feet away and sits down. This is a timed event and the typical SOS member completes the race in about 7-seconds. The POPS world record is less than 4-seconds! This is a true spectator event.
Life-time dues that are collected from each new SOS member and the proceeds from the sales of SOS T-shirts, patches, etc., are donated to the United States Parachute Team Trust Fund and to the Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame. United States Parachute Team Trust Fund is used to support our USA national teams in international parachuting competitions. SOS has contributed over $10,600.00 to the team trust fund and over $1,000.00 to the Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame.
As the list of active skydivers continues to grow, Pat expects that the SOS and JOS membership will also continue its rapid growth and SOS members will continue to inspire other seniors to remain active, healthy, and enthusiastic about finding suitable activities in which to participate.
JUMPERS OVER SEVENTY (JOS) HISTORY
Initial information for this history was provided by Top JOS #2, Bill Wood.
JOS was started by Canadian jumper Bill Nasby in 1999 at the 5th World POPS Meet hosted by The Fraser Valley Skydiving Centre at Chilliwack, BC, Canada. Several members were enrolled. Later, a busy work schedule prevented Bill Nasby from maintaining the membership duties and he turned the title of Top JOS over to Bill Wood.
The first JOS record, a 7-way, was made at Skydive Elsinore on 6 October 2001. Participants were Danny Hupert, Bud LaPointe, Tom Morrison, Stan Perrine, Walter Ross, Lew Sanborn, and Len Zak.
There are now over 600 (as of 2018) members of JOS from all around the world.
Top JOS #2, Bill Wood, was born in 1930. He started sport jumping on August 7, 1970 and made 2,400+ jumps. He joined POPS in 1977 and was USA POPS #1135. Bill was USA TOP POP#8 (1987-1993).
Top JOS #3, Bob Deen, started jumping in July of 1963 and now has 2100+ jumps. He is USA POPS #1314, SOS #553, and JOS #235. He holds USPA D-1804 license. Bob is also Christian Skydivers Association (CSA) #36.
Top JOS #4 and current TopJOS is Russ Manhold.
JUMPERS OVER EIGHTY SOCIETY (JOES) HISTORY
(Prepared by Cheryl Whitford from information supplied by Peter Best, Joe Richard, and Bill Wood)
The Jumpers Over Eighty Society (JOES) was founded by Peter Best during a POPS Meet at British Skysports in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2001 just a few days after his 80th birthday.
Peter was born in 1920 and began parachuting at age 54. He has been very active in POPS activities, including being on the judging panel for the first six World POPS Meets and also at the eighth World POPS Meet. He was the chief judge at the Third World POPS Meet in Empuriabrava, Spain. Peter is a founding member of the UK POPS. He also joined the national POPS in Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and USA and also SOS and JOS.
At the end of 2004, there were three members in JOES. Members of JOES-UK have the original JOES numbers and patches. Peter Best passed away on May 25, 2007 after a long illness.
Jumpers Over Eighty (JOE) was founded by Joe Richard in USA in 2002. Joe was born in 1919.
The JOE-USA group members had certificates, but no numbers were issued to the members. Joe Richard passed away on December 12, 2004. He made his last jump on December 5 and experienced shortness of breath after the jump. He was taken to the local hospital and suffered a massive heart attack while at the hospital.
At the end of 2004, there were five members in JOE-USA.
Planning for combining the JOES in UK and the JOE in USA into a single group within the POPS organization was already taking place when Joe Richard passed away. Fortunately, Joe Richard had already supplied JOE membership information to the new JOES administrator before his death.
JOES is now administered as part of the POPS organization. Cheryl Whitford is the JOES and JONS administrator.
The first JOES world record was a five-way on April 1, 2008 at Skydive Elsinore, California, USA. The JOES members who set this record were Walter Ross, Stan Perrine, Bud LaPointe, John Browett and Tom Morrison.
As of August 11, 2008, there were 30 JOES members.
As of July 19, 2010, there were 46 JOES members.
The JOES organization continues to grow with 103 members as of April, 2015.
(Now over 144 as of Nov 2018)
JOES is an international group with members in eleven countries; Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
Tom Morrison, TOP JOE #2, received this: letter from George H W Bush, JOES #29 and POPS #10000
Bud LaPointe became Top JOE #3 in July of 2010
Len Zak became Top JOE #4 in April of 2015