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Welcome to OmniBits!

Thursday, November 1

7:30 a.m.

Good morning again, another beautiful day at Eloy, and 16-way is loading up round 1. There are I believe 7 16-way teams registered. Going to grab the camera and try to get some pictures going for the rest of the week now that 4- and 8-way are done. -T2

Kevin Vetter and Dan Pillasch Anybody know these two characters? I met them at Muskogee Oklahoma at the 1986 Nationals. Kevin V and Dan P are doing 16-way. They haven't changed in years. I'm catching up to them fast in the gray hair department though...I see now there are 6 Freestylers going to start today....

10:30 a.m.
16-way round 1 is done and GKXP has a 2-point lead over Airspeed and Deguello 17. The latter looked like they had a bad exit but once they got it going they looked pretty good.

Also going on today are the Artist Events: Freestyle and Freeflying, as well as CF 2-Way.

11:15 a.m.
WOW did GKXP just blister through round 2 in 16-way, that 15 is going to be very hard to catch up to for the rest of the field. Sweet skydive. Hopefully we'll have the video up by tomorrow if not sooner.

1:00 p.m.
I'm back in the judges' fishbowl pushing buttons on round 4. GKXP and Airspeed both had nice jumps. Deguello had a bad exit and took a looooong time building the first point and took a 3. I'll say thank you Deguello for moving from the white jumpsuits to the dark blue. MUCH easier to judge than the white suits. -T2

2:00 p.m.
GKXP just put up a clinic on round 4. They used some grip engineering to swing chunks into position between the two block moves for a very sweet 16, 5 more than Airspeed's 11 (which was no slouch). -T2

2:15 p.m.
Speaking of Kevin Vetter, this is the first competition in a long time that he has not competed in a Canopy Event.  Luckily he is having so much fun doing 16-way.

Check back later for my interview with the Golden Knights as they head into the final rounds of 16-way.

Freestyle Teams are heading to the aircraft now!

3:45 p.m.
With one round to go, the Golden Knights have a 15 point lead.  The best round any other team has had so far is a 13.

4:00 p.m. - Mary
Well, I just had a great opportunity to spend some time with Brian Krause, "BK" Team Captain of the Golden Knights.  What an amazing person he is.  Brian was kind enough to share some of his thoughts going into the last round of 16-way.

A thrill seeker from a very young age, his Mom was not at all surprised when BK joined the Army and became a Paratrooper and later became a Golden Knight. 

A very humble person, BK gives all of the credit of his success in this sport to his team.  He says that everything they do, they do as team and that if one team mate succeeds, they all succeed.

The Golden Knights 8-way and 4-way have teamed up this year for 16-way with members of PX8 and the addition of Rook Nelson of the US VFS Team, Standard.

Although the 16-way group has not done a single training jump together, BK says that with Kirk Verner and Kurt Eisenbarger in proactive Center Positions, the entire team is able to maintain a very high level of non-verbal communication.

When I asked BK what the team's strategy was going into the last round of 16-way, he said simply, "Make it Happen."  He is planning on having his team continue with the same pace they have set on previous rounds.

Though this will be Krause's last year competing in a Nationals as a Golden Knight, when I asked him what the very best part of this Nationals experience has been for him personally.  Despite the fact that his team was awarded the Gold Medal yesterday in 8-way, BK said that seeing the Golden Knights all female 4-way team receive a standing ovation during the Awards Ceremony as they collected their medals, was the high point for him.

BK said the immense amount of pride that he felt at that moment was the most rewarding.  He wants the world to see that the US Army is inclusive and shows so much diversity.  The people on his team are like a family for him and seeing the team receive recognition with the first all female team ever to medal in a National 4-way meet, he said sends an amazing message to the world and how they perceive the military.  He considers every member of his team, not just fellow skydivers and team mates, but fellow soldiers. He values that strong bond.

Since this is BK last Nationals before retiring after 23 years in the military, I asked him if it was difficult for him to walk away.  BK said he is not retiring from the sport and plans on continuing his competitive presence but as a civilian.

Though bittersweet, he said he is ready and according to BK, "It's time.  The team needs younger, more experienced jumpers with a wide range of experience.

BK role on the team has been to lead and teach.  At the same time BK says, no job is too small and his motto is "Take Care of Business."  When confronted with an obstacle or challenge, his mantra is "Find a Way".

Krause credits the Army for his personal success in life.  The Army gave him the tools and confidence he needed to succeed in life and in this sport at the very highest level.  Now as a senior member of the team with over 15,600 skydives, BK says that watching the personal growth of others and seeing the team nurture and teach the younger members the skills that he has, gives him an enormous sense of pride.  BK measures the success he has had as a Golden Knight by the kind of reputation he has built as a teacher and leader, as he passes the torch to the next generation of champions.

BK made his first jump in 1994 in Raeford, North Carolina.  He was doing a standard Clear and Pull from 4,000ft.  As he exited the aircraft, he rolled over and just then, the pilot chute deployed as it wrapped under his shoulder and around his neck. 

After all of the “kicking and screaming” was over, according to Krause, he cutaway his main, watching it blossom briefly and float away and with the aid of the RSL, the reserve parachute deployed safely over his head.  Only then did he notice that he was missing one of his shoes.

Taking the whole incident in stride, BK went right back up on a successful clear and pull jump and the rest is history.

Watching him recount this first jump story, BK’s eyes lit up and smiled as if it were just yesterday.

The same “Taking it all in stride” attitude is one that has become a big part of BK’s personal method of coping with obstacles and conflict.

BK has the love and support of his parents, who have followed his career and success very closely.

Recently, BK had the honor of taking his Mom to fly in the wind tunnel.  Diagnosed with breast cancer and having completed the difficult medical procedures, BK’s mom was finally cleared by her doctor to fly in the tunnel. Unable to make a skydive with her son due to her condition, BK entrusted his good friend, Kirk Verner to accompany him as he flew in the tunnel with his Mom.

According to Krause his Mom "Loved it!"

Remember, you heard it here first…BK plans on teaming up in the future with his good friend Kirk Verner. 

Thank you again, BK for your time! Congratulations and best wishes.  Mary

4:55 p.m.
Best round of the day, so far, Airspeed with an 18 on round 10 but stay tuned,  GKXP scores soon to be posted!

Deguello with a Bronze Medal Congratulations!

4:56 p.m.
GKXP with a 16 on Round 10 for the Gold!
Airspeed Silver!

GKXP had a shot at a National record on round 6, a very fast jump. But they had a bad exit, and by the time they got it rolling too much time was lost. - T2

5:30 p.m.
That wraps it up for this days bits, the AE judges will be working for a while longer and we'll keep posting the scores as late as we can. Thanks and see you tomorrow! T2

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