Relax, get your mind straight and get a good night’s rest.
It’s the first step Luke Breshears takes the night before a demonstration jump. He’s done it over 800 times in three years, but the process always stays the same.
The 26-year-old Kingsburg native is readying for his first jump into Bulldog Stadium on Saturday with the BulldogBlitz skydiving team. It’s his first year jumping with the team — consisting of Brandy Robertson, Sarah Gilbert, Nick Hernandez and Breshears — after working two years with the ground crew.
For some, the notion of jumping out of an airplane and hurtling towards earth at terminal velocity with nothing but a parachute standing between life and death is an impossible thought. But for Breshears, it was just the next natural step in a life full of risks and adventures.
He hit the ground running when his father bought him a motorcycle when he was just three years old. Racing and riding was what he grew up with and did until he broke his back in a motocross race.
During an eight-month recovery process, Breshears realized he was never going to be a professional motocross racer, so he turned his attention to skydiving. He called up Madera Parachute Center and started his training there.
“The freedom of it, actually flying in the sky, was something I fell in love with and I was there every weekend and I knew this was what I wanted to do,” Breshears said. “I actually did it while working [at Corsaro’s Family Pizza], so I paid with money I got with tips. I paid through all of my way through skydiving off of tips from Kingsburg people. I’d pull up a stack of $300 or whatever it cost that day of $1 bills and fives.”
Breshears had jumped once before when he was 16 with his friends in Lodi because it was the only place offering skydiving at his young age. One jump was all it took for him to fall in love with it.
And the skydiving lifestyle fits Breshears’ outlook perfectly.
“I try to wake up every day and just say, ‘How can I make this day as big as possible?’” he said.
Case in point, he once traveled to Ko Tao, an island in Thailand, to learn how to scuba dive. He landed in Bangkok and then traveled over 1,000 miles by bus to get to his destination. It took him five days and he did it alone and with no cell phone.
Traveling is just one of the few things he likes to do in his free time. Breshears will hike 12 miles in Yosemite, head to the coast or simply see how many pushups he can do in one day.
As he puts it, “I’m afraid of not living. I’m not afraid to die.”
And as fate would have it, his first jump at Madera Parachute Center was with now BulldogBlitz teammate Robertson. She was his instructor and helped him earn his license in a little over a month.
You have free articles remaining.
“I fell in love with the people there, I fell in love with the sport and just hammered it out,” Breshears said. “I knew I wanted to be a tandem instructor and along the way I started working with BulldogBlitz.”
He eventually became a tandem instructor and a demo jumper. In order to earn the latter, he had to have 500 jumps under his belt and land in a 10-meter circle 10 times in a row. Ever since taking the plunge into skydiving, Breshears said he averages 200-300 jumps per year.
Breshears, a 2011 graduate of Kingsburg High School, said he’s the first tandem instructor, demo and wingsuit jumper from Kingsburg. It’s something he’s immensely proud to say.
Now as part of BulldogBlitz, he’s jumped into Chukchansi Park four times and has had one practice jump into Bulldog Stadium, which he called terrifying. The team was scheduled to jump on Sept. 7 at the game, but high winds forced them to cancel.
The parameters for jumping all have to be met before they leave the plane. Winds have to be at 12 miles per hour or lower and clouds can’t be lower than 5,000 feet. They’re also in constant contact with the ground crew and pilot.
Before the jump he’s packed his parachute, checked and rechecked it, turned on his altimeter and has his GoPro ready to go.
The plane flies over 20 minutes before the jump and orbits until they get the go-ahead.
“Right when the door opens, it’s go time. All bets are off,” Breshears said. “You don’t have any more time to be scared. Now it’s just moving and doing your job.”
BulldogBlitz then follows their plan of who jumps first, what altitudes they each deploy at and the orders of landing.
“When you jump into a stadium, it’s not as easy as just jumping out of an airplane and landing,” Breshears said. “We have these really, really tight deadlines.”
That deadline is a two-minute window from sky to land, which means only three can jump at a time. On their last jump, he followed Robertson, which was a full circle moment for him due to the fact that she taught him how to skydive.
Skydiving is something he plans on continuing, but what’s next for Breshears? Some of his goals include climbing one of the seven summits, BASE jumping and traveling to a new country every year.
But for now, he’s just excited to jump into Bulldog Stadium on Saturday.
“I’m just really proud to be from Kingsburg,” Breshears said. “I’m really excited to be doing this and to be able to be standing on that field and hear my hometown’s name over the loud speakers is a really amazing thing for me.”