- 040: Koemi Valencia - First Competition Year
2023 marks the first year of Koemi Valencia being on an official competitive skydiving team. Ask her yourself, this is a dream she's been chasing since she started skydiving, just a few years ago. Driven and inspired, Koemi takes us through what her journey to this stage has been like so far, and where she wants to go moving forward with her competitive goals in skydiving.
Koemi has a wonderful way of definitively expressing exactly how most of us feel in this sport, and it's a breathe of fresh air to hear it come from someone of her experience. Don't miss this well spoken and intuitive episode!1h 3m | Sep 20, 2023
- 039: Denise and Kory Kruzikas - A Couple's MFS Journey
Have you ever dreamed of sharing a face meltingly awesome adventure with your partner? Surely you've dreamt of what you'd do on said adventure... the sights you'd see, the things you'd talk about, the places you'd go together, the shenanigans you'd get up to? If you've lost yourself daydreaming about this very idea, then look no further than Denise and Kory Kruzikas--these two are every skydiving couples' dream.
Denise met Kory back in 2010 after several years of their individual skydiving careers already under their belt. To say it was love at first sight, is probably an understatement. Truly, in this episode, they share the touching story of how they got together in the first place, and how Kory, quite literally, swept Denise off her feet.
Since those early days, they've come to form SDMW's local MFS team, Ballistix. Along with their camera man, Ben Shafer, this team is headed off to the 2023 USPA Nationals, for yet another run at the podium this year. Listen in as the dynamic duo fill me in on what training with your partner is like, and how it can ultimately enhance the competition experience.1h 4m | Sep 14, 2023
- 038: Matt Congdon - Constant Pursuit
Known as literally the nicest guy on the dropzone, Matt Congdon has made a name for himself through a constant pursuit of knowledge, and then passing that information onto the next generation of skydivers. Truly, there's nothing more exciting for Matt than to either be pursuing his own goals, or helping others achieve their own.
Join us as we discuss what Matt's start in skydiving was like, how he feels about competition skydiving, and what's next for him. This episode is full of laughs and hilarity, so be sure to tune in!1h 41m | Sep 8, 2023
- 037: Sam Stenzel - To Infinity and Beyond
Remember the name Sam Stenzel. Someday, you're gonna hear it on the news or in an article or see him in a video talking about the next big adventure in space exploration. Seriously--this kid is going places.
Sam has been flying in more ways than one, since he was very young. As a gymnast, he spent more than his fair share of time in the air tackling a wide variety of aerial stunts and tricks. As a young teenager, he began tunnel flying--quickly becoming one of the most accomplished flyers at iFly Minneapolis in a few mere months. Not only that, but he also acquired his pilot's license and became a certified scuba diver shortly after. Now, at eighteen years old, Sam has checked off another box--he got his A-license.
Now, he joins Sam to talk about what that particular process was like, what he's enjoying about our community so far, and where he wants to go moving forward. You don't want to miss this episode---Sam is an incredibly bright and kind whiz kid, one with an incredibly promising future in our sport!48m | Sep 2, 2023
- 036: Patrick Kessler - Canopy Pilot Extraordinaire
It's hard not to notice Patrick Kessler on the dropzone. He is after all, almost seven feet tall. But that's not what makes him stand out. No, what really makes Patrick stand out from the crowd is his unusually quiet nature. Truly, Pat is the quietly stoic figure in the room, letting his keen observational skills and soft advice do all the talking for him. Which is probably why he's an exceptionally astute canopy coach.
In this episode, we go over how Patrick got started in the skydiving world, what led him to pursue canopy piloting, and why he's so intent on sharing the knowledge he's gleaned with the rest of the skydiving community. Lots of laughter and hilariously on the nose analogies in this one, folks. Don't miss it!1h 32m | Aug 29, 2023
- 035: Travis Mickle - A Wingsuiter's Delight
Very likely the most laid back guy on the dropzone, Travis Mickle has created a name for himself not only as an incredibly easy going dude, but also as one of the more talented wingsuit pilots of the world.
In this episode, Travis takes listeners through a brief overview of his early skydiving days and what got him started in this sport we all know and love. Listen in, as Travis tells Sam all about his competition days as a wingsuiter, what kinds of competition he's chasing after moving forward, and gives his stark opinion on the world of wingsuiting as we know it today.1h 23m | Aug 26, 2023
- 034: SDMW Chemtrails - Hottest Boy Band in the Upper Midwest
If you've never met the guys of Skydive Midwest Chemtrails, you should immediately get in your car and head to SDMW, because you're missing out on the chance of knowing (and flying with) five incredibly cool people.
Currently known as the biggest 4-Way VFS team (seriously they're almost all over seven feet tall), Chemtrails is comprised of DZO Keith George, lineman Matt Congdon, electrician Colin Conway, business intelligence director Kyle Brady, and podiatrist Nathan Norem. Together they’ve formed a team who probably has the most fun with competing, a fact made incredibly obvious just by watching their daily antics on the dropzone.
Recorded as a send-off for when the team heads to the FAI 2023 World Cup Competition in Voss, Norway this weekend--this episode gets a little weird as we establish who’s who on this team with some "fan-submitted" questions. Laugh along as they regale me with some absolutely hilarious team stories from years past. Don’t miss this episode, and don’t forget to well-wish the team on their way to Norway!
Team instagram: @sdmwchemtrails
Competition updates: www.skydivemidwest.com/blog/44m | Aug 14, 2023
- 033: Elliot Byrd - A Cameraflyer's Journey
Have you ever wondered how the cameraman became the cameraman? Has the thought, "How did he get SO good at that..." ever crossed your mind when leafing through your local cameraman's reel? If so, you should absolutely NOT miss this episode.
In the fourteen years Elliot Byrd has been skydiving, he's amassed thousand of jumps across multiple disciplines--though a large number of them have been devoted specifically to camera flying. Known as THE cameraman at Skydive Midwest, and the prolific owner of Byrd's Eye Studio, Elliot has had his hands in multiple video and camera projects, primarily big-way events, records, and team skydiving. Though most recently, he's taken on the role of SDMW's media manager, which puts him front and center, creating content on a daily basis.
In this episode, we get a look behind the curtain of how Elliot has gotten to this point in his skydiving career, what projects he's looking to tackle in the future, and we get a vast breakdown on how to approach camera flying safely and what to prepare for as you're pondering the idea of adding cameraflying to your skillset.
Elliot's website: www.byrdseyestudio.com1h 37m | Aug 12, 2023
- 032: Dunning Kruger Effect w/ Tubbs and Nate
The Dunning Kruger Effect... maybe you've heard of it? Let me give you a little breakdown just in case you haven't. The DKE is a cognitive bias which says that people with low ability, expertise, or experience regarding a type of task or area of knowledge tend to overestimate their ability or knowledge. There's more to it than just that obviously, but the aforementioned phrase is something we hear far too often in the skydiving community. It begs the questions: How do we become more aware of when we're falling victim to this bias... and how can we make a lasting difference in our awareness as we continue our progression through our jumping careers?
Tune in to hear Sam, Tubbs, and Nate Shannon discuss these very same questions, where they break down more fully what DKE is, how it affects our community, all while discussing what changes can be made using their own experiences as examples.1h 11m | Aug 3, 2023
- 031: Kazu Oyama - Learn Safe, Have Fun
If you've never heard the name Kazu Oyama before now, then stop what you're doing and listen to this episode stat! Be prepared to laugh, so enter at your own risk!
Far and away one of the most knowledgeable skydivers you'll ever meet, Kazu Oyama also possesses the unique ability to be simultaneously intimidating and hilarious. Clocking in at over 7 feet tall (a tiny exaggeration) and constantly cracking jokes all over the dz, it's easy to see why both descriptors apply. Not only that, but as the dropzone's resident Examiner and master rigger, it's his job to make sure everyone is safe and up to snuff.
Don't miss this episode--it's gonna make you laugh!1h 10m | Jul 19, 2023
- 030: Gorka Amian - A Man of Many Talents
Gorka Amian is a one-of-a-kind guy. That may seem like a cliche introduction, but there is nothing cliche about the man himself. Intensely focused, competitive, and unique--Gorka has lived, breathed, and slept skydiving for years. It doesn't matter what the discipline is--if he has a goal, he makes it happen, whether that task is to compete in VFS, FS, learn to judge skydiving meets, or taking on the leadership roles in big way events. Gorka Amian is quite literally a man who could do it all, if he wanted.
Don't miss this fascinating look inside Gorka's mind to see what makes him tick, why he took on so many of the massive projects he's been involved in so far, and where he wants to go in the future.1h 31m | Jul 12, 2023
- 029: Monique Schulz - Female Tandem Instructors
Mo Schulz is a seriously awesome person. Not from any one place in particular, Mo has been in the skydiving game for most of her adult life, and traveled all over the country working at various dropzones in different roles. As such, she's learned a thing or two about the going-ons at various dropzones.
In recent years, she's experienced some major life changes--she moved to the Midwest, had and raised a pretty awesome baby, started a cooking blog, and earned all her instructor ratings. In this episode, in addition to tell us her origin story, she also takes a deep dive with Sam into the wonder (and sometimes agony) of being a female tandem instructor.
Mo's cooking blog: https://thebondofcooking.com/1h 51m | Jul 8, 2023
- 028: Mike Silva - Bodyflight Instructor of the Century
Mike Silva is one of the best known names in the tunnel coaching industry. And for good reason--as one of the most experienced bodyflight coaches in the country, Mike has been around and coaching fliers of all shapes and sizes for what seems like an eternity. For years, he's been cultivating and sharing his knowledge about the dynamics of body flight with others. Everything from the four basic body orientations, both static and dynamic flights, the tips and tricks of VFS, and the dazzling methodology behind trick flying. In addition to his extensive competition history, Mike also created a name for himself teaching other coaches how to better themselves and their craft inside and out of the tunnel.
WARNING: DO NOT MISS THIS EPISODE. This is a tiny peek into the inner workings of Mike's thought process about coaching methodologies, as well as how to better hone your own skills as an instructor/teacher/coach. Listen closely and you might just learn a thing or two on how to apply his methods to your own students, and how to bring the beauty and excitement of our community to others.2h 21m | Jun 28, 2023
- 027: Scott Robinson - Renaissance Man
Scott Robinson might be one of the coolest cats on the dropzone. Just ask anyone who knows him--Scott is far and away one of the kindest, sauciest, and genuinely cool dude in the jumping community. From flying airplanes, to joining bigways, to working in a wind tunnel, or as a skydiving instructor, Scott has pretty much tried it all--making him an exceptionally knowledgeable member of our community as well. Don't miss this episode--join me this week in listening Scott tell his tale in the deepest, most sultry radio voice to ever grace this podcast.1h 16m | Jun 18, 2023
- 026: Oxytocin Burst
If you’ve never heard of it before, oxytocin is your “happy hormone.” It’s responsible for the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you interact or touch someone you’re attracted to. It has the power to regulate your emotional responses, including trust, empathy, gazing, positive memories, and bonding cues. But--how does this relate to skydiving?
In this week’s episode, Sam is joined by four very experienced and amazing women from the world of skydiving to discuss this rather exciting topic. Listen in as the gang discusses where you might find this phenomenon occurring on the dropzone, what it looks like, and how this occurrence affects men and women differently. Pay close attention as they tell their stories, how this knowledge might change how you interact with your customers, and why it might not always be the best thing to indulge upon.1h 3m | Jun 7, 2023
- 025: ECHELON - with Josh Evans
Josh Evans of The Content Clearinghouse joins Sam again this week for a special episode completely devoted to an amazing skydiving event called “Echelon.” Created and operated by Andy Malchiodi and Matt Fry, the appropriately named event marks the coming together of some of the best freefliers in the world, to create unique and awe-inspiring skydiving formations, the likes of which our community is only just beginning to conceptualize.1h 27m | Jun 7, 2023
- 024: Daniel Kajewski and Heather Culver - 4 Way Nationals
Two very special folks join Sam this week on Fall Risk -- enter Dan and Heather -- two of the nicest folks you'll ever meet on the dropzone. Join the gang this week as they discuss Heather and Dan's early days in skydiving and the tunnel. And hold onto your butts as they give everyone a rundown on their latest (and victorious) excursion to USPA 2022 Skydiving National Championships. Theirs is truly a tale of excitement and perseverance and you for sure do not want to miss this one!2h 6m | May 25, 2023
- 023: DROPZONE vs CUTAWAY - Part Two w/ Josh Evans
Back at you with Part Two of comparing and contrasting Dropzone vs. Cutaway with Josh Evans, of The Content Clearinghouse! Next up is Cutaway!
Plot synopsis: "A drug enforcement agent goes undercover on a skydiving team to track down illegal drugs." -- What's not included: "...where speedstars are the pinnacle of the skydiving community, and it's normal to see people sit on the edge of airborne aircraft without a rig."
Spoiler alert: Again, make sure you've seen the movie before listening! Enter at your own risk!1h 26m | May 19, 2023
- 022: DROPZONE vs CUTAWAY - Part One w/ Josh Evans
Back at you this week with a double feature! The one and only Josh Evans, of The Content Clearinghouse, joins Sam to discuss two of the most famous skydiving movies ever created: Dropzone and Cutaway.
First up: Dropzone!
Plot synopsis: "A tough cop teams up with a professional skydiver to capture a renegade computer hacker on the run from the law." -- What should have been added, "...and the most insanity filled skydiving progression you've ever seen on the big screen, in addition to landings so bad you would have though they were jumping rounds the entire time."
Spoiler alert: Watch these movies if you haven't yet and then come back and listen to their individual takes on them.2h 8m | May 19, 2023
- 021: Mary Dalman - Journey to the Nationals Podium
Newly crowned, 4-way silver medalist Mary Dalman had the most fruitful summer of her skydiving career in 2022. She, along with her team, Cinnamon Roll Fight Club made the journey to 2022 USPA Skydiving. Nationals last fall, after an intense year filled with training, hard work, and perseverance from the entire team. Join us as she tells Sam about the entire process from start to finish, what she thinks is the most important part of building a team, and where she wants to go moving forward for her follow up year.1h 21m | May 13, 2023