If you’ve been to Skydive Chicago, more than likely you’ve seen this guy around. He’s one of our instructors that loves his career in skydiving, is known for having a unique name and loves this place. Join us as we get to know our team member, Rogers Stack!
Section I: Personal Questions
Give us the skinny. How old are you, where are you from and how did you end up at Skydive Chicago?
I’m 33 and I’m from the great Pacific Northwest, Spokane, WA to be exact.
I was working at Skydive Sebastian as a full-time instructor and got to meet a bunch of really cool people from Skydive Chicago (SDC) as they came through for team training, record camps, and events. They started dropping hints of how awesome SDC was to my girlfriend Larissa and I and said we should look into moving up there and maybe working there. The more and more we heard about SDC the more we liked the idea. Then “Boom” it happened, I applied and got hired and Larissa found a killer gig at Para Concepts and became a senior rigger (way to go babe). Thanks to all those people who pushed us to make the move, you know who you are.
What were you like as a kid?
A pain in the ass.
Were there any indicators early on that might make one think you’d become a skydiving instructor?
No, not really, I always told my parents I was going to try it one day. I had no idea I would become an instructor and make it my career.
Before skydiving, what were your favorite passions and/or hobbies and why?
I have always been a huge outdoor person. Camping, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, snow shoeing, mountain biking. If it is outdoors I will probably be down for it.
What job(s) did you have before you found skydiving?
The job I had right before I started skydiving full time was management at Lowe’s home improvement. Before that other retail gigs and I also spent a few years out of high school working on a farm.
Section II – Skydiving Questions
What is the story of how you got into skydiving (including who/what inspired you to go; where and when you learned, etc)?
The X-Games, I saw skysurfing and thought that looked awesome. I was 13 when I called the nearest DZ to me and asked about making a tandem skydive. They told me I was too young and needed to be 18 to sign the waiver. So I waited and made my first tandem jump at West Plains Skydiving in Davenport, WA when I was 19.
Tell the story of what happened after your first jump and how you decided to continue:
When I landed with my tandem instructor Jeff Sanders I was white as a ghost and almost passed out. I said that was awesome and there was no way that was going to be my last and only experience with skydiving. So I saved up all winter long and had enough money to pay for the course and my A-license signed up for the very first ground school they offered the next season. I figured maybe solo would be better.
What’s something about the sport that surprised you that you didn’t know when you started?
How many different walks of the life the sport pulls from. I had no idea the community in the sport was so close knit.
Do you remember having a ‘break-through’ moment when things began to click?
It was on my 3 solo jump, my first practice rip cord pull (that’s IAD and static line talked for those who don’t know), we were in a Cessna 182 at about 3500 feet getting ready for the door to come open and my instructor Steph looked at me and said “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” I didn’t understand what that meant until I got down and saw how not slow and not smooth I was at my first attempt. After that, it clicked and I realized if I rush I suck. That term “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” has stuck with me through my skydiving career.
What attracted you to get a job in the skydiving industry?
The fact that it was not retail and not a 9-5. I was sick of not doing something I loved. We grow up as a child and are told dream big, Chase your dreams and do what you love. Well, I was doing none of those and I knew I loved skydiving. I told myself if I don’t try my hand at skydiving full time now then I won’t do it later on. So I “Cut Away” and jumped into shooting tandem vids and coaching students.
How long have you been at Skydive Chicago and what is your position?
I have been here since March 2018. I’m a tandem and AFP instructor as well as videographer.
What is your favorite part of being an instructor?
Seeing all the different emotions on passengers students and solo students.
What is your favorite event and why?
Well now that I have been to one, SummerFest hands down. The organizers, the people that travel from all over the world, the vibe this place has, the fireworks and stunts and UFO jumps. I could go on and on about why SummerFest is the best. You just need to come and experience it.
What is your favorite part of the sport and why?
That’s an easy one. The people and the community. It’s pretty awesome when people from all over the world with different accents, languages and color of skin can do what they love together. Community is important and skydivers know how to do that best. Especially here at SDC.
Section III – Fast Facts
Favorite junk food?
Right now it is hi-chew candies
Favorite place you’ve visited:
Place you want to visit that you haven’t been to yet?
Way too many to list.
What you said as a kid:
“When I grow up I want to be: a baseball player.”
Something about you that few people know about and would be surprised to learn?
My family growing up had pet squirrels. We had 18 of them in the house at one point.
Best book you’ve ever read?
To Kill a Mockingbird – don’t know why I just love that book.
If you were to write a book, what would be the title?
“Explaining your name: A guide into explaining why your name sounds plural”
Most used app on your smartphone?