It can be hard to pick out the tiny town of New Windsor on a map, but imagine trying to pin point the center of its rodeo arena at 4,000 feet above the ground.
That was the task of skydiver Bobby Reid at Thursday night’s opening ceremony for the 79th annual New Windsor Rodeo.
“The arena looks like a postage stamp from 4,000 feet,” Reid said. “I can’t even tell it’s a horse and rider going through the arena, but I could see the motion. I could see the motion of a pinpoint going around.”
Reid was first inspired to take to the skies after seeing someone do a jump near his dad’s farm.
“I told my dad that’s something I got to do someday and he said, ‘Well, you’re never going to do it any younger. You might as well start now,'” Reid said.
That was 50 years and 2,000 jumps ago, but Reid still gets butterflies every time.
“You’re a little leery of it. A little worried,” he said. “It wouldn’t be any fun if it didn’t scare you a little bit.”
Before the New Windsor jump, two rain storms threatened Reid’s performance, but they cleared up just in time for a rainbow appear over the arena.
“We just got beautiful skies,” he said. “Someone’s blessing this rodeo.”
However, it was a view he couldn’t appreciate for too long — he had a job to do: get the American flag to the center of the arena.
“I’m just concentrating on making ‘S’ turns so the face of the flag faces the audience so they can see the flag good,” Reid said. “I don’t count for much. It’s the flag everyone wants to see.”
While he loves the trip down, for jumps like this, the landing is the best part.
“To be greeted on the ground by veterans, and people thank me for what I do. It’s not me, it’s that flag,” he said. “We need some patriotism right now and hopefully I can bring a little patriotism to people.”