SHERIDAN — Former Sheridan resident Allison Reay will be part of a team of professional skydivers making an aerial entrance to the Sports Authority Field at Mile High prior to the start of the Dec. 8 Denver Broncos game against the Tennessee Titans.
Reay will make her first jump as part of Team Thunderstorm, the official Denver Broncos parachute team which makes a parachute entrance at the beginning of every home game. Although it is hard to confirm, it is likely that Reay is the first female to make a parachute entrance into the stadium.
“I think I am, but I don’t know that it is true,” Reay said. “I think that is probably the case. But I know I am the first one (woman) to jump in with this team. They’ve had this team that’s been jumping into games for five years. These guys have been my heroes for five years. These guys are pretty amazing. Most of them are just so far above me right now. Two of these guys are really world-class skydivers, so I have a lot to live up to on this jump.
“I’ve just been saying for a few years, ‘put me in, I’d love to be on it,’” she continued, about how she was chosen for this game’s performance. “They said this year if you can prove you are good enough, we’ll put you in practice. You have to try out for it. You know you have to perform and if you mess up once you are off.”
Reay is a 2004 graduate of Sheridan High School and is currently employed at Mile-Hi Skydive Center as a professional skydiving instructor and videographer. She took her first skydive as part of a high school graduation celebration with friends and became hooked on the sport. She eventually received a bachelor’s degree in technical communications from a college in Denver and has used her degree in her daily work, making videos of new skydivers.
“I shoot video full time and I shoot video for students who do their first jumps with instructors,” Reay explained. “I fly in front of them and shoot them and give them high fives in the sky as we are falling.”
Because her job requires her to jump with new students regularly, Reay said she usually makes five to 10 skydives per day during the season between May and October. The season can extend longer if the weather permits, as it did this year. Reay said cold temperatures don’t impact skydiving, but windy or inclement weather does, as it might for Sunday’s game.
Reay’s parents, Steve and Kay Reay lived in Sheridan for 30 years before relocating to Colorado several years ago. They are understandably concerned about her line of work, but say they support her 100 percent.
“She is enjoying every moment of that job,” Steve Reay said. “We both support her. Once they get that adult age you just support them and pray for them. We always have this anxious feeling inside, but I think that is normal knowing the profession she is in. There is a little bit of anxiety there. But she is just one of those daredevil-type people and adventurous.”
He said his daughter has made close to 5,000 jumps and he has even joined her on two skydives.
“It was fun and we really had a good time,” he said.
Reay said being selected for the jump team for Sunday’s game is a big honor for his daughter.
“The guys have done it quite a bit,” he said. “When you see them jumping into a game these guys are the experts of the experts. These aren’t tandem, rookie people, these are top notch. So we feel real honored she made the team. That is a real accomplishment for her to do that.”
“They used to be nervous for me,” Allison Reay said about her parents. “There is not much I can do anymore to worry them.”
Though she is trying. She has taken up BASE jumping and recently returned from a BASE jumping trip to Moab, Utah. Rather than launching from an airplane thousands of feet in the air, BASE jumping involves jumping from a fixed location, often the top of a cliff or canyon just hundreds of feet high, and deploying a parachute before landing. It carries a significantly higher risk of injury or death than skydiving from a plane due to the shorter amount of time available to deploy the chute while falling. However, for Reay, it is simply an extension of her love of parachuting.
“It’s just amazing. I am passionate about flying parachutes,” she said. “I just try to do whatever I can to keep my feet off the ground at all times.”