For the fourth year in a row, Kent Lane kicked off the Elk Rodeo Parade in Santa Maria, California in style.
He descended on the crowd with a huge American flag streaming the red, white, and blue behind him. His parachute also matched in red, white, and blue as well. The 74th annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo has gained notoriety over the years. This year it was nationally televised and live-streamed online. The Elks Rodeo Parade organizer, Tim Murphy, spoke highly of Lane. “It’s pretty amazing,” Murphy said.
“He comes flying down and hits his mark every year. It’s amazing.”
As with all aviation sports, the weather factors into it. Lane said that sometimes before jumps the weather doesn’t cooperate. Murphy recalls a year when the weather disturbed the event. “About two years ago we brought him in the middle of the parade,” Murphy said. The weather was not what was hoped for, according to Murphy, and they had to wait for a break in it so Lane could complete his jump.
This year the weather cooperated with clear skies and sun.
On Sunday, June 4th, military airmen held on to the same flag that was brought down by Lane during the opening of the rodeo. The rodeo and parade took place from June 1-4. Various types of riding took place at the rodeo including bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding. The winners won monetary prizes. Various vendors were at the event as well selling food and beverages.
Back in 2013, Lane started his flag jumping tradition at the Elks Rodeo. Before his first jump at the rodeo, he said, “I’m very proud to do it because I am actually a patriotic person. I just really like the sport of aviation and skydiving, and it’s neat to have people see it.” Kent Lane kicks off many rodeos in a similar manner including Old Glory, U Rodeo and the Folsom Rodeo. Lane has about 8,000 jumps to his name, including both competition and exhibition jumps.
He has been skydiving for over 40 years—he started back in 1976.
In addition, he is a United States Parachute Association (USPA) rated instructor and judge. He has competed in the Olympics in the U.S. and Seoul, Korea. In addition, he has performed in NFL football games in New York, Cleveland, Denver, San Diego, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Other events he has performed in include the MLB, Indy Car, and NASCAR. Lane participated in the world record of 400 skydivers in one formation in Thailand.
Another stunt Lane pulled was delivering pizza at halftime of the NFL Rams game to Jay Leno from skydiving. He has appeared in the Wesley Snipes movie Drop Zone as well, and he has piloted aircrafts for media and television. Before the Elks Rodeo took place, pre-sale tickets were available. Adult tickets were sold for $15 each ($5 lower than at the door), while children and senior tickets were sold for $10 ($2 less than at the door).