Canadian Armed Forces skydivers performed acrobatic tricks during Stampede Week in Medicine Hat in Alberta, Canada. The skydiving group, the SkyHawks, were at the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede. The event was held from Wednesday, July 26, 2017 until Saturday, July 29, 2017 at the Medicine Hat Regional Airport.
Captain John Hart, who is in charge of the SkyHawks, commented on his team being at the Stampede. “It’s a real honor and privilege to be here in Medicine Hat,” Hart said. “I’m not sure the team has ever been here before to do a performance, so it’s quite a privilege.”
According to the event’s website, “The Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede has just concluded its annual Exhibition & Stampede. Without the support of the Medicine Hat and surrounding area communities, we wouldn’t be able to put on four days of fun and entertainment.”
Hart considered the SkyHawks participation in the event important because the theme of this year’s Stampede was “Celebrating Canada 150 Strong and Free.”
“Representing Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, especially abroad . . . is incredible,” Hart said. “It’s an awe-inspiring experience sometimes. You really get a sense of the appreciation communities feel toward the armed forces.”
The SkyHawks jumps are acrobatic in nature and they use a sport parachute while skydiving. Describing their acrobatics, Hart said, “Unlike what they teach you to do in skydiving school, we actually fly into each other. We link out lines using various techniques and pure strength. Then we do feats of acrobatics like flying upside down, flying directly toward the earth, and all sorts of cool things.”
Aside from acrobatics, the SkyHawks use colorful smoke effects to entertain crowds and make the jumpers visible. “We use Canadian Armed Forces incendiary smoke,” Hart said. “We use all these different colors for the performances. We’ll have a formation called a dueling candy cane, for example, where two guys will actually spiral around each other with six smoke canisters of different colors which looks like a candy cane.”
Hart said that children tend to love the “dueling candy cane” routine.
Their jumps during the Stampede took place from over 6,000 feet in the air. Prior to the event, the SkyHawks performed practice jumps on Wednesday, July 26.
The event website states that more than 500 people volunteered in Stampede activities. Admission for the Stampede was $9 for the general public, $4 for children between 6-12, and free for children under the age of five.
The city Medicine Hat is located about 185 miles southeast of Calgary, Canada. The website states, “The Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede (MHE & S) is a volunteer community service organization, established to provide the City of Medicine Hat and District with programs, events and facilities. Incorporated under the Alberta Companies Act on May 8th 1947 and also recognized in the Alberta Societies Act as an Agricultural Society.”
The website claimed the event was “exhibitions galore” and said that over 100 exhibitions were at the Summer Stampede Tradeshow. There were also food and drinks at the Stampede.