Perilous plunge is patriotic pleasure at Folsom Pro Rodeo

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
-A +A
FOLSOM CA - Skydiver Kent Lane has performed at the Olympics, NFL games, Nascar races, Major League Baseball games and even ?air delivered? a pizza to Jay Leno at an NFL halftime show. And once again he will thrill the crowds as he dives into the Folsom Pro Rodeo arena to kick off the event. Lane and pilot Mike Duncan will fly 4,500 feet above the arena. when arena officials give the signal, Lane will exit the Cessna 206 and skydive into the arena to Lee Greenwood?s ?Proud to be an American,? with Old Glory in tow. ?I try to time my landing to the last note of the song,? Lane said. Landing safely in the arena is no easy feat. ?It?s one of the more difficult places to land,? he said. ?If you look up toward the upwind side of the arena, there are high wires right there. You have to be careful.? In 1976 Lane was with a cousin at a racing event when he saw a couple of skydivers. The two decided to give skydiving a shot. Lane, 59, got hooked and now has completed more than 8,500 competition and exhibition jumps. Lane has competed on a national and world level winning several gold medals and overall champion cups in US Precision Freefall Championships. He said he is a two time World Champion competing on the US Team and has held three World Records. Adam Switzer, of Orangevale, said he?s seen Lane jump at a previous rodeo. ?It?s really cool,? he said. ?It?s kind of hard to believe that he can land so perfectly in the arena and avoid any obstacles in the area.? Lane said he has a few thoughts running through his head as he prepares to exit the plane. ?The fun part is when I?m in the airplane when we are on final approach we fly right over the top of Folsom Prison. At that time I am sitting on the floor with my feet hanging out and thinking, I better not fall out here,? he joked. Lane has competed all over the world including China, Soviet Union (Russia), South Africa and Yugoslavia. He?s coached also coached the special forces in Taiwan and recently participated in the World Record of 400 skydivers in one formation in Thailand. He made the first successful jump off of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in 1978.