« Back to Bridge Day Rappel Blog

25 Rappel Teams Selected For Bridge Day Rappel

For Immediate Release Benjy Simpson

June 29, 2018 [email protected]

304 574-1037

25 Rappel Teams Selected For Bridge Day Rappel

The rappel lottery was held Friday, June 29, at Bridge Walk in Lansing, West Virginia. 

Twenty-five teams were selected for this year’s 2018 Bridge Day Rappel:  There are five new

teams this year.  Over three hundred rappellers will be participating in the Bridge Day Rappel.

2018 Bridge Day Rappel

Anchor

Team

Leader

From

1

Black Swamp Brigade

Kenneth R. Adams

OH

2

Extreme Rappels #1

Michael Phelps

CA, NC, NV, OH, PA

3

A Frayed Knot

Don Straw

PA

4

Spread ’em and Drop

Matthew Vickey

PA

5

Team Poseidon

Victoria Airey

MD, MI, NC, VA

6

Canadian Fire

Tony Macdonald

Canada

7

Chattanooga Grotto

Patrick Wilson

GA, NC, TN

8

Vespula squamosa

Riannon Colton

CA, CO, GA

9

High Hangin’ Hoosiers

Sharon Schierling

IN, TN

10

Extreme Rappels #2

John Cadle

NC, OH

11

Safety Team

Glen Kuehner

AL, FL, MD, NC, OH, PA

12

S B Rescue Group

Jon Tobin

FL, GA, OH

13

US Rope Access

John Haustein

TN

14

OHKY

Greg Matulionis

OH, KY

15

Ohio SRT Team

Carl Swanigan

MS, OH, WV

16

“Whatever”

Glenn Fell

FL

17

Highline

Larry Smith

KY, NC, OH, WV

18

The TAG Team

Darien Dopp

GA, TN, VA

19

Monongahela Grotto 1

Brian Masney

VA, WV

20

VBATS 1

Mike “TinY” Manke

GA, PA, WV

21

Vertically Inclined

Neil Gregory

MD, NC, PA

22

Born Rescue Riggers

Russ Born

OH

23

CaveYakers

Tilman McDonald

TN

24

VBATS 2

Harold Calvert

AL, GA, KY, TN

25

Extreme Rappels #3

Andrew Rentzel

MD, NC, PA, TN, VA

Bridge Day is held annually on the third Saturday in October to commemorate the

October 1977 completion of the New River Gorge Bridge.  The New River Gorge Bridge is

the 3nd longest single arch bridge in the world.  The Bridge is the 3rd highest bridge in the

United States and the 13th highest bridge in the world.  The New River Gorge Bridge is 876’

above the New River, the 2nd oldest river in the world.  Bridge Day is one of the top 100

festivals in North America, and West Virginia’s largest one day festival.  Saturday, October

20, 2018 will be the 39th Bridge Day.  It has been estimated that Bridge Day brings more than

$1,000,000+ into the southern West Virginia economy each year.

The rappel teams will rappel distances between seven hundred and eight hundred and

fifty feet depending on their respective anchor on the catwalk of the New River Gorge Bridge.

Anchors 1 and 2 have the farthest rappel. 

This year there will be four ascending  ropes giving more rappellers the opportunity to

ascend or climb the rope.  Dr. Peter Hertl of Raleigh, North Carolina supervises the

ascending ropes.

Glen Kuehner, from Florida, will return as the Bridge Day Rappel Safety Officer.  This

will be his seventh  year as the leader of the Safety Team. 

Benjy Simpson and his son, Benjy III, and their adventure company, Passages To

Adventure, have been coordinating the Bridge Day rappel since 1992; 28 years.  During that

time, there have been 15,183 New River Gorge Bridge rappels with 2,126 high lines.  The

rappeller’s age range has been from 8 to 81. 

The Bridge Day High Line was first done in 1994.  It started again in 2001 and has

been done every Bridge Day since; 18 total years.  The High Line gives the general public

the opportunity to be a Bridge Day participant.  Both rappelling and BASE jumping require

equipment, training, and experience.  No experience is required for the high line.  The age

range for the high line has been from 8 to 76.  There are limited spaces available for the High

Line.  The high line is $155 per person plus tax, $164.30.  The price includes a shuttle

back to the top of the Bridge.  Register on line at www.bridgedayrappel.com.   There were

132 high line riders last year. 

Larry Smith and his team will be rigging the High Line.  Smith has been helping with

the High Line for fourteen years; eleven years as the team leader.     

Bridge Walk will be offering shortened catwalk tours during Bridge Day.  The Bridge

Walk guests meet on the north end of the Bridge.  After safety instructions, putting on a

harness, and attaching to the safety system, the guests walk to the center of the Bridge and

watch BASE jumpers glide and/or fall beneath them.  Many guests bring cameras and take

panoramic photos of the beautiful fall vista of the New River Gorge as well as the BASE

jumpers.  Reservations can be made by calling Bridge Walk 304 574-1300.  The cost is $84

plus tax.  There were 162 Bridge Day Walkers last year.

As it has been done every year since 9/11, Bridge Day will begin and end with the

raising and lowering of the American and West Virginia flags.  Each year two rappellers have

ascended a rope with the American flag between the two climbers and the West Virginia flag

below the second climber.  At 3 pm, after the last BASE jumper has left the New River Gorge

Bridge, two rappellers rappel with the two flags.  Extreme Rappels, Michael Phelps, from

Ohio, and Todd Handley, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, have been coordinating the flags

since 2001; sixteen years.  The best location to see both the raising and lowering of our flags

is from below the Bridge.

For information about the New River Gorge Bridge Day Rappel, the high line, Bridge

Walk, and Bridge Day, please go to:

www.bridgedayrappel.com (rappel and high line) 304 574-1037

www.facebook.com/bridgedayrappel

www.bridgewalk.com 304 574-1300

www.facebook.com/newrivergorgebridgewalk

www.officialbridgeday.com.

  • Posted in: