2019 Bridge Day Rappel
27 Rappel Teams Selected For 2019 Bridge Day
Twenty-seven teams have been selected for this year’s 2019 Bridge Day Rappel: This
will be the most rappel teams ever to participate on a Bridge Day. There are three new teams
this year. Fayette County native Debra Parker will be leading a 1st ever all female team. Long
time safety team member Talia Sepiol will have her own team this year, the Berserkers. And
David Obi has the UDK team. Over three hundred rappellers will be participating in this year’s
Bridge Day Rappel.
2019 Bridge Day Rappel Teams
|1||Chics With Nice Racks!||Debra Parker|
|2||Extreme Rappels 1||Michael Phelps|
|3||Canadian Fire||Tony Macdonald|
|5||Spread ‘Em and Drop||Matthew S Vickey|
|6||Northern Y-knots||Scott R Young|
|7||Born Rescue Riggers||Russ Born|
|8||Monongahela Grotto||Brian Masney|
|9||Chattanooga Grotto||Patrick Wilson|
|10||Safety Team||Glen Kuehner|
|11||The TAG Team||Darien Dopp|
|12||Extreme Rappels 2||John Cadle|
|13||VBATS 2||Harold Calvert|
|15||S B Rescue Group||Jon Tobin|
|16||Black Swamp Brigade||Ken Adams|
|18||High-Hangin’ Hoosiers||Dean Wiseman|
|19||Ohio SRT||Carl Swanigan|
|20||Team Poseidon||Victoria Airey|
|22||A Frayed Knot||Don Straw|
|23||Derby City Descenders||Davod Sjoeds|
|24||Extreme Rappels 3||Andrew Rentzel|
|25||Vertically Inclined||Neil Gregory|
|26||VBATS 1||Mike TinY Manke|
|27||US Rope Access||John Haustein|
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 19, 2019, will be the
40th Bridge Day. It has been estimated that Bridge Day brings more than $3,000,000+ 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
Glen Kuehner, from Florida, will return as the Bridge Day Rappel Safety Officer. This
will be his eighth 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; 29 years.
The Bridge Day High Line was first done in 1994. It started again in 2001 and has been
done every Bridge Day since; 19 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.
Larry Smith and his team will be rigging the High Line. Smith has been helping with the
High Line for fifteen years; twelve 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.
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; seventeen
years. The best location to see both the raising and lowering of our flags is from below the
For information about the New River Gorge Bridge Day Rappel, the high line, Bridge Walk, and Bridge Day
www.bridgedayrappel.com (rappel and high line) 304 574-1037
www.bridgewalk.com 304 574-1300