For a couple of weeks, Scott Byerly and Brannon Meek had been talking about making this big jump. I didn’t realize why they were so into it until it was done and I discovered exactly where, and what, the ramp was: Built on a 60-foot wide strip of land between two lakes, they had cut a swath through the trees and put the ramp on the far side. Insane.
Brannon’s the crafty one so I was pretty sure he masterminded the project, but since he’s also the crazy one, he was the first to go. The line was about 200 feet long so he had to take the handle of the line tied to the boat and swim it into the other lake. With a lot of signaling and a little yelling, the boat took off in one lake, the long line tightened up over the land, and Brannon was up and riding in the other lake. The video guy and I watched him ride up the ramp, fly into the air, crash into some trees and land upside down in the reeds, moss and water on the far shore. Surprisingly, he was just fine, but the gashes in the trees from his wakeboard indicated it could have been a lot worse. Fortunately, the reason for the crash was simple enough: The boat got weeds caught in the prop and only got up to 18 mph, not the 25 mph required for the rider to clear the land.
Just then Scott, Sarah Cline, another girl and a photographer pulled up in Scott’s boat. They missed Brannon’s first attempt, but before we knew it he was up again, heading for the ramp. This time the boat got up to speed, allowing Brannon to ride gracefully up the jump, into the air and into the second lake for a successful landing.
After a couple more good jumps by Brannon, Scott got out there and had no trouble doing it up in typical Byerly style – big and tweaked! Drew McGuckin went for a couple jumps, and as he was up and going for a third attempt, somebody spotted a cop coming though the bushes. Nobody knew what the cop was going to do as he came through the bushes, looked at the boat, looked the ramp, kind of scratched his head and said, “I don’t know if this is really cool or really stupid.”
The cop was surprisingly cool and his main concern was that the boat wasn’t stolen and that it was all registered. He said, “Doesn’t look like any laws are being broken here, so I’ll pretend I didn’t see you.” So as the cop disappeared back into the bushes, the next rider got ready to go for another flight through the trees.