Rick Ream, a jumper from Skydive City, Zephyrhills, FL sports this classic. The story behind it is a simple one, in Rick’s own words: “Simple, I’m an asshole”.
But the story behind The Fabulous Muff Brothers is a bit more elaborate. Rick elaborated a little bit, so that we can get a feel for the history and philosophy of being a skydiving asshole.
The Muff Brothers were started in Texas by Dennis McGlynn. At the time a lot of people would not jump with the newbies. Jump tickets were expensive, there were no wind tunnels and most new jumpers coming off AFF did not have a lot of skill. Dennis would jump with the new guys. When new jumpers asked around for someone to jump with everybody would tell them “go find the guy with the ear muffs he’ll jump with ya”. People felt a lot of pressure to not screw up afraid of getting criticized. The idea was to have no pressure jumps while learning.
If everyone is an asshole and your handshake is the middle finger you get a smile on your face and enjoy the skydive. If you are jumping with a hula hoop or inflatable sheep it tends to take the pressure off. And when you relax and have fun you are learning.
Johnny Gates was a great ambassador to the sport and initiated many of us into the Fabulous Muff Brothers. For me personally it was Johnny, Bill Bickner and “Rabbit” (Paul) Shapiro that dragged me into the Muff brothers. Bill and Rabbit taught me a lot about inflatable jumps. Bill may be the world’s leading expert on the aerodynamics of inflatable pool toys.
The Muff Brothers are the anti-skygod (sorry Skygod) skydivers. We try to spread the love to newer and seasoned jumper alike. If you look at the back of your Muff card you will see it entitles you to 1 funnel. We are not sure if that is 1 per day 1 per jump or 1 per point. But I think you get the idea.
Currently all the organizers at Z-Hills try to “Muff” everyone we jump with if they are not already Muff Brothers. Anne Marie Hammond never misses an opportunity to add to our growing list of members. “Doogie” (Scott) MacDougall spreads the love in Canada, Roy Harper Jr. leads the way in making new brothers in Raeford. Trapperdan Eaton initiates a lot of jumpers in Atlanta. But anyone that is a Muff Brother can initiate a new member. To become a member you must dock on another member in free fall while wearing ear muffs. We have over 5,00 members now and are still growing.