Bungee jumping offered

By Michael Berg

Have you ever wanted to jump 15 stories, with the only thing between you and the ground an elastic cord?

On the weekend of Nov. 23 and 24, you have your chance. For $85, anyone interested in bungee jumping can leap twice from a 150 foot crane at J.P. Hannagan’s, 1216 Blackhawk Rd.

“Safety is the number one priority,” said Jim Smith, the owner of the bungee company. There are four cords that can hold 1200 pounds each, attached to lock-in shoulder and waist harnesses. The weight of a person isn’t a factor with the equipment used, he said.

Anyone over 18 in good health can attempt a jump. The oldest person who jumped with Smith’s company was 67 years old.

Bungee jumping is a relatively new sport. “The sport began in New Zealand about eight years ago,” Smith said. “It started off bridges, then it moved to hot air balloons and cranes.”

“The feeling of jumping is hard to describe,” Smith said. It’s a basic free-fall. “You see the ground coming up at you,” he said. “It’s a lot different from skydiving.”

One of the most exciting things about the event, said Smith, is “when you see someone who’s never done it before get down and want to go right back.”

Participants ride up the crane in a basket. The first jump is backwards, and the second is a headfirst dive into a forward flip, Smith said.

On Saturday, the jumps begin at 9 a.m. and will go on all day. There will also be jumping at night under spotlights. Sunday jumps will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Smith said.

Local radio station WDEK will be at the event on Sunday. Disc jockeys Dave Bavido and Mike Rhodes will bungee jump at noon. The station will broadcast live from the restaurant, with a wireless microphone attached to Rhodes, Smith said.

Smith’s company has been to Western Illinois University, University of Illinois, the Quad Cities and Gurnee.

Those who participate will also receive a videotape of their jumps, Smith said.

Anyone interested in more information or reserving a jump time can stop by J.P. Hannagan’s or call (708) 934-5000.