BASE Jumping at Home: Bridge Day's Resident Jumper
Every year, tens of thousands of people from all corners of the world come to Fayetteville to celebrate Bridge Day. Hundreds of folks come together to make this event fun and safe for all involved. Our Community Series highlights people in the community & what they do to support Bridge Day. Each of the people who organize, coordinate and volunteer their time have a passion for West Virginia, Bridge Day and the community of the New River Gorge. These are their stories. Marcus Ellison was born and raised in Fayette County, at the age of 24, he became the 1st person born in Fayette County to BASE jump off of the Bridge.
Marcus is a passionate, accomplished and respected member of the BASE Jumping and local community. He’s recently been voted into an Advisory Seat on the Bridge Day Commission to represent BASE Jumpers. We got to chat with Marcus and learn why he loves Bridge Day.
What Bridge Day Means to Marcus:
“It’s a great way to break out of the hustle and bustle of driving 70 miles per hour over the bridge. You can slow down and really appreciate the engineering of the bridge and the beauty of the New River Gorge.
“Bridge Day is the single largest extreme sporting event in the world. I grew up going to Bridge Day. Bridge Day is close to my birthday, and sometimes it falls on my birthday. Fall in West Virginia has always been a time of celebration. It’s the end of the outdoor recreation season. Bridge Day is a great way to showcase our area and all the folks who bring their amazing talents to jump and rappel off of the Bridge.”
Why are you Volunteering?:
“This event is so important to our area, economically to our business owners. It’s a small community. BASE jumping is an integral part of Bridge Day, and some think it’s the main part of Bridge Day. I’m a BASE jumper, and BASE jumping brings people to our community. I want to normalize BASE jumping and BASE jumpers to the public, to get more legal BASE jumping in the US, and the only way to do that is to be a normal face in the crowd.
“I came from this community. I was the very first born-and-raised Fayette County local to jump off this bridge, and it blew my mind that it took 30 years. It was a dream of mine through my teen years. I talk to elementary school kids every year before Bridge Day, and talk about the sport and how no matter what, you can make your dreams come true.”
What’s Your Role in Bridge Day?:
“My official position is the BASE advisory seat to the Bridge Day Commission. Advisory seats were created by the sub-committee to give each part of Bridge Day more representation in the Bridge Day Commission meetings. I was nominated for that position and voted in by the Fayette County and Bridge Day Commissions.
“My role is to help transition the way we are handling the BASE jumping. We are trying to make decisions about Bridge Day and BASE jumping, from the BASE perspective. Our goal is to make it easier for BASE jumpers to participate in this event and to make sure that BASE jumpers have access to information.”
What do you do when you aren’t BASE Jumping or volunteering for Bridge Day?:
“I’m just a normal guy going through my life, doing things I love and enjoy. One of my goals is to make BASE jumping normal and to make it legal, so I’m always thinking about BASE jumping. I work my job. I do computer work and web design. I like to ride my mountain bike, go rock climbing and go to the lake in the summer.”
Best Bridge Day Memory:
“Bridge Day 2008. It was my 24th birthday, and the first year I BASE jumped off the bridge. I was on the stage and getting ready to jump with a friend from WV. The MC came up to me, and asked me what I was going to do. I was going to say something about how I was going to jump, but before I could say anything, my friend said ‘It’s his birthday,’ and everyone started cheering and saying ‘happy birthday.’ When I looked around I saw my family, my friends and the community I have lived in my whole life.”
Favorite Bridge Day Souvenir:
“The BASE t-shirts and ID badges. They are specific to the BASE jumpers, and no one else can have them. I keep all of them and will keep them for my life. I wear them proudly all the time.”
Favorite Bridge Day Food:
“Cindy Day and Joy Marr’s Fajita’s! I’m on the run all over the place, and that’s the best meal. It’s all wrapped up. I can see my friends, and scarf it down real quick.”
Favorite Bridge Day Tradition:
“Jumping off the Bridge… with at least one jump doing my personal favorite move: a big gainer. They are fun and relaxing.”
“I love going to the chili cook-off in downtown Fayetteville after Bridge Day. It’s usually cool and rainy, and it’s a nice way to warm-up and see friends and family.”
Most Exciting View: