Organic conversations often yield the most insight. When we give Kevin Reynolds a ring, a local fireman’s parade is about to begin. Over the phone, you can hear intermittent hellos and questions about how the family is doing. This is the epitome of a small-town family friendly, owned, and operated business. The Reynolds family owns Reynolds GM Subaru, a car dealership in the small town of Orange, Virginia, and have been open for business since 1938. The population of Orange is around 4,000 people, and being in the car business, means Kevin knows a fair number of them. Not to mention that Orange, VA is Kevin’s hometown: “I remember when Skydive Orange opened. I remember my dad saying ‘hey people are jumping at the airport—my dad took me to watch them, and I said ‘I am going to do that’”
Kevin, who began jumping 13 years ago and accumulated 5,000+ jumps, with a chuckle says he “retired” from skydiving in December: “Skydiving is a sport that requires accountability. I felt like it was time to retire, and I told myself, if I felt like it was time, I was going to stop.”
Kevin chose to stop because he couldn’t put the time in or give the focus to the sport that he needed too. The key thing in skydiving Kevin says: “is to be accountable to your peers and yourself. In order for me to do that I had to stop.”
Though, Kevin still sometimes yearns for the sky: “There are times I look up at the sky and think man it would be nice to be up there. But I do not regret my decision to stop at all. I am at peace with it.”
Kevin thinks it is important to validate a jumper’s choice to take a break or ‘retire’ from the sport and thinks a bit more focus should be put on talking about exit strategies for older jumpers or jumpers who feel that skydiving is no longer serving them or their needs.
“Skydivers can be shamed into staying.” Kevin admits he’d done it too: he’d tried to convince someone to stay in the sport though they felt that it was time to leave. Kevin believes it is not healthy for the sport: “You see some people stick around in other sports and they start to fall off…in skydiving, when they lose a step, there is no gradual degradation.” Kevin holds the belief that staying true to yourself is really what should be the prime focus and is happy to say in his 5,000 jumps he never got hurt or hurt anyone else.
When Kevin was jumping, he was a tandem instructor as well as a demonstration jumper.
“I loved demo jumps,” Kevin says. “It was customer facing…I enjoy talking to new jumpers/potential jumpers, and customers.
Kevin saw his first demo was right after he got his A License. “I made a jump, went to a live demo, and watched Skydive Orange put 15 people into a high school stadium, and I was like…this is what I want to do” That was in 2004. In the 2010-2011 year, Kevin finally got his pro-rating. The pinnacle demonstration jump for Kevin was “jumping into Bristol Motor Speedway..when you can hear a crowd yelling from 1500/2000ft, you realize…this is pretty darn cool.” Around this time, Kevin was also the Chief of Staff for a U.S. Congressman. Doing demonstration jumps allowed Kevin to bring the sport to people and to show that we are professional: “I want people to walk away with a different view of [skydivers].” By being professional, he was able to represent the sport in a positive way.
So, what’s Kevin up to now?
Well, as we said he’s running the family business, but he’s also doing something else. And, it is a little more uncanny: “I do pro-wrestling on the side. I’m a manager. Basically, I run my mouth, make people angry, and get my comeuppance…much to the delight of everyone. In fact, last summer for the Big O Boogie at Skydive Orange, Kevin put on a pro-wrestling event.
When asked if he will jump again he says: “I never say never.” Kevin Reynolds is still a great ambassador for the sport: “I love skydiving and recommend it to everyone. I will tell anybody to do it.”
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.