Since moving to Moab in 2010 to participate and experience the extreme sport "mecca" of the world, I have experienced more death than I ever have before. This is not something I EVER could have prepared myself for or ever would have expected. Death's occurring in the sports of climbing, rope swinging and flying; this year has been particularly extreme. I find it very difficult to process it all. I don't know how to react considering that I participate in the same dangerous sports that these deaths have occurred within and my boyfriend, Mark, does as well. Each time it has been a slap in the face and the most recent passing, Mario Richard, has particularly effected both Mark and I. Mario was one of the world's most talented and passionate fliers having over 7,000 Skydives and 2,000 BASE Jumps without so much as a sprained ankle over a span of 25 years. It is bringing up a lot of questions that I have about my lifestyle of choice and how I see the world in general. What does it all mean? How could even the best of the best die doing what they worked so hard to master?
Mario was one of our role models, both him and his beautiful wife Steph. We admired them immensely not only for their loving relationship but also their achievements and their maturity. Mario was especially an inspiration to Mark who also flies. He looked up to Mario for his long time safety record, his achievements, his business "Moab BASE Adventures", his willingness to teach others and his overall positive energy even through times of turbulence. We are both devastated and cannot fathom what Steph is going through. My heart goes out to her in this tragic time and I am hoping she finds peace within this loss. I will always remember my first flight through the deep red desert canyons which I could not have experienced without Mario and his passion for human flight. Thank you. You will always be remembered and will continue to serve as a role model for us regardless of where you are. A friend of mine has said, "They are not gone, they have only changed residence".