by brian giboney
A fixture on the 4-way and big-way skydiving scenes in Perris, California, the u.s. and the world for many years, soft-spoken Tony Domenico has helped organize numerous big-way world records, including the two Jump for the Cause women’ s records. He is also a savvy businessman who has made a good living in the sport.
5'10"; 190 pounds
President of Square One Parachute
Sales and Service
Mountaineering, big-game fishing, art,
photography, jewelry making and design, working out, bicycling
Talon and Jave1in
Sabre 2 150, Spectre 150
DZ: Perris Valley
Private pilot (Instrument rated),
master rigger, PRO Rating, AFFinstructor
300-way, Eloy, Arizona, 2002; 282-way, Thailand,
1999; organized first 104-way star and two-point
Total jumps: 5,000-plus
with more than 200 jumps
who can't consistently stand up their landings.
people how you would
like to be treated.
people don't know this about me:
I'm a quiet, very warm person. I am looking
forward to having children someday.
do you like least about skydiving?
The politics, and as an organizer, I have to
deal with it. I try very hard to be fair.
Who were your skydiving mentors?
Manos, Tommy Piras, Roger Nelson. I learned a lot about how to
organize-and how not to organize-from these guys.
What kind of student were you?
average and determined. After attempting several clear-and-pulls for my first
freefalls, I would still leave the strut of the C-182 and go inverted and dump
on my back. My jumpmaster finally gave me the "you know, skydiving isn't
for everyone" talk. Well, that pissed me off, and I was determined to force
myself to arch and wait before pulling. I learned that by just not giving up, I
will eventually get to where I want to be.
I skydive because
I like the buzz --it's a very healthy high. I also like seeing my
friends in a 3- D world-upside down, vertical, right side up, smiling and
laughing, generally loving life. If life could be like this all the time,
wouldn't we want to make it that way?
Best skydiving moment?
the first 100-way star! Both Guy Manos and Jack Jefferies tried it, but I did
it, and I'm proud of that.
Explain Tony Domenico in five words or less.
Caring, sensitive, emotional, driven, athletic.
What makes Tony Domenico tick?
Friends and loved ones-what else really matters?
How did you get to your level of formation skydiving?
Jump a lot! The more you jump, the
better you get. Doing 4-ways taught me a 1ot-4-way is the best way to learn
skydiving. Most of my first 2,000 jumps were 4-way.
What was your role in the 300-way?
300-way was great fun. On my computer, I laid out the formation design that Jack
and Dan.sent me, I saw some areas that were crowded and could he improved,
things I had learned from other world records. I shared my concerns with them,
and then I created at least ten different formations using their base 100-way
and adding different whacker designs to it. I sent them all to Jack and Dan,
arid they liked one design a lot. We ended up using one of my designs, modified
a bit. It was really cool to be able to add input to the project.
How are you able to organize such great formations while having to deal with such a mixture of people?
try hard to be fair to everyone. Sometimes, this
involves asking someone to sit out so the group as a whole can succeed. I think
people respect me for the way I deal with individual people, as well as groups.
Another secret of my success is to create a safe atmosphere to jump
in...People do their personal bests when they are not scared or freaked out. I
accomplish this by making safety the number-one goal of every event
- don't put people at any additional risk, period. If you come to one of
my events, I am looking out for you.
seriously care about everyone who jumps with me.
What personal traits must a top-notch organizer possess?
The ability to work with people. My job as an
organizer is to bring out the best in people so they can successfully complete
their personal jobs. If everyone completes his own job, the group will be
do you motivate yourself to accomplish so much in skydiving, piloting, fishing,
etc., in one lifetime?
is short and precious. I figured it out a long time ago-I can sit on the couch
and watch TV or get off my butt and accomplish fun things.