The unconventional jump was the brain-child of the advertising geniuses at Mister Bee Potato Chips (Parkersburg, WV). "Our company rebounded at a time when West Virginia could use a bit of positive news," said Marketing Guru, David Preston. "We felt joining Bridge Day would be a great opportunity to tell our story and maybe give away some free samples."
They did just that. However, while the jump was flawless (thanks to professional jumper, Jack Nimble), the bags of chips they gave away caused a few headaches for event organizers.
"It sounded like a great idea," event coordinator, Lynn Upendive, told TheDiggerer. "Snacks are always welcome when thousands of people are standing on the hot bridge all morning. What we didn't expect was the popularity of Mister Bee chips! No one wanted to watch the jumpers -- they were all huddled around the Mister Bee trailer eating those amazingly, delicious chips. Fortunately, they ran out of free samples, quickly."
That wasn't the only problem. All was going fine until the guy in the bee suit jumped from the platform area and pulled his chute.
Bridge Day veteran Jerry Onimoe explained, "If I live to a hundred, I hope I never see what I saw yesterday. I'd seen unusual jumps before; people gettin' hitched by a preacher, some gal playin' an accordion -- heck, I've done a few crazy jumps just to mix things up. But when that potato chip bag chute came unfurled, all heck broke loose."
When Nimble's chute was fully expanded onlookers got excited thinking it was a REAL bag of chip. The remaining authorized jumpers began jumping out of sequence and en masse. Jerry Onimoe told TheDiggerer, "It was like a big ol' shark feeding frenzy like on TV!"
That wasn't the worst of it. Authorities and stand-by emergency personel had to physically restrain several young men from jumping off the bridge after the bee and the bag. There were, however, no injuries. And at the end of the day, everyone had a good laugh.
Even still, Bridge Day planners say they will reevaluate allowing further promotional jumps. "Of course, we would welcome Mister Bee back anytime they want to participate. Especially, if they plan on bringing more chips!"