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Senior parachutists take to Victorian skies for competition

The competitive flame still flickers in thrillseeking 86-year-old Pat Moorehead, and he’s willing to jump out of a plane to prove it.

The ageless American skydiver touched down in Victoria along with 160 free-fallers for the 14th Parachutists Over Phorty Society (POPS) World Meet.

It’s the first time daredevils aged over 40 have flown into Australia from around the globe since the event debuted in 1990 at NSW’s iconic Ettamogah pub.

Moorehead was there for inaugural world meet – which has travelled to Spain, Switzerland, Jordan, the United States, Canada and New Zealand over the past three decades – and again made the journey down under.

In 2018 he’s the event’s oldest competitor.

“Age is no barrier,” he said from Bailieston in central Victoria on Thursday.

“And when you’re jumping with people younger, you want to compete with them and that’s what we’re doing.”

The 10-day competition has been running since last Thursday and was set to wrap up on Saturday with a signature event.

The ‘Hit’n’Rock’ sees each competitor land on a target and dash 40 feet to sit in a rocking chair, the group’s logo.

“This is serious business,” Moorehead said ahead of the event.

“There’ll be gold, silver and bronze for about five events.”

Pat and Alicia Moorehead. Photo: Rose Hills YouTube.

The retired firefighter began parachuting almost half a century ago and has racked up 6600 skydives.

Not only has the sport kept him fit in body and soul, he said, but it led to the airborne meeting of his future wife Alicia, who at 71 is the group’s oldest female skydiver.

Age isn’t the only thing that brings together POPS competitors.

“The Russian team has four jumpers that are amputees,” Moorehead said, adding another group was trying to form a pacemakers’ team.

The keen jumper said older age doesn’t have to mean a lack of excitement.

“It’s a choice. Some people choose to slow down, and we just haven’t done that.”

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