The first Parachutists Over Phorty Society, or POPS, was founded in the United States by Lenny Barad in the summer of 1966. It all started with a letter from Lenny to Parachutist magazine, inviting all jumpers having reached the age of 40 years or over to join. The principal idea behind the concept of this new organization was
It is felt that the image of sport parachuting would be assisted if the general public knew there was a group of men and women involved in this sport who were on the more "mature" side, family types in all walks of life and reasonably settled in their community. The POPS was founded when it was unusual to find forty year olds participating in the sport of parachuting, but although it is now much more common (over half the recent 300 way attempt in Russia were eligible for POPS). That's certainly one of the reasons why Pat Moorehead founded a new branch in the society, the SOS, Skydivers Over Sixty.
In Nagambie Polly Chandler was elected as new World Top POP. She will organize the 15th World Meet at Dunkeswell (UK) in 2020.
The Swiss POPS was founded in 1995 by Théo Fritschy, with three other Swiss jumpers who were present at Empuriabrava. Swiss POPS is a member of the Parachuting Federation of Switzerland (Swiss Skydive). At present time, 160 jumpers are members.
Each year, SWISS POPS organize a national meeting where foreign Pop's are invited and welcomed.
In 2019 the meet will be held in Biel/Kappelen by Swissboogie the 31th of August and 1st September 2019.
The "Hit'n Rock"
There is one traditional competition unique to POPS, and which some members
take very seriously, and that's the Hit'n Rock which is the origin of
the logo above. The Hit'n Rock combines traditional accuracy with an element
of fun. It involves landing as close to the center of the accuracy pit
as possible, then completely removing your rig, touching the pad with
a hand or foot and then racing to a (rocking) chair forty feet from the
pad. To be competitive you have to wear as little as possible to snag
on the harness and lines. Altimeters are dispensed with, shoes are taped
or dropped on the approach, the chest strap is set for quick release or
undone at a few hundred feet and leg straps loosened.
To give an idea of the stiffness of the competition, the world record was set at Empuriabrava at the 1995 World Meet at 3.77 seconds by Bobby Valenzuela from Texas.