C.G. Godfrog Good Vibes Award
History of the Trophy

Compiled November 2001 - Nov 2009 by John Kallend from various sources.
Special thanks to Paul Quade, Pat Works, Lori Thomas and OmniSkore for source material.
See also United We Fall for more early RW history.


Godfrog - The Name: 1963 to 1967.
In the early '60s, Before RW (now called Formation Skydiving or FS) was officially sanctioned or even had a name, a group of jumpers who called themselves Wallace's Outlaws were regularly doing 5-way formation jumps from a Cessna 195. Back then the principal safety rule was "Break off RW at 1000ft unless somebody is close". Each Outlaw had a nickname: Crazy Pat, Wierd Bob, Hawkeye, Nasty Old Man, and C.G. Godfrog.

C.G. Godfrog was Carlos Gene Wallace (D42) (so named because after a few drinks he would start preaching). Crazy Pat was Pat Works, SCS#1, who would later become the originator of the trophy.

Godfrog - The Team and the Trophy: 1970-72
The story now moves to Hinckley, Illinois, some 50 miles west of Chicago. Pat Works started a 4-way team called the Godfrogs at the Hinckley DZ, and also joined the "James Gang" 10-way team that had completed the first 10-way formation to be completed outside southern California, at Hinckley in August 1970).

10-way speed was the original RW competition event. The first ever RW contest was held in November 1967 at Taft, California. Three teams, the "Arvin Good Guys", Elsinore's "The Group", and the "Old River Rats" competed to see which group could build the fastest 10-way star. Subsequently, a number of 10-way speed meets were organized (primarily the Turkey meets at Z-Hills) in the early 70s. At that time dirt diving had yet to be invented, but Pat Works's mother had sewed a bunch of beanbag frogs and the Hinckley teams moved the frogs around to plan their dive flow. The teams called these beanbag frogs "Godfrogs".

The early 1970's was still a time when "serious" jumpers only did style & accuracy, and RW (FS) jumpers were dismissed as long haired hippies or freaks (This is related to the origin of the Freak Brothers, also at Hinckley, but that is a different story). An informal association of RW jumpers came to be known as the RWUnderground or RWU, led by an equally informal RW Council.

As Pat Works tells the story:

In '72, all 4-way competition pool dives started w/ a 4-way star-back loop-pool manuver(s). At the time, only 10 or so 4-way teams qualified for the USPA Nationals. At the same time, we'd have over 150 10-way speed star teams enter the annual Z-hills Turkey Meet. RW was a hippie 'deviate' sport. Real parachutists did Style and Accuracy. The judges used ground-telemeters and wanted to see style-type maneuvers. We had discussions with them about the reality that formation skydivers did NOT use a style-tuck for maneuvers and that we should not lose points for making flat RW-stable turns. There were so few RW-types that the judges freaked and let us do our thing... The godfrogs 4-way thing included dirt-diving ... no one had ever seen it before. Including us. The real parachutists gathered and giggled at our intense dance. Actually, we started the dirt dives with 4-ea beanbag frogs my Mother sewed up for us. Mother was the necessity of invention. Sitting in a circle, we'd move them around like kids playing with toy airplanes and go thru the dive sequence. A bean-bag frog can sit, stay, and sorta back loop. Plays dead, too. It is more real if you make wind-noises like 'Swoooosh'. However, Fedo usually pretended his frog was a dive-bomber. "Splat!" was a fun way to end a frog-fly. Anywho, after a while we supplemented the Frogs with us standing bent at the waist trying to get the brain-pictures for the sequences. It proved very difficult to party all night, do drugs and remember sequences. Massive brain-fog. The frogs and dirt dives were good mental crutches. Whatever, we won. I assembled the C.G. GodFrog Trophy after that for the Nationals.

The RW Council petitioned USPA for 10-way speed RW be added to Nationals, this at a time when, according to Works, only three DZs worldwide had acheived more than an 8 way (Hinckley being one of the three).

The first Nationals 10-way event was held in 1972 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The Hinckley Godfrogs 4-way and James Gang 10-way teams attended these Nationals where the 10-way event was run out of a DC3. The James Gang had done all their practice from a twin Beech and, according to Works, had previously not used any floaters. The Hinckley team came 4th after "blowing" a jump.

At that time Works was national sales manager for Union 76, and he used to get various promotional items through his job. Among these were some plastic lawn furniture and a 6'2" stuffed green and yellow plastic tree frog which he took to Nationals on his motorbike. The frog's name was Carlos Gene Godfrog. He features later in the story.

According to Works, "There was also a tendency starting up to bad sportsmanship or 'assholeism'". At the 1972 Nationals he proposed two new awards, both of which still exist: one was for combined RW (now handled by USPA) and the other award for good vibes and good sportsmanship. While waiting during a weather hold due to low visibility he took the legs off a green plastic lawn table, wired together 10 of the beanbag frogs in a 10-way star formation, and attached them to the table top. Thus was born the Godfrog Award.

Currently the frogs are all wearing earmuffs and pink panties (these are not original, but the result of the award going to the Muff Brothers and the Pink Panty Patrol in the 1990s). Many of the frogs now proudly wear Golden Knights pins.

In the center of the star is a black object rumoured to be the remains of a magic mushroom.

The back of the table top is covered with inscriptions written by Pat's wife Jan Works, Dick Giarusso and a couple of other competitors, with help "from a lot of chemicals",

including lines from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.


The "Ring" in this context presumably referring to the 10-way star. Also:

      What brought they
      Over the Air and Sea
      Six stars and six stones
      And one white tree

The purpose of the award was also written on the back:

      The Fellowship of the Ring
      Fellowship Award
      Awarded to the team emitting GOOD Vibes
      in the face of Heavy Competition

Some other inscriptions are less profound, for example:

      How deep is the great Frog Pond?
      Knee-deep, knee-deep      

Unfortunately the inscriptions were written in black marker, and over the years some have become quite illegible.

Works asked his teammates and friends to take note of which team exhibited the best attitude and had the most fun during the meet. After the event concluded Works called a RW Council meeting. At this meeting they presented the C.G. Godfrog Good Vibes Award. Along with the trophy the team that won it received instructions to pass it along in the same way at the next 10-way meet. Now, over 4 decades later, it has become a perpetual trophy for good sportsmanship, passed on at each USPA National Championship.

Over the years the plastic table top has been attached to a larger wooden base, and many of the teams receiving the award have written inscriptions , or attached their team plaque and other memorabilia.

The latest additions to the trophy are Golden Knights pins worn by some of the frogs.

Picture             Godfrog Winners             BACK

The Godfrog Fables:

Most of the characters and events in the fable are named for real people and events from the 60s and 70s (for example, Clyde is Clyde Jacks, one of Work's instructors). Some of the stories bear witness to the fact that they were written at a time when, according to Works, he was "doing a lot of drugs".

The Song of the Godfrogs

The Godfrog Mass Jump, 1972

What happened to the 6ft stuffed frog Carlos Gene Godfrog? He went out under a round during a November 1972 mass jump at Z Hills in Florida and was not seen again for 5 years. Steve McClure, Father Farkle of the “Flying FarkleFamily,” finally came across Carlos Gene, who had apparently landed in a trailer park near the DZ. Some kids had found C.G. and he decided to stay with them.

One of the jumpers on that 1972 jump was "Sky" Huminsky. In a curious twist of history, Sky was a member of the team that won the Godfrog trophy 29 years later, in 2001.

The Mass Jump (taken directly from RWu archives, Jan. 1973)

The world's largest parachute meet (Z-Hills Thanksgiving, 1972) also saw the world's largest mass exit. 162 nervous RWers and one 6-ft. frog left six monster airplanes at the scary altitude of 3500 ft. The pilots flew in tight formation and in freefall the sky looked like a beehive. There were several small stars built. The only fatality was C.G. Godfrog, a 6-ft. bright green, stuffed 10-lb. tree frog who opened too high and drifted off into the alligator-infested swamp. C.G. was a beloved member of the Godfrogs 10-man team. His competition experience included the invention of the Swoop.
RWu, January 1973

C.G. Returns.

Comes this mysterious letter. "Thought you would like to know that I ran into C.G. Godfrog the other day. Seems somebody gave him a bad spot at Z-Hills and he landed his cheapo in a swamp where he was rescued by some Zephyrhills swamp frogs. I guess they were pretty impressed to have such a celebrity drop in, even though most swamp frogs don't know much about skydiving except what they watch from their quagmires.

"Anyhow, C.G. taught them all about swoops and other neat stuff like that, so now a bunch of swamp frogs are logging swoops in their frog logs. C.G. says they didn't know much about skydiving, but they really turned him on to the Bayou Boogie. He used to sit around on toadstools, but down there they use mushrooms; `puts a whole new perspective on things,' says C.G.

"C.G. heard about a 30-man attempt at Elsinore and thumbed his way out here. As it turned out the Hueys didn't show so they used two Beeches and two Howards. We thought it was a 27-man, but Ray Cottingham's pix the next week showed that it was only a 25-man with two guys breaking wrists less than half a second after a grip was lost, and another less than a second after that. Well, C.G. was pretty upset about that so he split back to Z-Hills for a Big Swamp Stomp they have planned for Easter."


Father Farkle

by kallend at iit dot edu

Hit Counter by Digits

Visit counter by digits.net