ATO team bounces to new world record

Scott Hawkins, Will Britton, Jason Zak and Jacob Winkles pose outside of the bouncy castle where they recently broke the world record for consecutive hours in a bouncy castle. 

Alpha Tau Omega fraternity broke the Guinness World Record for Longest Marathon on a Bouncy Castle (team) Oct. 31 through Nov.1 at the GUC as part of Valhalla 2012 and Taus for Tatas.

The seven members of the ATO team were Will Britton, Fabian Cortez, Taylor Eaves, Scott Hawkins, Aaron Lovelady, Chad Willis, Jacob Winkles and Jason Zak. They jumped for 27 straight hours to break the world record. According to the Guinness World Records website, the previous record was 26 hours and was set in March 2011 by a team in Ohio.

Valhalla is an annual event, but this year’s theme of Taus for Tatas was organized to help raise money benefitting breast cancer awareness, said Matt Jones, ATO special events chair and UNA junior.

Jones, who is also the vice president-elect for ATO, said the world record attempt helped publicize Valhalla 2012. The fraternity picked breast cancer awareness as its philanthropy project for Valhalla 2012 since some members in the fraternity have been related to or have known women with breast cancer.

Taylor Eaves, a UNA freshman and an ATO pledge, became part of the team after the fraternity had decided on the record it wanted to break.

“At first, I thought, ‘That’s awesome,’” Eaves said. “I like jumping around and stuff. I can’t sit still.”

Eaves said he spent a total of about four hours and ten minutes in the bouncy castle.

Jones said two members were returning from a previous failed attempt at the world record at ATO’s Caffeine High 2011. Willis and Winkles had participated in the previous attempt and jumped with a team for 17 hours before the event was rained out.

Team members took 20 minutes turns, although Jones said two members bounced for longer than their 20 minutes at one point. Lovelady jumped an hour and Cortez jumped two hours as they took extra time to give fellow team members a break, Jones said.

Eaves said he started feeling tired about four hours into the event.

“If you’re going to break a world record, make sure you’re prepared for it,” he said. “It was a real group effort. The other guys really deserve some credit.”

Jones said preparation for breaking the world record included contacting Guinness World Records six weeks prior to the world record attempt, organizing the event and publicizing it. The event was mainly publicized through Twitter and Facebook, although the bouncy castle itself attracted an audience.

The two signing witnesses for the world record were Samantha Fotovich and Sarah Ann Keeter of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, who stayed the entire time, Jones said.

Jones said Jayne Jackson, coordinator of University Events, and Will Riley, SGA president and ATO Chaplain, were also involved in making this event possible.

“First off, I’d like to thank Jayne and University Events for letting us do this in the GUC,” Jones said. “Secondly, I’d like to thank all the jumpers for all their hard work, as well as the witnesses. Definitely, the PR that the moon bounce brought to the table helped ATO have a great Valhalla in support of breast cancer awareness.”

Eaves said he was happy ATO could distinguish itself in this way.

“For ATO, it stands out that we’re able to do something crazy like this,” he said. “We like to stand out in different ways.”

As the end neared, Eaves said he began feeling excitement again as they were about to finish and could say they got through the 27 hours. He said he recalls feeling like his last turn felt like five minutes.

Jones and Eaves said they hope  ATO continues breaking records in the future.

“It’s definitely something we’re looking forward to,” Jones said. “We were actually looking at different world records to break next.”