Fraternity shoots for moon jump goal

15 April

THETA ETA (North Alabama) — What better way to promote a party called “Caffeine High” than to jump around for 26 hours?

That’s what five members of the University of North Alabama’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity have been taking turns doing since noon Thursday.

The group is trying to set the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive hours jumping in a moon jump. Along the way, they hope the scene helps promote an annual alcohol-free ATO party called “Caffeine High,” which raises money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Shoals. The fraternity wants to raise $5,000 for the program.

“We always have some event to put on to promote the party, and we always want to have something out of the ordinary,” said Jordan Jaggers, a member of the fraternity. “When we saw this in the Guinness book, we thought, ‘surely to goodness we can break it.’ ”

The five jumpers — Chad Willis, Jacob Winkles, Drew Whiteside, Taylor Wallace and Payton Edmiston — are vying for the record and said it is tougher than it sounds.

“It looks easy,” Willis said, after a 15-minute stint in the machine. “The first time I got in there, I realized how hard it was. It doesn’t really give much, so you have to really jump. It helps out to know that it’s going to a good cause, though.”

The existing record is 25 hours, 25 minutes, 25 seconds, set in 2008 by six Northridge High School students in Tuscaloosa, according to an article in The Tuscaloosa News.

The Guinness record officially is titled “Longest Marathon on a Bouncy Castle: Team Division,” the article states.

The Northridge group took 12-minute shifts. ATO is going in 15-minute turns.

“As the night goes on, there will probably be more intervals,” Willis predicted Thursday afternoon.

Already, the fraternity brothers were learning keys to maintaining a good rhythm in the machine, which has an inflated floor of UNA’s gold and purple colors.

“The yellow doesn’t bounce well,” one jumper was instructed as he started his turn. “Right on top of the purple is the sweet spot.”

This is the 10th year of “Caffeine High,” which has become the largest party on campus. An average of 1,000 people attend the event, which is tonight at the fraternity house, and ATO has a goal of 1,500 this year.

“Caffeine High” got its name a decade ago when some groups outside the fraternity joked that ATO would have to call the party by that name, since it is a dry fraternity. ATO members responded by adopting the name for the party, and turned it into a major hit.

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