Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Extreme sport opportunities in Hillsborough County


As James Beyer nears the floating ramp, he veers toward it, gaining speed. • His wakeboard rushes up the curved ramp, and suddenly, he's airborne. • About 15 miles north, pilot Glen Rushing takes his 500-pound aircraft to the skies. At 900 feet, he shuts off the engine. • Think rural Hillsborough County is boring? Think again. The open spaces allow for grassy paintball fields and archery ranges. There are landing strips for ultralights and a rodeo ring where anyone can ride a bucking bronco.

As Beyer soars through the air, he grabs his wakeboard and leans back. It's known as an indy glide to those who hang out at McCormick's Cable, Wake and Ski Park in Seffner.

The trick looks difficult. And dangerous. But Beyer, who has been wakeboarding for about a year, says it's not.

"The worse you can do is tear a few ligaments," said Beyer, 17, of Clearwater. "That's bad, but it's the very worst scenario."

To assist thrill seekers with airborne adventures, Rushing gives lessons on his light sport aircraft. He has been at it for nearly six years.

Before then, Rushing was an Army helicopter instructor. Now he's retired and teaches out of the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.

He built the small orange plane from an $18,000 kit. Technically, it's not an ultralight because it's slightly heavier, but Rushing says it handles just like one.

On a cool morning, he circles through the bright blue sky and points out the Tampa skyline in the distance. Then he shuts off the engine.

The noisy propeller stops. The wind jostles the plane. But it doesn't plummet from the sky.

The red, white and blue wings catch the wind as the lightweight plane glides through the sky.

Rushing steers the plane toward the runway. The nose gently leans down, and the hangars no longer look like tiny game board pieces.

The plane's wheels graze the runway.

"See," Rushing says, "I can land smoother than a commercial plane."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.


Doyer's Sawmill Archery, Lithia (813) 633-8609

Bull riding

Remington Rough Stock Co., Tampa, (813) 657-4866,

Mixed martial arts

Earl Harris Karate Academy in Brandon, (813) 661-8505, and Valrico, (813) 657-8800, taught by Michael Pancer,


Battle Zone Paintball, Plant City, (813) 986-8812

Kohn Sports Paintball Park, Wimauma, (813) 404-1667,

Tiki's Paintball of Tampa, Brandon, (813) 571-1300,

Shooting range

Gun Graft Inc., Ruskin, (813) 645-3828

Shoot Straight, Tampa, (813) 627-8550, www.shootstraight

The Indoor Shooting Co., Thonotosassa, (813) 986-5456,


Skydive Tampa Bay, Mulberry, (863) 425-3140,

Ultralight and light sport aircraft flights

Blackwater Creek Ultralight Flightpark, www.blackwater

Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, Glen Rushing, (813) 714-8210

Water skiing and wakeboarding

McCormick's Cable, Wake and Ski Park, Seffner, (813) 681-4441,

Extreme sport opportunities in Hillsborough County 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  2. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings


    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham


    The Rays open their final roadtrip of the season tonight in Baltimore, and - continuing the theme of the week - willl cross paths with another familiar face, INF Tim Beckham.

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.
  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]