It’s not uncommon to want to share the natural wonders of Sevier County with one’s friends.
For Stacey Whitmore, those friends include more than 200 people from across the United States and at least two foreign countries, and sharing the scenery means one thing — flying.
“We really have a good time,” Whitmore said of the Central Utah Air Sports Association’s annual fly-in, which concluded Friday. He said local businesses have been extremely welcoming and supportive of the event, which brought paragliding enthusiasts to Sevier County last week for a week of launches off of Cove and Monroe mountains.
Christina McKinney is one of the paragliders who made the trip from Leadville, Colorado.
“It seemed like everyone was coming,” McKinney said. A paragliding pilot since 2010, McKinney said she wanted to participate and see what others were talking about.
“People have been very friendly,” McKinney said.
One of the most hospitable people has been Pete Weimer in Monroe, Whitmore said.
“Pete has been a great friend to the paragliding community,” Whitmore said.
For the last two years, Weimer has invited paragliders who are camping to do so in his yard, located near the foot of Monroe Mountain.
“It doesn’t cost me anything to have them here, and I have a fun yard,” Weimer said. He said the tradition started when he noticed paragliders tent camping near the riding area in Monroe.
“They were all camped down there in the dirt, and the wind was blowing from the south with tumbleweeds and dust,” Weimer said. “I tent camp. So I’m looking at the dirt and tumbleweeds … well I stopped down there and said, ‘why don’t you guys come up and get out of this dirt.’”
At first just a few took Pete up on his offer.
“They don’t know me from the man in the moon,” Weimer said. “For all they knew I could be a murderer.”
Word spread, and last year 73 people set up camp in Weimer’s yard.
He doesn’t charge the paragliders and even brings in portable bathroom facilities for the gliders to use. He also has a grill set up for community use during the week of the fly-in.
Those who stay at “Pistol Pete’s” have grass, trees and even a pond to enjoy in between flights. There’s even a miniature golf course.
Weimer, who retired from years working for Utah State Parks, said he hopes the favor may passed on to someone else.
“In the last five years I’ve made a lot of friends, and hey, they aren’t hurting anything to camp up here,” Weimer said.