A promoter who led a failed campaign to have a stuntman jump the White Rock Pier on a motorcycle is back with a new plan, and “this one ought to be a doozy.”
After experimenting with building small rockets using potassium nitrate and kitty litter, White Rock’s Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard and the goal is to launch a man the distance of the pier into Semiahmoo Bay.
“This one is definitely not a joke,” Colby told Peace Arch News on Sunday. “The motorcycle was never a joke, either.”
Colby started a GoFundMe page that had a goal of raising $5,000 for the project. The page includes a video of Colby – who’s wearing an Evel Knievel-style jumpsuit – talking about the stunt.
“We’re building a rocket, we’re going to shoot the length of the pier. And between the engineer that I hired and the rocketeer, we have a really good shot at it and we’re going to be as safe as possible,” Colby said in the video. “I have my own money into this project and this little town needs my help. We’re going to do it, this promoter will never, ever back down.”
After PAN expressed interest in speaking to Colby about the stunt, a representative from his team sent another video of Colby explaining that they’d increased the fundraising goal from $5,000 to $10,000.
As of Sunday, the GoFundMe page had raised about $300.
The extra $5,000, Colby said, is for bail money and a “half-decent lawyer” just in case he gets arrested.
“I’m not paying for the bail if I’m putting on a good show. I need people to chip in, get the rocket fuel, get the thing going. I’ll take the hit, but I need to get bailed out.”
Despite asking for preemptive bail money, Colby says he’s within the law.
“We’re going completely legal because I don’t really want to have to have any bail money, and I don’t want anybody hurt. I want to put on a great show and try to help this town.”
Any money that’s raised but not needed will be donated to the BC Children’s Hospital, he said.
Colby says the only rocket experience he has is building model rockets at home, and “I never made a homemade rocket until very recently.”
Asked if he was taking the maiden flight, Colby said he’d rather not say.
“I don’t want my mother having a heart attack when she reads it in the paper. I told her that we wouldn’t do it until I was completely certified and everything was safe. We’re doing something… I guarantee that. That will be enough of shutting me down in this town.”
However, Colby said he has had a stunt suit made and is having “fireproof and bulletproof” padding installed on the rear end.
“I might take it for a short ride. Right over the water, how bad could it be?”
Colby said he has not yet tested a full-size rocket, but he’s fairly confident it will be a success.
“I’m going to fire a couple of these things off and make sure they do exactly what my rocketeer buddy says they’re going to do. He’s not even remotely worried about it, but I’m putting a dummy on the first one, brother,” he said.
Colby’s plan is to stream the “pay-per-view” event on Zoom. To complement the stunt, he wants to hire “Jetman” Yves Rossy to do a flying demonstration over Semiahmoo Bay. Rossy is a pilot and aviation enthusiast known as the inventor of an experimental jet pack with carbon-fibre wings.
Part of the reason for hosting the event, Colby said, is to support businesses that have suffered as a result of COVID-19.
Last year, Colby appeared before council to pitch his idea of having Robbie Knievel’s (son of the legendary Evel Knievel) ‘Team Knievel’ “jump the gap left in the pier” left by the December 2018 storm.
That plan never came to fruition.
Asked what Colby thought of his chances of getting White Rock council’s approval for the rocket stunt, he said he might go a different route.
“Who says I got to launch it from the beach? I might launch it from a boat. We’re trying to stay one step ahead,” he said.
Colby, son of late former South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce executive director Larry Colby, has garnered headlines before.
In 2017, he was one of the event organizers for a Ladies Night at a waterfront restaurant that would have featured male exotic dancers. The event had its Liquor Control and Licensing Branch special event permit licence revoked because no adult entertainment zoning was in place, which ultimately led to the exotic dancing portion of the program being moved to a private residence.
In the 2014 civic election, he announced a bid to challenge then-incumbent Wayne Baldwin for the mayor’s chair but was forced to withdraw due to a personal health problem.