View from the Top: Rappelling the Skydome
What are those cadets doing at the top of the Dome?
Every game, fan’s 👀 look sky-ward for a special delivery —
You’ll see two Army ROTC cadets poised at the edge of the Skydome platform ready to jump. After a deep breath they rappel down to the center of the football field, delivering the game ball.
How did this tradition start?
Legend has it, back in the ’90s, cadets were lying on the football field after mandatory physical training gazing at the top of the Dome.
They got into conversation about how “cool” it would be to rappel down to the field from the roof. A little bit of smooth-talking to their commanding officers and their dream became a reality.
Game Day prep
Learning to rappel is an adventure all cadets take on during Mountain Adventure training. Cadets travel to Coconino National Forest and are taught how to tie various knots and rappelling basics.
The height of the mountain is good practice but doesn’t nearly compare to the 150 foot vertical drop from the top of the Skydome.
The chosen few
Game-day rappelling is a privilege and a special one at that!
Only upperclassmen get to rappel from the top of the Dome, and most are given the chance at least once in their NAU careers (bucket list ✔️)
Every game begins with ROTC’s rappel. As they descend, they also carry with them an important possession — the game ball.
The crowd holds a collective breath as the cadets speed down their ropes to the field. Once they touch the turf and deliver the ball to Louie, the crowd cheers with excitement. That’s one special delivery 🏈
Here’s to traditions new and old.
For an up close and personal view, watch the game day video below 👍🏼
Fun fact: What started out as one game each football season — has now become a game day staple.
ROTC now rappels at all home football games throughout the season.