by Pat Works
FREAK BROTHERS HISTORY
In 1972 RW (formation) skydiving was in its infancy. Ten-way speed was the hot competition discipline, and Hinckley, Illinois, had one of the hottest teams, The James Gang. Two young brothers, Carl and Roger Nelson, were novice skydivers at Hinckley. The Nelsons, unlike most skydivers at the time, were not ex-military and had the '70s "hippy" look, with long hair. One of the experienced Hinckley jumpers, Steve "Pops" Connors, was going to make a coach jump with the Nelsons from the DZ Cessna when along came "Pirate" (so called because he had a prosthetic leg) and asked if Pops wanted to get on a 10-way instead of jumping "with those freaky brothers". The name stuck. Carl became FB#1 and Roger FB#2. "Pops" Connors was FB#7.
Carl, Roger and Roger's wife Jeannie went on to organize the first really big boogies, The Freak Brothers Conventions, and for many years they published "Relatively Speaking", a skydiving newsletter. A form of flying that they later popularized (anything that was not belly to earth) became known as "freak-flying" - eventually morphing into freeflying.
The Freak Brothers became an inclusive organization for skydivers, with thousands of FBs world wide.
Pat Works (FB#61) also remembers:
"The Freak Brothers Flyer" was an in-your-face broadside that Carl and Roger occasionally published. Carl published the second Skydiving How-to book. 'Body Pilot.' The first formation skydiving book is also by a Hinckley jumper. Pat's "The Art of RW" was published in 1975. It has been reprinted seven times and translated into four languages. (available @ Skydiving Magazine). The Freak Brothers -- Hinckley brothers Carl Nelson, Roger Nelson and "Cicero" (WN) were 30-jump wonders during the Hinckley 10-way heydays. Long hair and 1970s garb ruled (it WAS the '70s), these three were weirder than the norm. Roger had hair down past his shoulders. Carl had a Prince Valiant cut. Cicero was (is) strange. All children of Hinckley they escaped notice until one day someone noted them together, exclaiming, Hey, look at those Freak Brothers. Thus Freak Brothers 1,2 and 3 were born at Hinckley. Horny for RW jumps, the Freak Brothers started a club. To get a Freak Brothers Number, you had to be in a formation with at least 2 each righteous-ordained Freak Brothers. Of course, their Freak Brothers Convention became The Party-skydive of the US. Now it's called the World Freefall Convention.
Following is the soundtrack to Hey Freak Brother by Rare Earth
Carl died in a 1979 skydiving accident at The Herd boogie. Roger died in 2003 as a result of a canopy collision at his own DZ, Skydive Chicago.
The first video is a tribute to Roger Nelson. The second is the 1 year anniversary of his death Memorial Skydive.
Click any picture for a better view.