FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va (WOAY) – Last year, Sib Weatherford, a Fayetteville native, made history as he was the first person to go down the high line underneath the New River Gorge Bridge in a wheelchair. It has now become a bit of a Bridge Day tradition as he went back down the zipline again on Friday.
“This is one of the few things that I can still get out and do, so I’ve gotta take advantage of it,” Weatherford said. “It’s a little bit chilly, but it’s a beautiful day out here and hanging up looking over the Gorge, I don’t think there’s another feeling quite like that.”
Weatherford has lived an adventurous life, full of adventure sports like rafting and skiing, but after he was diagnosed with CIPD (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) eight years ago, he was confined to a wheelchair. However, he has not let that get in the way as he prepped to go down the high line underneath the bridge for the second year in a row as his proud wife, Lauren, watched on.
“We actually met doing adventure sports like whitewater rafting and skiing, so I just couldn’t be prouder that in his situation, it doesn’t let it stop him at all,” she said. “He just keeps going out and doing things that other people wouldn’t want to try.”
It takes a full team to get him and his wheelchair out on the bridge walk and then strapped in, fully harnessing him and his wheelchair and then attaching it to the cable. It was Benjy Simpson, the Bridge Day rappel coordinator, who convinced him to do it last year. This year, however, it was all Weatherford’s idea to continue making it a tradition.
“I said, ‘Do you wanna go? You got my blessing,’” Simpson said. “It will be a go, and so he’s here again. We’re excited. Yeah, it takes a lot of work by the people doing the high line to get it set up and do it but it’s worth it.”
And it was. Weatherford made it down again with ease as he’s become an actual symbol of perseverance with t-shirts and stickers this year sporting the logo of him going down the line.
“Keep moving forward. There’s always a challenge and there’s always something exciting and fun that you can do, so you gotta keep pushing yourself and getting up every day and try to go,” Sib said.
Sib Weatherford will also be participating in the Bridge Day 5K on Saturday.