Orlando Duque, of Colombia, dives from the 28 meter platform at Hell s Gate during the second stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Possum
Orlando Duque, of Colombia, dives from the 28 meter platform at Hell s Gate during the second stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Possum Kingdom Lake, Saturday. (Romina Amato/Red Bull Cliff Diving Courtesy)
Nineteen of the world’s top divers leapt from Hell’s Gate Saturday at Possum Kingdom Lake during the second stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. 
Twelve men and seven women dove into the freshwater lake reservoir from 90 feet and 60 feet respectively from platforms temporarily constructed on the cliff face. The divers reached speeds of 53 mph in just three seconds before entering the water, protected by nothing but their bathing suits. Approximately 6,700 spectators arrived by boat to watch the athletes during the series’ first ever stop in Texas.
Pam Wheat, executive assistant at the Possum Kingdom Chamber of Commerce, said reports from businesses and Red Bull participants have been positive.
Rachelle  Rocco  Simpson, winner of the inaugural women s Red Bull Cliff Diving competition, starts her second dive Friday from the 20-meter platform.
Rachelle Rocco Simpson, winner of the inaugural women s Red Bull Cliff Diving competition, starts her second dive Friday from the 20-meter platform. (Mark Engebretson)

“We were told it was a perfect event, the divers loved the venue and it was their favorite place,” she said. “The hospitality was great.”
Camps did well, too, she believed.
“I think, for the most part, if they weren’t full, they were at about 90 percent,” she added. “I was really pleasantly surprised. The West Side got some action.”
She also said some businesses reported it was a busy weekend, somewhere between a holiday weekend and a normal summer weekend.
Wheat said she believes the long-term effects of the exposure will benefit lake businesses.
“My phone is so much more busy now than last year or the year before.”
In the inaugural North American women’s competition, Texas’ very own Rachelle “Rocco” Simpson took home top honors in her first professional competition.
Simpson was thrilled to represent the Lone Star State.
“I love you, Texas!” she exclaimed to the crowd after securing the title. 
Returning to a familiar position at the top of the podium for the 16th time, the United Kingdom’s Gary Hunt, three-time series champion, wowed the crowd with his spectacular first place dive.
Rachelle  Rocco  Simpson, continues her turn.
Rachelle Rocco Simpson, continues her turn. (Mark Engebretson)
    
“I’ve never been to Texas before and I couldn’t believe the location,” Hunt said. “The cliffs were perfect, the conditions were great for diving and the crowd gave us all a boost.”  
Simpson said she felt right at home in the location. 
“I love the heat. The lake temperature and the location were perfect and I loved the people.”
Crowds arrived early by boat, waving Texas and American flags to cheer on the divers.  Brazos River Authority reported that 600 boats and personal watercraft arrived to enjoy the day’s activities without incident  Music was provided by Cody Robbins Band and 106.1 KISS FM’s Billy the Kid.
Rachelle  Rocco  Simpson moves to a straight head-down position before turning to enter the water feet first.
Rachelle Rocco Simpson moves to a straight head-down position before turning to enter the water feet first. (Mark Engebretson)