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Rochester skydiver and others compete in Six Flags' 30-hour 'Coffin Challenge'

Oct 10, 2019

Contestants will spend 30 hours inside coffins -- sometimes with worms for company -- for the chance to win cash and other prizes in a contest at Six Flags Darien Lake. 

The second annual "Coffin Challenge" on Friday and Saturday is part of the park’s annual Fright Fest. 

Participants will compete for a $600 grand prize, season passes to the park for next year and access passes to the remaining weeks of Fright Fest.

Mike Arena with Six Flags says that the contest suits the season.

"A big part of Fright Fest here is making it the scariest creepiest Halloween experience that it can be. Cause that’s what people are looking for this time of year," Arena says.

More than 700 people applied for the opportunity to spend the better half of a weekend alone in a coffin. Only six were chosen, including Robin Basalla of Rochester. 

Robin Basalla on a skydiving jump.
Credit Brittany Gray

"I don’t know, when I heard about it, I was just, like, this sounds like a totally unique and crazy opportunity to do something new and challenging," Basalla says.

Arena says Basalla stood out as a daredevil. For one thing, she’s a skydiver with more than 400 jumps to her name.

"I’m always looking for new experiences and way to face my fears in life," she says.

She will be facing off against contestants from around the region.

Megan Shores said in her application that she’s competing in honor of her brother, who died earlier this year.

“They’d go to different Halloween events, not just in this area but across the country with her brother, and her brother passed away. So she was interested in doing it in his memory,” Arena says.

The Coffin Challenge starts at 6 a.m. Friday morning and lasts until noon Saturday. Participants get 10- to 15-minute breaks every three hours, and the occasional additional challenge, like eating tarantulas and scorpions. 

During the final hour of the contest, contestants will have to share their coffins with worms.

"I’m a fan of people testing their limits and being able to overcome their fears," says Arena.

For Basalla, she’s looking forward to the prizes.

"I definitely want to make it through the 30 hours and I’m hoping that I come out on top and get the $600, that would be nice," Basalla says.

But it’s not something people who know her may have expected.

"I haven’t really told anyone that I’m doing this," she says with a laugh.