A lot of people are pirates on Talk Like a Pirate Day or Halloween, but for the MacKay Pirate Family from Newark, Ohio, being pirates is a year-round affair.
Dad Jeff, 55, mom Rebecca, 37, and son Wilde, 11, are all obsessed with pirates.
“We’re pirates in every aspect of our lives,” says Rebecca. “Our house is pirates; playtime is pirates. Everything we do is somehow related to pirates.”
The MacKays even work as pirates. The whole family, including 11-year-old Wilde, works pirate-themed events. Jeff is also the owner of Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats, and makes custom pirate hats. Rebecca makes pirate-themed clothing. She’s also a professional mermaid and aquatic performer.
Jeff and Rebecca met in Oregon not long after the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out. At the time, he was managing a windsurfing business, but seeing that movie changed his life.
“I saw Jack Sparrow. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s me!’” he says.
Jeff entered a Halloween costume contest as Jack Sparrow that year. He met Rebecca at the event, and she describes their meeting as “love at first sight.” They began participating in pirate reenactments and events shortly after. They even had a pirate-themed wedding.
The pirate family trains regularly for their pirate life, practicing swordfighting and axe-throwing on a regular basis. They also set off cannons and fire flintlock pistols using black powder.
These days, the family is putting its fighting spirit to use in a real-world battle, as Jeff was recently diagnosed with throat cancer.
“It’s not something that is holding us back,” he says. “I’ve always been a fighter, and this is just another fight.”
You can follow the MacKays’ adventures, including updates on Jeff’s cancer treatments, on their Facebook page.
“I think the MacKay Pirate Family will always be pirates,” says Rebecca. “We are steadfast pirates forever.”
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