This past weekend, the Mad-City Ski Team competed at the National Show Ski Tournament at Traxler Park in Janesville, WI. The team had placed 2nd at the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Tournament (the regional qualifier tournament) and was looking to both clean up the show a little bit and make a few of the acts just a bit bigger and try out a few new tricks in our show for Nationals.
But the weeks leading up to the tournament proved to be challenging for the team. Besides dealing with the incredible heat and humidity that had moved into the area in the week before the state tournament, two very prominent and important members of the team were injured. Ann, who is a Wisconsin State and National Swivel Champion, suffered a broken ankle about 2 weeks before the tournament and Lori, another important member suffered a severely pulled muscle the day before the tournament opened that prevented her from skiing.
The team didn’t let the weather, the wind, the water or injuries slow it down. The home show the week before Nationals proved to be one of the team’s best shows at home (or anywhere else) that year, one that we’d like to have performed at Nationals, and given the less than ideal conditions at our home site, that is a huge accomplishment.
During the final week of preparations, the team performed a couple more show run thrus, gave a couple acts a little extra time on the water and worked hard on our skits and intros… basically, putting the little extra polish on our show.
Finally, the tournament arrived. On Friday during individuals, Kristen Block, one of the team’s members, competed in the Individual Swivel Competition. Here is her swivel routine…
Facing some tough competition, Kristen placed 3rd in the Swivel Competition.
Friday night, the team met for a final team meeting to go through our intros, dances and responsibilities during the team’s setup and tear down times. Basically, a mini dress rehearsal, minus the costumes and skiing… and one less thing to worry about in the morning, which was going to come very early.
Saturday arrived (barely) and throughout team member’s homes, alarms went off about 3:15am and Mad-City’s migration to Janesville started. I’m assuming most team members packed the majority of their stuff into their cars the night before and had hooked up to whatever they might be towing, leaving the only responsibilities in the morning to be whatever they needed to do to wake up and eat some breakfast before getting on the road to Janesville by 4am.
5am arrives, Traxler Park opens and Mad-City shows up to get ready for our show at Nationals. Being the first team on the water, the team’s setup time started at 7:30am, leaving just a couple hours for the team build the back drop, the girls to put on make up, everyone to get their costumes, 100s of ropes to re-wrapped and for people to gather and preset their equipment. Boats were launched, floaters put into positions, backdrops placed and then it was show time.
Here are some pictures from the show…
And, by looking at the pictures, you can see that Ann, broken ankle and all, still skied. She hadn’t practiced for the prior two weeks other than to try it out the day before to see if she could ski with her broken and since she could, she did.
The team was very happy with the show. A few things that usually make it didn’t, but just about everything did make it. Clean pyramids, strong swivel act, good big act, great tandem act, awesome ending pyramid, a phenomenal ballet act and some great new comedy and it all added up to a show the team could be very proud of.
Here’s a short highlight video…
Yes, 13 minutes isn’t that short, but there were a lot of highlights.
And for those that want to see the whole show, here you go…
When the final results were announced, the Mad-City Ski Team placed 3rd behind the Rock Aqua Jays (Janesville, WI) who took 1st and the Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team (Wonder Lake, IL) who took 2nd.
From USA Water Ski:
8/14/2011 20:04:12 – The Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show Team (Janesville, Wis.) won the national team title at the 37th Indmar Marine Engines Division 1 Show Ski National Championships, Aug. 12-14, on the Rock River at Traxler Park in Janesville, Wis. It was the Rock Aqua Jays’ 16th national team title.
The Rock Aqua Jays tallied 2,021.16 points in sweeping the traditional box scores for Dock & Equipment Crew, Pick-Up Boat Driving, Towboat Driving and Sound Crew, and earning top-scoring awards for Pyramid, Swivel, Doubles, Showmanship, Overall Show and High Individual Club Act. It was the Rock Aqua Jays’ first national team title since 2005.
The defending champion Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team (Wonder Lake, Ill.) finished second with 1,961.32 points and the Mad-City Ski Team (Madison, Wis.) placed third with 1,914.04 points. The Backwater Gamblers (Rock Island, Ill.), which scored 1,801.68 points, and Badgerland (Waukesha, Wis.), which tallied 1,723.50 points, rounded out the top-five placements.
The tournament featured 14 teams and more than 1,500 athletes competing for the coveted show ski national title. In competitive show skiing, each club has one hour to present a theatrical performance on water skis. Judges score acts by awarding points based on originality, presentation and execution. Elaborate costumes and staging intermix with music and fast action on the water as an announcer leads the audience through the show.
Jacklyn Kumlien (Janesville, Wis.) and Bob Panter (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) received the Willa Cook and Skip Gilkerson awards, respectively. The awards are given to the tournament’s top female and male performers, as voted on by the tournament officials.