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Miles of ropes, boats with up to 900 horsepower, sparkly costumes, music, announcing, smiles and waves can be found at Law Park every Sunday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Crowds fill the shoreline of Lake Monona to take in free shows by the Mad-City Water Ski Team that display human pyramids, barefooters, swivelers, jumpers, doubles couples, and much more.

This group of dedicated volunteers not only performs for the Madison community, but also competes in regional and national water ski show tournaments. The team is nationally recognized for its innovative and thrilling shows. The team has won National Championships in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2019. Mad-City has also recently won the Wisconsin State Show Ski Tournament (the largest of its kind in the world) in 2012, 2015, and 2017.

During a tournament show, the team has one hour to perform 13 acts and are scored on not only skiing, but everything from boat driving to announcing. In 2016, Mad-City’s ballet line had a record 29 girls pulled on their slalom skis off the dock, around the show course for two passes, and returned to the beach arm in arm.

A true family sport, the team is made up of skiers from 6 to 60 years old and a variety of other support personnel. Although there are many people that join the team as individuals, there are also many families that join where parents (and grandparents!) and children all compete on the same team together - some may be skiing and others may be helping on the shore, docks or out in the boats.  These skilled skiers also hold clinics to introduce new skiers to the sport, many also working with adaptive skiers.

Mad-City is known for a show that holds your attention the entire time – with athleticism on the water and humor and dancing on land. The team practices year-round, retreating indoors in the winter months to practice climbing pyramids – four and sometimes five tiers high! - and perfecting doubles moves. Members also use this time to sew beautiful costumes by hand, tune up boats, make ropes, and write the show.

If you find yourself in Madison on a Sunday night in summer, make your way to Lake Monona and enjoy the show!

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