Rock Aqua Jays to host show ski nationals this weekend

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Shelly Birkelo
Thursday, August 7, 2014

JANESVILLE—Show skiers from 14 teams and six states will compete in this weekend's national show ski tournament in Janesville.

"It is pretty impressive," said Tim Cullen, Rock Aqua Jays club president.

The tournament--the 2014 Indmar Marine Engines National Show Ski Championships--marks the 40th anniversary of show ski nationals, which started in Janesville.

This will be the 25th time the local water ski show club has hosted the event at Traxler Park.

"It's the best show ski site in the country," Cullen said.

"You have great water conditions in a locked-in site with no other boat traffic that is protected from wind. Then you add in the bleacher seating and all of the areas you can watch the show from, and there's nothing else like it. It's truly a stadium experience that other sites can't offer," he said.

The three-day tournament kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday with individual competition—swivel, team jump, doubles and freestyle jump. The Aqua Jays will compete in three of these events.

Team competition starts at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Aqua Jays will ski first Saturday and as reigning national champions had the choice to do so.

"We like to ski early because it offers the best water conditions," Cullen said.

The Aqua Jays, who have won nationals 18 times and more than any other show ski team in the country, also want to set the pace for the tournament, he said. They have done that by being the first team on the water during the competition the previous three years.

"It's hard to argue with success. We've won three national championships in a row and are hoping for a fourth," he said.

To win, the Aqua Jays will need to do what they do best, and that's be consistent, Cullen said.

"To retain the national title, we've been building on the show slowly throughout the season and skiing with the experience and execution we know we can do,'' he said.

But winning won't be easy for any competing team.

"It's going to take a good show from top to bottom to win. There are some very tough teams, and we'll be seeing some of the best in the country who had to compete in their own region in order to qualify," Cullen said.

A crowd of 3,000 is expected for Friday, while Saturday's and Sunday's performances should attract 5,000 fans each day.

"Each team will get 50 minutes to perform their best (show) from the skiers to boat driving and announcing," he said.

"It's a beautiful place to be on the weekend," Cullen said.

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