Rock Aqua Jays water ski team announces 2013 show theme

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Shelly Birkelo
Saturday, May 4, 2013

— Despite flooding on the Rock River, the Rock Aqua Jays are gearing up to defend their national title in addition to performing another season of entertaining water ski shows.

The team is scheduled to start practicing on the water next week, said Joel Shapiro, club president. But with the high river level, team officials are making arrangements for skiers to hold rehearsals at other area ski sites and gymnasiums.

"Even without being on the water every night, we can still do show preparation so we are ready to go when the (water) conditions improve," said Dave Rezin, co-show director.

In a news release Thursday, the Aqua Jays announced their 2013 show theme: "The Hatfields and the McCoys."

More than a dozen ski acts performed to music on the water will tell the story of the legendary American family feud that spanned decades in the late 1800s and nearly launched a war between Kentucky and West Virginia.

"Putting together this theme has been a lot of fun," said Hayley Sarow, co-show director. "We are going to be creative in how we tell the story and make it work with our water-skiing acts."

Club members will act out the clash of the clans during their first show of the season, which is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Sunday, May 26.

Those who miss the season opener will have several other opportunities to see the show. A special Memorial Day show is planned at 1 p.m. Monday, May 27, and shows continue every Sunday and Wednesday evening through Labor Day weekend.

The Aqua Jays also have won bids to again host the national and world water ski show tournaments in 2014. According to Shapiro, the Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has said the shows would have a combined $6 million effect on the local economy.

The Division I National Water Ski Show Tournament will take place Aug. 8-10, 2014, and it marks the 25th time the Janesville team has hosted the event. It also will mark the 40th time the tournament has been held since the Aqua Jays started competition in 1975, Shapiro said.

The World Water Ski Show Tournament returns to Janesville Sept. 13-14, 2014.

"The International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation selected Janesville to host again because of the tremendous support of the community and the outstanding job done by the team in hosting the first-time event in 2012," Shapiro said.

Veteran club members and organizers Tom Cullen and Duane Snow will chair the national and world tournaments, respectively.

"They bring countless years of experience to the table and are both true ambassadors of the team and the community," Shapiro said.

Hosting these tournaments showcases the Aqua Jays abilities, its show site and the city.

"We believe these events add to the quality of life in Janesville," he said.

Shapiro admits the Aqua Jays host the tournaments to put money into the nonprofit organization's coffers. But, "we also want to showcase our site and bring people from around the world here so the sport can grow," he added.

Last updated: 10:40 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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