Despite relentless rain, the U.S. Water Ski Show Team has weathered the season and has finally been able to get back out on the river.
“The rain has been an issue. The flooding is tough because even if it’s not raining here the river could be up two or three feet, which impacts our equipment. It makes the current faster, which makes conditions unsafe,” said Nikki Weakley, a longtime member of the team.
When the Gazette spoke with team members last week, they’d only been able to ski three shows all season. Usually, by that point, they’d have skied seven Tuesday evening shows at Jumpin’ Jacks Drive-In. However, team members are just happy to be back out on the water after not being able to perform last year because of COVID-19 and have been practicing as much as six days a week.
“It’s been a rough summer with the weather but if the weather is nice . . . the dock will have skis from the beginning to the end of people waiting in line to go skiing. We’re just kids at heart. We can’t wait to hit the water, which adds to the excitement,” Weakley said.
The team dates back 53 years, with Weakley’s late father Roger, along with several others founding the team. They started out performing shows on Mariaville Lake and moved to Jumpin’ Jacks in 1986, right around when Weakley was born. She didn’t start skiing until several years later.