WARSAW — The Lake City Skiers’ foray into the Central Region Show Ski Tournament over the weekend was a success on multiple levels.
The Warsaw-based show ski team not only played host to seven teams from five different states in a smoothly-run tournament at Hidden Lake, but they also punched their ticket to the Division I National Water Ski Show Championships in August with a third-place finish at the regional tournament, which wrapped Sunday.
“It feels great,” said Lake City Skiers Vice President Chuck McLaughlin. “If we would’ve finished lower, we would’ve had to go back to the next division, so by placing third, keeping us in that top division and getting to go to Division I nationals, it’s really pretty exciting.”
Wonder Lake topped the regional standings with a score of 1,660 points, while the Backwater Gamblers placed second with a score of 1,530, and the hosts claimed the third and final spot out of the central regional to the nationals, taking place Aug. 10-12 in Janesville, Wisc. The Lake City Skiers collected a total of 1,326 points, narrowly edging out Chippewa’s fourth-place score of 1,319.
“We were nervous. We watched some of the other shows, and we knew that they had a good day, did good shows,” recalled McLaughlin. “We didn’t get our best show out there, we left a lot of room for improvement, so we’ll be working on that between now and August. But overall we had a good show. Our stage crew really carried us in this tournament. They really stepped it up and scored us a lot of points; where we lost points on the water, they made up for it on land.”
McLaughlin praised his entire team’s efforts in hosting the tournament after it was moved from its originally-planned site on Rock River in Rock Island, Ill. due to unsafe conditions caused by flooding in the region. The Lake City Skiers became the hosts on short notice after the decision was made to move the tournament on July 2.
“The credit really goes to the entire team for coming out, pitching in and getting the site ready for the tournament because it is a big tournament,” McLaughlin said. “We had a really good turnout. We had seven teams there, which is over 2,000 people just in teams. Our team really stepped it up and pitched in, and as a result, the tournament ran really smoothly.”
Next up for the Lake City Skiers is the DI national tournament, where they’ll compete among the top 14 teams in the nation. In the meantime, the team will be brushing up its skills on the waters at Hidden Lake, and they invite the public to come out and watch every Tuesday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The shows are free to the public, and concessions are available.
“We’ll be stepping up the difficulty on our acts and really working hard to get prepared for that tournament,” McLaughlin said.