Chances are if you’ve been around Sarasota for any amount of time, you are aware of unique groups and activities who remain steady while others come and go. You can discuss their exciting shows without saying their name and people instantly know it’s “that group out of Sarasota”. It’s nice to follow their successes and see their evolution, and feel pride in how they have represented Sarasota with flair. Please join us in congratulating Sarasota Ski-a-Rees for becoming National Champions at a recent competition, further expanding Sarasota’s role as an all-inclusive sports destination.
Sarasota Ski-a-Rees are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year and have capped off a beloved decades-old tradition for Sarasota with a huge win. At the 43rd Indmar Marine Engines Division I Show Ski National Championships, Sarasota Ski-a-Rees captured the National Team Title. Traveling over 1300 miles to Rockford, Illinois, the competition brought their dedication, professionalism and creativity to the forefront of the waterskiing community, as judges deemed their Star Wars-themed performance to be worthy of a championship title. Fourteen teams and over 1500 athletes competed in a series of events in the tournament. This is the first time since 1998 that the Ski-a-Rees have participated in the Show Ski Nationals.
The Sarasota Ski-a-Rees are a non-profit organization, who in cooperation with the city of Sarasota, local businesses, a devoted resident fan base and efforts of its members strive to provide a destination for interested youth in the sport of water-skiing. In addition to the art of waterski performance, the young athletes spend hours on the water learning safety, control, sportsmanship, and the proper way to be good stewards of the water. Interested adults who are capable of teaching and coaching the students are welcome to contact the organization for further information. Many other volunteers are needed, especially as the complexity and creativity of the performances grow, so, individuals who have stage experience including acting, set design, costumes, announcing, and other talents are encouraged to join the group.
If you have had the pleasure of visiting the Ski-a-Rees practice site in the past couple of years, at Ken Thompson Park then you were undoubtedly dazzled by their Star Wars: The Skiquel performance. At the recent Nationals, Sarasota Ski-a-Rees wowed the judges with their creativity, originality, presentation and execution. For Sarasota residents, there is a loyalty and appreciation for the free practice sessions the public is treated to. If you haven’t watched a show, you are missing out on an awe-inspiring afternoon. Their athleticism is impressive and one can only admire the tremendous amount of time spent honing their craft. They are a core component of Sarasota’s history and worth packing up the family, a fresh picnic, and your sunglasses for a unique and fun afternoon. Their new season begins September 24 so be sure to catch a show or two.
In addition to the National Championship, there were several other winners from the Sarasota area at the competition. According to the Ski-a-Rees press release, there were many standouts, including Darian LeBlanc, who won the Willa Cook award, a recognition given to the tournament’s top female performer, Clint Gordon and Trina Sawaska placed second in doubles, scoring 14.58 points; Nick Vickers and Kirsten Hannabass placed 3rd scoring 14.28 points; Jesse Lewis and Ella Brauch placed 8th scoring 11.32 points. The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees won team jumping, scoring 82.84 points. Garrett Bouley won freestyle jumping, scoring 887.50 points with teammates Caleb Ross and Nick Lyman placing 3rd and 5th respectively. In individual swivel competition, Loren Scherschel placed 4th, Linzy Reinders placed 5th, Darian Le Blanc placed 8th, Jac Lyman placed 10th, and Diane Engberg placed 14th. For more information on Sarasota Ski-a-Rees, please visit their website at http://www.skiarees.com/
Photos credit of Sarasota Ski-a-Rees Facebook page