By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — This weekend the waters of Lake Wazeecha will be filled with the best waterskiers in the state, but don’t let that take away from all that goes on behind the scenes.
In fact, the man responsible for driving one of the water ski boats and pulling the Aqua Skiers along is none other than their Board of Directors President, Mike Wiberg. However, even with Wiberg’s double-duties, he credits everyone to the skiers’ successes, and states that every members’ role is equally important to the show.
“If you don’t have skiers, sound crew, people on the dock, and drivers — you don’t have a show,” said President Mike Wiberg. “Many people that you don’t hear about or see are pivotal to the show — not to say one position is more important than the other.”
Overall, there will be four boat drivers and two pick up boats for this year’s show. In every boat, there are one to two riders, and even more pin pullers.
“Everybody has got to do their part to make it and put on a good show for the audience.” said Wiberg.
This year, the Aqua Skiers move up to Division I competition, and while many have echoed excitement for the step up, not one has shown any signs of nerves or pressure.
“We were much more relaxed this year,” said Secretary Sammi Richardson. “This year’s focus is more about having fun.”
While polished and entertaining, this year’s ski show, like many, starts as an idea dating as far back as January. From there, the show is carefully crafted with every angle and potential issue addressed to make for a smooth performance.
“The dry land practices started in January,” said Richardson. “The script was written and boat patterns were drawn before the ice was off the water. What happens on the stage with the announcer and the music — it’s my job to communicate with the boat driver what they don’t see going on shore so I can cue the drivers to come in when they’re supposed to so that the whole show flows together.”
While it may be hard to take your eyes off the action in the water, know an equal amount of hard work is being put in by dozens of staff members behind the scenes. You can root on the Wisconsin Rapids Aqua Skiers this weekend as part of the 51st annual Wisconsin State Water Ski Show, which kicks off this Thursday. The Aqua Skiers will perform their show, ‘Cruisin’ to Cajun Country’ at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.