By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS –What better way to celebrate your Division I status than to party like it’s Mardi Gras?
The Wisconsin Rapids Aqua Skiers will be hosting the 51st Wisconsin State Waterski Show at Lake Wazeecha in late July, and the defending Division II champions will have a challenge ahead of them — however it’s a challenge that will be met with excitement over nerves.
‘Crusin to Cajun Country’ will be the theme for this year’s squad, as the story will see the Aqua Skiers selected to perform a show at Mardi Gras. During the performance, skiers will make the hike through the Mississippi River, St. Louis, Memphis, and eventually end up at New Orleans for the seasoned celebration.
“Each year we try to build on what we’ve done previously,” said show director J.T. Sachs. “We try to implement some new acts, and a lot of it is based on the talent level that we have — so we try to maximize what everybody brings to the table.”
This year’s team will be the very last team to ski for Division I competition, and while some may assume there’s added pressure on the Aqua Skiers, according to Sachs, it’s anything but. Sachs cites the fact that moving their way up from finishing last in 2013 in Division III up to Division II champions last year, and now competing in Division I has been its own challenging journey.
This year, the mindset is to entertain the audience and to simply go out and have fun.
“We took an approach this year that the goal is to always put on an entertaining show that we can be proud of,” said Sachs. “This year, our goal isn’t to win first place — our team doesn’t have some of the horses that other teams have — but we’ve always prided ourselves on putting on a show where at the end of the show the crowd is saying ‘Darn it, it’s already over’ — we try to put some different spins on things and keep things moving for the audience.”
The Wisconsin State Waterski Show kicks off on Thursday, July 20 at Lake Wazeecha, and runs all weekend through Sunday. For more information on teams and schedule, please visit http://www.aquaskiers.org.