Nationals started off Friday at 11am with one of Mad-City’s swivelers, Ann Wittenberg, competing in the Individual Competition. She qualified by winning the Wisconsin State Swivel Ski Individuals Competition. She was first on the water on Friday and skied a very clean routine. She ended up placing fourth in the Nation, which she was happy with.
Next up was the team jump competition. As I mentioned earlier, I was shocked when the Mad-City Jump Team won the Wisconsin State Jump Championship. Not that they could do all the jumps, just that they did them all without falling in one act. Before state, they had been falling. Just like before state, they had been falling during the week coming up to Nationals. One of the first jumps off the ramp was a triple heli by Chris, Paul and Bugsy. Chris and Paul were clean and skied away, but Bugsy made it interesting. Not quite sure how but he ended up on his back. With a little help from the driver, he managed to do a tumble up, bringing the crowd to its feet (we like to see people Make It!). The rest of the jumps were clean up until Paul O’Conner did the 720. (Yep, a double heli… rope wrapped once, two rotations around with a hand-to-hand pass of the handle on the second rotation.) His first attempt was close. Second attempt, stuck it!!! They ended up on top. #1 in the Nation!
Next up, Friday we road tripped back up Mad-town for our last show run through before we skied the next day. We headed to the Coliseum Bar & Grill. They knew we were coming, but it didn’t seem like it. We had them running for a while. Next up, I had a pretty low key night. Just got everything ready for the next day…
Saturday morning finally arrives. I arrive at the meeting only to find out that the sound system (used in Madison at the practice the night before) wasn’t brought down to Janesville. Through some miscommunication, it was thought we didn’t need the equipment because of the house system. Problem was, we needed the mixing board and mikes. Props to Tristan for driving up to retrieve everything. Made good time too.
Showtime finally arrives… Pre-show dance rocks.
7-Man Backfoot line… clean through the show course.
Opening Pyramid… came real quick after the backfoot line, a 4-3-4. Lost a couple on the way back to the beach, but looked good.
Montage… Came through pretty clean. Cake popped the handle on his front flip on the Sky Ski. Kristen nailed 3 720’s on her swivel pass through the show course. A quick, hot act.
Next up, an extreme makeover for our groom left at the alter. First he needs to ski in… At state he barely made his dock start for his 15 yards of skiing. This time, he did miss his start. Heard up near the judges… “Was he suppose to fall? I think he was…” Instead of making Cory over though (at State he was dressed for a night on the town in Rapids.) This time the joke was on Janesville, last year their theme was an extreme makeover of their ski show, but it ended up being pretty much the same as always. After Cory’s extreme makeover, he looked exactly the same.
After the makeover, a little one-act show… Shoe skier doing overhead 360’s, 3-high pyramid, doubles couple and a gainer and flip off the ramp. Everything clean and Beau even threw in a overhead turn on his landing at the beach on his shoe skis.
Then we took a trip to Coyote Ugly to see the ladies of the Mad-City in the ballet line. Lost one of the dock, and somewhere, another fell as well. 22 ladies left, 20 came back. Not perfect, but their dances are money and their water routine is great as well.
Jump 1 was next… Nothing special, but pretty good. Another jump act.
Swivel hit the water next. And we have four very good swivelers… a combined 13 State and National titles between them. I don’t know enough about swivel to name everything they did, but it was all clean and Kristen even through with a 1080. Yes, a 1080. Only one of the weekend to my knowledge.
Then we go to big act… our toe turn line disappeared, more than half the trios didn’t return to the stage and we lost a couple conventional couples. Only boat to survive in tact, our star swivel boat. Basically, this act blew-up. Not as bad as we thought though. Still scored about 330 (trios made their passed, just didn’t come back to the beach.)
Next on the water, Jump II, our pizza deliverers… But first, we have a special fill where our abandoned groom gets a special massage…
Then there is Jump II. Pretty clean, but there was a bad fall in the four man heli.
Then Adam does a little fill to let our ending pyramid get ready. Last year he found some people that were surprised to see him at Nationals because they had heard that he wasn’t announcing last year because he was sick. Really sick. Truth be told, he took the summer off to start a family and he let everyone know.
Ending pyramid…. Lost one couple of the dock (Brad usually makes it). A 4-3-double top 3 with an extra person came through. Lost a few more in the corner. Not great, but could be worse.
Then Adam does his little dance… 4 minutes, 22 songs. Standing-O from the crowd.
Next on the water, the hottest act of the weekend, the Jawdropper!!! One man, one boat, 3-passes, all quick… As the boat takes him off the dock, the screams of jets fills the air. He turns the corner for his first approach and “gimme fuel, gimme fire, give me that which I desire” screams through the air. Makes his first jump (a flip or gainer). Boat whips around and he goes back to make his next jump (a gainer or flip, whichever he didn’t do first). Boat whips around again. So far the boat hasn’t left the show course. This time he gets a little setup time… he wraps the rope, pops of the ramp, spins once, spins twice as he passes the handle and… money!!! Crowd is on its feet. I can’t turn up the music loud enough to be heard over the crowd.
Finally, our combo-swivel-ballet act takes to the water. 37 people, 2 boats. Crowd loves the guys dance on the dock, likes the water routine, loves the ending dance done by everyone.
Crowd is on it’s feet as our show comes to a close.
I knew we had skied a good show. One act blew up and a couple other uncharacteristic falls. But nothing that could kill our chances for a championship. Others didn’t have my optimism, but they didn’t get to see the show.
Other shows of note… Wonder Lake, took 2 pre-fabs off the dock, looped them around. Meanwhile, 4 more sit on the dock- 2 on the dock, 2 on the floater, another boat sitting there looking like it is going to pull them off. But as the boat pulling the 2 pre-fabs already on the water loops behind the main dock, the boat in front of the dock beaches itself. The dock and floater split apart by about 15 feet. The boat, already pulling 2 pre-fabs, hot picks four more as it splits the gap between dock and pier. This was on sweet act. I found some pictures on the web of the hot-pick… Check it out…
Another highlight… the first 6-high was pulled through the show course. At 5 MPH. I think this was done by Backwater.
RAJ skied a good show, but like ours, didn’t have clean pyramids and had some other falls scattered throughout the show.
Little Crow opened with 6 barefoot pyramids. Only 2 made it through the course (I think). The rest of the show followed in the same manner.
Saturday night, lots of fun was had by all as we partied at Damon’s and then a handful headed to Quotes. Made for a long night.
Finally, the tournament finishes and it is time to announce the awards…
Best Jump Act – Mad-City’s Jawdropper
Best Pyramid Act – Wonder Lake’s pre-fabs
Best Ballet – Webfooters
Best Barefoot Act – RAJ
Best Swivel Act – Mad-City
Best Double’s Act – RAJ
Willa Cook Award – Kristen Heilman (Mad-City)
Skip Gilkerson Award – John Debelock (RAJ)
Traditional Box Scores
Best Dock and Equipment – Wonder Lake
Best Pick-Up Boat Crew – Mad-City
Best Tow Boat Driving – Wonder Lake
Best Announcing* – RAJ
1. Mad-City – 2154
2. RAJ – 2093
3. Wonder Lake – 1979
Look at the picture for the rest of the un-official results…
Other places of interest on the internet reporting about Nationals…
- Mad-City Ski Team press release
- Janesville Gazzette
- USA Waterski
- US Olympic Committe press release
- The Capital Times [added 9/2/2006]
- The Wisconsin State Journal [added 9/2/2006]
Here are some places on the web to go get photos of Mad-City at Nationals and lots of the other teams.
- Jim’s Photos [A Madison photographer that follows the ski team]
- Mindworks Photography [Official Nationals Photographer]
- Lei’s Photos
*4 of the 7 judges scored Mad-City over Janeville for sound