Team History

1968: The Team is Born

Under the guidance of local resident Rocky Palmer, a group of about 40 teenagers formed the Mariaville Lake Ski Club as a way to pass the long summer days. Team members began building their water skiing skills and learning the basics of show skiing. Typical acts of the day would be the “saucer”, slalom ski, parade of flags, perhaps a single barefooter, a two-tier pyramid, and in later years, ski jumping. The team began performing for area residents and remained active until around 1975.

1978: The Team is Reborn

Seeking to reinvigorate the organization after several years of inactivity, Dave Weakley, one of the teams founding members, purchased a new ski boat with his own funds in an attempt to spark interest. Dave’s gamble paid off and the Mariaville Lake Ski Club was reborn.

1982: A Big Move

In an effort to appeal to larger audiences, the team moved to the Mohawk River near Freeman’s Bridge in Schenectady and became the Riverhouse Ski Team.

1983: First Eastern Regional Water Ski Show Tournament

Planned and hosted by the Oxbow Water Ski Show Team in Northampton, Massachusetts, the strict format, numerous rules, and one-hour time limit of organized competition proved too much for the free-spirited Riverhouse team. Of the six teams competing, they placed a distant last.

1986: A New Home, a New Name, and a World Record!

The team moved to its current home at Jumpin’ Jacks Drive-In in Scotia and was incorporated as the U.S. Water Ski Show Team. We also made the Guinness Book of World Records in 1986 by sending 9 men over a small ski jump at Albany’s Corning Park.

1987: First Eastern Region Tournament Win!

Learning from the mistakes made in 1983, the team placed progressively better in the subsequent years until finally winning the tournament in 1987. We went on to win the next 10 years.

1988: Our First Nationals and a Second World Record

In 1988 the team made its first excursion to Nationals in Janesville, Wisconsin. We placed a respectable 14th and learned a lot! We also made history again by performing the record breaking “38 in 88” mass ski pull (38 skiers behind one boat). Yet another entry in the Guinness Book!

1989: 20th Year Celebration and the “Monster Boat”

The team celebrated 20 years (a little late) with a party at Maple Ski Ridge. Members old and new reminisced and planned for the future. The 400hp twin rig Hydrodine made its first appearance along the Scotia shore line.

1994: Live National TV

Scotia was in the spotlight as the team performed the “monster pyramid” (a four-tier pyramid garnished by two 3-tier pyramids) on live national TV for Fox’s FX channel. With cameras on shore and in the boat our athletes, drivers, and support crew performed flawlessly and right on cue. We even provide live commentary from inside the boat!

1995: A Strong Return to Nationals

It’s back to Janesville, Wisconsin for another shot at the Nationals in ’95. Bringing the Wild West show, Driftwood, back to the water, we watch Wyatt Urp fight off Billy the Kid and his gang, along with the beautiful grace of Miss Kitty and her gals. The team made a significant improvement over their first attempt with an amazing 8th place finish.

2003: First Place and 501(c)3 Non-Profit Status

The team hosted the Eastern Regional Water Ski Show Tournament at our home site at Jumpin’ Jacks, drawing hundreds of skiers from across the East Coast to Scotia, NY. We won the tournament, thrilling our loyal home crowd. We were also granted 501(c)3 status as a tax-exempt non-profit organization. This allows us to apply for grants and to accept tax-deductible donations.

2004: Off to Iowa!

After winning the Eastern Regional tournament in Northampton, MA, the team traveled to Waterloo, Iowa for Division II Nationals. We achieved an amazing 4th place!

2005: A Pirate’s Life for Us

We became the “Pirates of the Mohawk” and brought our show (and our pirate ship) to the Eastern Regional’s where we placed 1st.

2006: “The Year of the Flood”

Due to a summer of record-breaking rain and floods, the team was off the water for a majority of the summer. Thanks to the support of family, friends, community members, and sponsors, the team repaired our damaged equipment and traveled to the Eastern Regional Competition in North Hampton, MA where we placed 4th.

2007: Learning Opportunities

The team received a grant from the National Show Ski Association to send 12 team members to Wisconsin Dells, WI to participate in the country’s largest water ski expo. During the expo, members were able to work one on one with some of the largest and most successful teams in the sport. Those team members were able to bring lots of information home to help the team grow. With the new season off to a great start, the team also welcomed Gerry and Cathy Luiting – two of the most renowned show skiers in the world – to our home site for a clinic. With tons of new ideas in hand, we hosted five teams for the 24th Annual Eastern Region Competition and earned 1st Place!

2008: 40 Years!

After a successful first trip to Wisconsin for Think Tank in 2007, the team received another grant to bring 17 members back in 2008. Those participating team members came back energized and shared their excitement with the rest of the team. We increased our community involvement in 2008 by participating in Mohonasen Community Day and the NYS Canal Corporation’s Canal Clean Sweep events in addition to our usual Learn to Ski Clinics. Unfortunately, the 2008 Eastern Regional tournament was cancelled due to flooding. The good news: We finished the summer by celebrating the team’s 40th anniversary!

2009: From Cold to Hot!

We started the year early with a show at Greenwood Lake (in the Catskill Mountains) in May! Brrrr! In July we happily returned from a year off of competition to attend the 25th annual Eastern Regional Water Ski Show tournament in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Oxbow Water Ski Show Team were excellent hosts, and we placed 2nd in the competition.

2010: Building up the Team

A riverfront renovation project along the Mohawk River in Scotia meant a great deal of construction work before the ski season could begin. Thanks to our hardworking members, we built new dock ramps and adapted the stage to fit our new shoreline. Thus equipped for water skiing, we worked on building up the team’s membership. By the end of 2010, we welcomed some great new families to the team! The team is focusing on 2011 and another exciting water ski season on the Mohawk River!

2011: Hosting the Eastern Region Tournament

After a great summer skiing “Mohawk Island: The Jewel of the Mohawk,” the team hosted the Eastern Regional tournament at Jumpin' Jack's in Scotia, NY and became the Eastern Region Champions of 2011.

2012: Long Lake – Here We Come!

The team traveled to beautiful Long Lake, NY to perform for a crowd of hundreds. The very next week, we headed to Northampton, MA to compete in the Eastern Region Competition. At the individual level, our strap doubles couples of Sean and Becky placed 1st, and Brian and Emily placed 4th.

2013: 45 Years and Counting

Returning to Long Lake again this year to perform on July 20th and celebrating our 45th year with a reunion show on August 6th at Jumpin' Jack's!

2014: Born to Hand Jive, Baby!

We skied into the halls of Rydell Hall with a classic throwback to Grease. Complete with T-Birds, and Pink Ladies, and more hand jiving than you can shake a ski at, we had a blast skiing under the leadership of a bold new member and show director.

2015: Jumanski

Pulling from the classic Robin Williams film, Jumanji, a board game found in the depths of the river comes to life and brings the jungle along with it! From a stampeding barefoot line to the man-eating vines of the swivel skiers, Jumanski was a fast-paced show full of wit, creativity and some of the best costumes we’ve ever seen!

2016: Hook’d on Skiing

Captain Nikki Ski Hook of the Regal Jolly Roger sails to the Scotia side of Neverland to tell the true story of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. A creative change from the classic story, the team had a great time playing an array of characters from the Peter Pan legends, including a Mermaid Ballet Line and the Flying Lost Boy Jumpers.

2017: A Great Bet for Entertainment

With the grand opening of the Rivers Casino on the Mohawk River in Schenectady, our team was honored to perform four Friday night ski shows as casino-goers watched from the river bank. With beautiful weather, and our team packed into several boats, we traveled downriver to perform for our new neighbors. And each Tuesday night, we were bringing a cartoon favorite to life on the water with our show, The Flintstones!

2018: Cheers to 50 Years!

To honor a half-century on the water, the team is bringing back shows from the past to remember and celebrate a legacy of fun on the water with family and friends. The 4th of July Show welcomes past members to join us for a weekend of old jokes, new skiers, and everything in between. “Cheers to 50 Years, and Here’s to 50 More!”