WL ski show team making a splash
A trip to Wonder Lake Friday nights might have visitors wondering where the Elvis impersonators are. In its 53rd year, the Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team’s theme for its show this summer is Las Vegas.
Developed by show director Emily Nuck, the story follows Charlie Nuck, Emily’s brother, and Adam Treasure as they tour through Vegas. Charlie, who is visiting Vegas for the first time, was unable to find his friends so Adam decides to give him a tour while the ski team performs its act representing the different aspects of the city.
Charlie Nuck, who has been with WLWSST for 12 years, and Treasure, 15 years, are the announcers for the ski team. They have worked together for two years and are developing into a regular Abbott and Costello.
“[Working with Charlie] is going really well,” Treasure said. “Our chemistry is really good, and we have a team that puts on a really good show and it makes it easy for us.”
“Our role is to bring comedy to the show and keep the show flowing,” Nuck said. “The more people on the stage, the easier the program flows.”
WLWSST has competed since the early ’90s and has won the Water Show Ski Division One National Championships four times – 1996, 2001, 2002 and 2010. It competes in three tournaments a year, and recently the team won the Central Region tournament July 14 and 15 in Rock Island and qualified for the Water Show Ski Division One National Championships Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12, in Janesville, Wis.
According to WLWSST member Jarret Graff, the team has 60 to 65 skiing members from ages 7 to 57 and, overall, about 150 members who perform activities including boat driving, sound crew, pick-up boats, costumes and announcing.
Graff started skiing when he was 5 years old and was on the team at age 9. His family is on the team, with his 14-year-old daughter Bella Biwer part of the skiing program and his 4-year-old daughter Kenzie waiting patiently for her turn. His wife, Stacy, is a non-skiing parent.
“We are very much like a big extended family,” Graff said. “I learned to ski at a very young age. … Giving this opportunity to my kids is very important to me.”
“It’s definitely my second family,” said Nuck who goes to college in Ohio. “It’s so hard to step away. You make friends for life not only from Wonder Lake. It’s a great lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want to ski all day?”
The ski team practices indoors at Harrison School, Wonder Lake, starting in April working on technique and then starts skiing in late May.
“It’s definitely a year-round activity,” Graff said noting the team holds fundraisers and social events in the offseason. WLWSST is volunteer driven, and members pay dues and hold fundraisers.
Members of WLWSST meet on Labor Day weekend to decide the directors for the following year. For Emily Nuck, who has been with WLWSST for 11 years, this is her first year as show director, and she said she is very happy with how it has gone.
“It’s going great,” she said. “We had the highest scoring act for everything [at Rock Island] with only six falls. Everything came together. The theme was great, the costumes were great. Everyone did wonderful.
“I would definitely do it again. It’s been such a great experience. Everyone has been so helpful. When it comes together, it’s all worth it.”
The WLWSST show in Wonder Lake attracts from 100 to 200 viewers, according to Graff. The show is held at 7 p.m. most Friday nights in the summer at Central Beach, Hancock and Eastwood drives, Wonder Lake. For information, visit www.wonderlakeskiteam.org.