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Ohio's only competitive water ski show team

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A member of the 2017 Chippewa Lake Water Ski Show Team performed July 4. ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE

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CHIPPEWA LAKE — Ohio’s only competitive water ski show team may have come up dry at regionals, but it is hoping new members will pull the team back to nationals.

The team did place second June 17 at the City of Lakes Tournament in Warsaw, Ind.

Nationals or not, Chippewa Lake Water Ski Show Team and its 35 skiers ages 6 to 65from across Northeast Ohio continues to entertain crowds this summer.

The team’s traveling “pro shows” include traditional competitive events but that also feature more extreme routines such as jumps and “barefooting.” The next one will be Aug. 5 in Marion, W.Va.

For something closer to home, the team also offers weekly Wednesday night performances through August at Emerald Lake, 3196 Clark Mill Road, in Norton in Summit County.

In addition to two home performances on Independence Day and Labor Day, the team offers an annual “Learn to Ski” community event, in part to attract potential candidates.

The fundraiser dinner and show will be Aug. 9 at Emerald Lake. A steak dinner 5-6:30 p.m. will be followed by an hourlong, ’80s-themed performance.

More details are at ChippewaSkiTeam.com or on its Facebook page.

‘A building year’

Team president Paula Midlik told The Gazette this week she was still thinking about the show team’s sixth-place finish July 8 in the Central Regional Show Ski Championship in Loves Park, Ill.

She noted that the team typically places third or fourth in the regional championship and last

year went on to win 11th place in the Show Ski National Championship.

“I don’t know if a team who’s placed sixth has ever advanced to nationals. Fourth or fifth place, maybe. But sixth? I’m not sure,” said Midlik. “It may be the first year our team doesn’t go (to nationals) in some time.”

Typically only the top two or three teams from regionals are eligible to compete at the national level, Midlik said.

“It’s a building year for us,” she added. “Not only are we doing a lot of developing, but also we’ve lost several team members who were college grads or who have moved on.”

Despite enjoying national recognition, Midlik said there can be difficulties in recruiting members.

“I sat in on a meeting at regionals and a lot of smaller teams in the area are having trouble,” Midlik said.

The team members are from Chippewa Lake, Seville, Lodi, Brunswick, Medina, Canton, Cleveland, Akron, Spencer, Cuyahoga Falls, Wadsworth, Malvern, Norton and Canfield.

Midlik said 35 is a comparatively number small for teams that compete on the regional and national level.

According to ChippewaSkiTeam.com, the team is open to all ages and prospective members do not need water skiing experience. For information, contact Teri Bailey at terifetherolf@frontier.com or (330) 697-5098.

Messages for Lucas Fortney may be left at (330) 721-4065.

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