This past Saturday kicked off the 4th season of the OWSA Buckeye Buoy Tour. Stop #1 featured a team format never seen in the world of waterskiing called "Run The Gamut". John Gorski of Bowling Green, OH played host to Stop #1 holding the first ever waterski tournament on his home lake that was built in 2006. Gorski, the 2011 BBT slalom champion, ran a great event and showed skiers from around the state that his site is truely one of the nicest and best skiing sites in the state! Prior to the start of the event, teams were introduced, colored bandanas were distributed, and team names were decided upon. 7 teams of 5 skiers each were assembled based on average buoy count, each team having a shortline skier as their #1 seed down through a beginner skier as their #5 seed. Rounds one and two were then divided into 5 groups each with 7 skiers per group. The 7 skiers in a group competed against each other to earn points towards their team. The team with the most points after round 2 would earn the top seed in the finals.
After two rounds of skiing, the Yellow Jackets took down the #1 seed in the finals scoring 480 total team points, the Pink Panthers were the #2 seed with 400 points, and the Red Rage rounded out the top 3 seeds with 350 points. For the finals, each team was required to run 8 passes in order: 28 mph, 30 mph, 32 mph, 34 mph, 36 mph, 22 off, 28 off, and 32 off. The team who could run all 8 passes in the shortest amount of time would be crowned the Champions. 28 through 36 mph could be run at any rope length and 22 off through 32 off could be run at any speed. Keep in mind that some teams did not have 36 mph skiers and many teams had shortline skiers who were not used to skiing slower than 34 mph and each skier on the team had to run at least one of the eight passes.
The Blue Ballers secured the #7 spot and therefore they went off the dock first in the finals. After a couple of costly falls, they set the bar for the finals at 12 minutes 05 seconds (12:05), and showed the remaining teams that falling in the course would prove to be very costly on the stopwatch! The Orange Buoy Heads went next off the dock spinning on both ends when possible, missing only one pass and lowering the bar drastically to 9 min 12 sec. At this point it was clear that if you wanted to win the competition you would need to run all 8 passes without missing. The Green NSW's (Nate Smith Wannabe's) took the lake next running 9:41 followed by the Grey Waters who also managed to only miss one pass however it was at a faster speed than the Buoy Heads and they took the lead with a time of 8:45 becoming the first team to break the 9 minute barrier. The Red Rage came off the dock next anchored by father/daughter duo Ali and Brian Mollet of Canal Fulton, OH. Ali ran the first 4 speed passes 28 through 34 mph with just a brief drop in the hole between the 30 and 32 mph pass, M3 skier Eric Kolb knocked down the 36 mph pass for his team and Brian finished it off with a 32 off pass at 30 mph to ensure that he didn't miss. The Red Rage became the first team to run ALL 8 passes without missing and the first to break the 8 minute barrier with an impressive time of 7:57! The #2 seeded Pink Panthers knew they had their work cut out for them but a couple early misses quickly knocked them out of the running and left them with a time of 11:12. That left the Yellow Jackets as the only team standing who could steal the title away from the Red Rage. The Yellow Jackets would field their top 4 seeds for the finals of which the top 3 were girls. This led to the question who would be running the 36 mph pass??? Connor Nelson of Cincinnati, OH left the dock first running 28 and 30 mph, Kristen Dammeyer of St Marys, OH knocked down 32 and 34 mph, proving that 36 isn't just for the boys, W1 skier Kayla McClure of Van Wert, OH took down 36 mph off the dock and ran a 22 off pass on her way back down the lake. That left her sister and team anchor Keri McClure waiting on the dock. Keri easily stroked 28 off 34 mph down AND 32 off 34 mph coming back becoming the 2nd team of the day to run ALL 8 passes without missing. When the spray cleared as Keri made her final cut through the exit gates it was official, the Yellow Jackets had edged out the Red Rage by 13 seconds with a time of 7 minutes 44 seconds and became the first ever Run The Gamut Champions.
The winning team was awarded with plaques and Gold Fin Firkins and first time tournament competitors were acknowledged as well. Everyone seemed to have a great time with the new team format and it was a great kickoff to the 2012 season. Stop #2, the "Dottie T Spin It to Win It" will be held at Skier's Runway in Cincinnati, OH on July 7th. Get registered now at www.skiowsa.com !