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Joy Kelley is somewhat of an ageless wonder in water skiing.

She’s a three-event skier who breaks records and raises the bar almost every time she gets on the water. Kelley surprised probably everyone except herself in 2016 when, at age 58, she advanced to the head-to-head final of the SportsInsurance.com Queens Cup women’s slalom tournament near Charlotte, N.C.

 The only disappointment was a fluke fall on her 28-off pass in the final against Sweden’s Josefin Hirst of Florida.

 Kelley, of Tennessee, will return for the 2017 Queens Cup at Little Mountain Lake on Sept. 16-17, likely still riding high from the event’s 2016 debut. Her Facebook post after the inaugural event summed up her feelings:

 “Wanted to show much gratitude to the sponsors of the Queens Cup! Since the weekend I have been in awe of the cash and prizes awarded, over $10,000. For a first ever event to reach such heights is a direct reflection of the passion, belief and support for women in water skiing and the daily, behind the scenes, focused efforts of the tournament organizers in securing sponsors who also share the same dedication to our sport! Hopefully, we gave the sponsors a good return on their investment by skiing our best, positively influencing others, sharing their product/service with others, and just being an overall strong woman of integrity and character!”

Hers was a popular opinion shared by many of the entrants after last year’s event. Year 2 is just around the corner with an even larger field to share the wealth. As Kelley posted:  

“From t-shirts to goody bags to prizes of ski lessons, ski bags, skis, gloves, etc., and cash awards, I have never experienced an event like this! Thank you so very much to all the sponsors! May the Queens Cup live on in ways that continue to exceed the expectations of everyone involved!”

For information on the Queens Cup, which draws support from area Nautique dealer Race City Marine, contact tournament director Jeff Gilbert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or look for the tournament at usawaterski.org. It's also on Facebook at Little Mountain Lakes Waterski.