Make us your home page

Oldsmar water ski show brings beach fun


With the start of school just days away, we have a last-minute item to add to your summer bucket list.

Take the kiddos Saturday to Oldsmar's Tower Lake, where the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team will have Fun, Fun, Fun till their daddy takes their water skis away.

This week, they're throwing a beach-party-themed show packed with daredevil tricks, synchronized ballet lines, elegant ensembles, comedy routines, and the true crowd pleaser — the four-tier pyramid.

Emcee Steve Sacone will be decked out in his Beach Boys best while sound master Vickie Wilmouth will spin beach party tunes during the show that lasts about an hour.

The performances are free (donations accepted) and run Saturdays at 6 p.m. through Oct. 22. Newly minted skiers — those not quite ready for prime time — perform at a 5:30 p.m. pre-show.

Each week brings a new theme. Mark your calendars for the Beatles tribute show slated for Aug. 27, the Patriot Day tribute show on Sept. 10, and two add-on holiday shows featuring Elf on Nov. 26.

Lauren Henry, 26, began skiing when she was 4 and became a professional skier at Cypress Gardens in her late teens.

She now works as a registered nurse at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, but makes a trip from her Hawthorne home every other weekend to ski with the Oldsmar-based team.

"I love it," she said. "We spend so much time together at practices, shows and during the holidays, it's like one big family. My sister and boyfriend ski on the team; we have multiple couples who have met on the team, got married, had kids and now those kids ski, too."

About half of the approximate 100 members perform in the shows. Others find support positions as boat drivers, costume designers, cooks, photographers, script writers and such. Team members include doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, military, mechanics, hair dressers and dog trainers.

One member, Mike Atherton, a triple amputee from a 2009 boating accident, is still skiing using specialized equipment.

Though this is an amateur ski team, many of the members have skied or currently ski professionally at places like SeaWorld, Legoland, the Wisconsin Dells waterpark and Holiday Park in Germany.

The group is organized as a nonprofit, but paid performances help offset expenses. They'll perform wherever there is a body of water — at festivals and weddings, political rallies and company picnics.

They also ski in competitions and shows around the nation as well as places like China, England, Ireland and Spain. They have won the Southern Regional Show Ski Tournament Championships 13 times in the past 14 years.

Three members — Nick Lyman, Karli Pickney and Joe Sawaska — are on the U.S.A. Water Ski Show Team, which will be representing the United States in the World Water Ski Show Tournament held in Wisconsin in September.

Originally known as the Tampa Bay Ski Bees, the team was formed in the 1950s. After a couple of name changes, they became the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team in 1991.

Through the decades, a loyal fan base has always showed up each week to cheer and applaud for the skiers. They come out each Saturday night, sit in the bleachers or stretch out on blankets and let the good times roll.

"The first time you come you're a newbie," Henry said. "When you come back, you are officially one of our groupies."


Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team

When: Saturdays at 6 p.m. through Oct. 22 plus special holiday shows on Nov. 26 at 1 and 4 p.m.

Where: Tower Lake in Oldsmar, at 130 Burbank Road (near the Oldsmar Flea Market). From Tampa Road take Racetrack Road north to Douglas Road and turn left. The ski site entrance is at the second dirt drive on the left.

Admission: Free (donations accepted)

Info: or (813) 917-8354

Oldsmar water ski show brings beach fun 08/03/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 5:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Plan your weekend Aug. 18-20: Elvis in concert, Jason Aldean, Monster Jam Triple Threat, Sing-Along Grease


    Plan your weekend

    The king

    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. Graceland calls it the closest audiences …

    Handout photos of Elvis: Live in Concert, a tour spectacle featuring a live orchestra backing the voice of Elvis Presley, projected onto a movie screen. The tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on 8/18/17. Credit: Graceland.
  2. Taco and Beer Fiesta set for St. Pete, followed by the Ooze and Booze Fest

    Food & Dining

    The Gulf to Bay Food Truck association recently announced a trio of events for mobile comfort food lovers.

    These kimchi topped tacos will be served by Anju Korean Gastrotruck. [Gulf to Bay Food Truck Association]
  3. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson can't keep 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' on-target


    The Hitman's Bodyguard is an assault tank on semi-automatic pilot, spraying jokes and bullets with only the ammo consistently hitting its targets. The irresistible teaming of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson might be even funnier if they missed once in a while.

    Samuel L. Jackson plays a master assassin testifying against a dictator, and Ryan Reynolds plays a bodyguard tasked with keeping him alive.
  4. 8 things to do in Tampa Bay on Aug. 17


    Clearwater Threshers: vs. St. Lucie Mets: For "Taps and Tacos" night, 16 local craft beers on tap near the Tijuana Flats kiosk, located on the concourse along the third-base line. 7 p.m., Spectrum Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. $6-$10. (727) 467-4457.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow during the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Monday, August 14, 2017, in Clearwater, Fla. Monday night was Tim Tebow's 30th Birthday Party celebration.
  5. What's new in theaters: 'The Hitman's Bodyguard,' 'Logan Lucky,' 'Wind River'




    Loving the trailer for The Hitman's Bodyguard (R) poking fun at quotes from reviewers prone to phrases like "It's a roller coaster ride!" for better chances to see their names in TV ads.

    Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman’s Bodyguard.