Barefooters rule at the USA Waterski Awards Banquet

koehlerThe American Barefoot Club turned in a dominate performance at the USA Waterski Annual Awards banquet in January.

Barefooting’s own two-sport superstar Kailey Koehler brought home ABC Female Athlete of the Year honors.  Kailey played a large part of the U.S. Elite Team’s success at the 2014 Barefoot World Championships in Mulwala, Australia. Then, just five months later Kailey was an integral part of the U.S. Show Ski Team’s dominating performance at the Show Ski World Championships in Janesville, Wisconsin. Kailey competed in barefoot, swivel and ballet and was named the Show Ski World Championships “Outstanding Female Performer.”

Cody Heller was named ABC Male Athlete of the Year.  He is considered one of our sport’s leaders off the water,  pushing for change and new ideas.  On the water, Cody is a crazy big barefoot jumper who has a cult following in the upper Midwest.  Dressed in his trademark black and white cow wetsuit, Cody thinks the sky is the limit for our sport and his own amazing barefoot jumping.

USA Waterski also hands out five other annual awards with nominees from all of the towed watersport disciplines including: Volunteer Coach of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Innovator of the Year and the “That’s Incredible” Award.  Barefooters won two of the five awards!

Volunteer Coach of Year honors went to Lee Stone.  Lee has been the glue for the U.S. Team for many years. He served as a coach or manager at the 2004, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Championships. His charm and humor provide comfort and motivation to team members both young and old. “He has an extraordinary quality about him that allows him to say the right thing at the right time to athletes. The U.S. would have not achieved what they have in the past without him,” says Scott Jones, Chairman of U.S. Team Select.

And finally, barefooting’s “Old Lady” Judy Myers brought home USA Waterski’s competitive “That’s Incredible” Award. Judy picked up barefooting on a dare when she was 53 and hasn’t looked back.  She’s competed and won her age division in several national championships and even competed in a world championships in 2010, when she was 67.  Barefoot water skiing is a sport dominated by men, but Judy is focused on encouraging women of all ages to try it. Each year she organizes a “Womens Week” at the World Barefoot Training Center in Winter Haven, Florida and women come from all over the world to ski and be with Judy.  Check out her segment on HLN TV this year:

Great work barefooters!!!!

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