A Tradition of “Fun and Footin” at the 32nd Annual Austin Dam-to-Dam Race

By Sammi Eaton

A 37 degree morning, expected 10 mile-an-hour winds and more than 30 barefoot water skiers ready to to compete in one of the most excruciating endurance races in the world.

Crazy? Nah… it’s just a November Saturday in Austin and everyone has come out to play!

Heading down to the starting line, fog rose off the water so thick, that it was difficult to even see to the other side of the lake.  Teams from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin stood poised to take on the water and each in other in an epic, decades-old showdown!

IMG_7636The boats, loaded with enthusiastic barefooters, all eager to take home first place, took their places at the starting line at the Tom Miller Dam.  The team that could ski the fastest from one end of Lake Austin to the other, a distance of 20 miles, would have ultimate title of the 32nd Annual Dam-to-Dam Champions.

Drivers rose their hats and ski lines tightened as the starting horn blew loudly. Boats began to hurdle down the lake at their maximum speeds.  These adrenaline-pumped barefooters pushed their limits as they skied through choppy water and boat rollers.


Twenty miles down the waters of Lake Austin at 50 miles per hour, the teams raced to the finish line at the base of Mansfield Dam.  There, footers slapped hands, shared stories, and fought back chill and sore muscles with beer, fireball and barbeque.


  1. Top Gun  29 min 15 sec  (Heath Cooper, Wayne Carrells, Brent Keadle, Brent Schroeder, Matt Michalski)
  2. Team Arizona 31 min 8 sec  (John Hill, David Hill, Jake Wilson, Bob Matock, Ali Gates)
  3. James Gang 37 min 47 sec  (Jimmy Tauras, Paul Stokes, Royal Wiseman, Doug Peterson, Joel Force)
  4. Screamin Seaman 39 min 26 sec  (Ryan Moore, Brian Gardner, Wayne King, Joe Smith)
  5. Aggies & Saggies 43 min 26 sec (Blake Ehlers, Jim Rollins, VonL Adams, Austin Kolodejcak)
  6. Team Not Very Good  57 min 20 sec  (Sammi Eaton, Mark Shank, Blake Carlisle, Jim Ianucci, Pat Hamill, Adam Page) 
  7. Indiana Wolfpack DNF  (Mark Boice, Mark Dougherty, Nick Dillon, Matt Masariu, Adam Page)
Ali Gates and Sammi Eaton

Paul Stokes went the furthest distance at the start and won the Last Man Standing.

Sammi Eaton won the Last Chick Standing.

We can’t wait for next year and number 33!

Massive thanks go out to Brent Keadle, Blake Ehlers and Jimmy Tauras making it happen it every year!


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