2020 ABC Special Awards Handed out in virtual ceremonies around the country

2020 is a crazy year and although we did not have the world championships or a barefoot nationals, we still wanted to honor the barefooters who made it happen in 2020 on a regional level!

These special awards are usually given out at the Nationals Banquet, but this year, we are holding ceremonies across the country. Martin Cyr was given his award by Paul Adams in Minnesota. Rich Kaufman was honored in Pennsylvania by new ABC President Tina McCauley after the Nuclear Showdown and Lance Smith will receive his award at the Banana George Blairfoot Bananza in Winter Haven on October 24th.

Here are our 2020 Special Award Winners and their nominations. We also added the award description so you know what makes these incredible barefooters so awesome!

2020 Jennifer Renee Odom Spirit Award Martin Cyr

Candidates must be junior barefoot Skiers (16 years and under) who display a spirit of helpfulness, a positive attitude, enthusiasm, the ability to get along well with other skiers and officials, good sportsmanship, and a willingness to share positive experiences with peers. Candidates do not necessarily have to be champion skiers.

Martin Cyr receives the JRO Spirit Award with his fans and training partners: Megan Adams and Orval Cyr

Martin Cyr loves to barefoot but mostly this kid loves to help others. And help at tournaments.   Martin is always encouraging other skiers on the dock and in the boat.  He is always pitching in to video, dock start, or simply help clean up the site. He is happiest when his twin brother Orval does well at tournaments and when his friends do well. 

He has worked so hard to get better at his skiing and qualified for the 2020 Junior World Championships in Tricks, Slalom and Jump… earning him a spot on the USA Junior Development Team.  Martin is an old soul who is always looking out for others… trying to make tournaments the best they can be.  The future of barefooting looks bright with Martin in the mix!

2020 Stew McDonald Service Award Rich Kaufman

This award is given annually to recognize the person(s) who has contributed to the sport of barefooting for at least 10 years. The award recipient is someone who has distinguished themselves above and beyond in serving the sport.

ABC President Tina McCauley and Rich Kaufman with Stew McDonald Award

Rich Kaufman has helped the sport grow for much more than just 10 years.  Rich has assisted with numerous tournaments. He is an official Driver, Homologator, Judge, Safety, and Scorer which makes him the go to person for helping make tournaments happen in our region.  Rich has served on the ABC Board, and now is currently the Pan Am representative.

Rich has exposed thousands of people to the sport of Barefoot Waterskiing over the years.  He has taught numerous people to get up on their feet for the first time and convinced many of them to compete.  Rich has coached many higher level skiers as well.  His boat is always available for our tournaments without any hesitation or payment.  He is always willing to share his knowledge to others, and is always looking out for the best interest of our beloved sport. Thank you Rich, for all you have done!

2020 Barefoot Community Champion Lance Smith

Not every barefoot champion is a household name like Scarpa or St.Onge.  This award recognizes the people who are building the sport at the grassroots… one barefooter at a time.

2020 ABC Barefoot Community Award Winner: Lance Smith

Lance Smith is an avid barefoot water skier and truly one of the top ambassadors of the sport today. Starting out as a recreational footer, has become a strong figure 8 footer, and has even shown interest in three-event tournaments, but yet to compete with everything going on this year.

In 2019, Lance sponsored both the US nationals, as well as the junior team on their journey to Australia, before the shutdown. This year in 2020, he sponsored a five-day clinic with Ben Groen in his area, with the main focus being on young kids that needed to learn how to foot correctly, and didn’t ask for anything I return.

Any excuse he can, Lance will try to bring barefoot water skiing into the media, the most recent example being – using his plumbing company as a platform to feature barefooting in mainstream advertising. His mind frame, creativity, and passion for the sports, runs extremely in line with that of Banana George Blair himself, and I can only see Lance continuing his journey to support and build this sport for many years to come. 

For ALL of the Award Winners Click HERE

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