By Shannon Klahn | Tournament Date: July 10, 2021 | Location: Two Rivers, WI
After a long year of COVID-19 restrictions, we are excited to report that the coolest barefoot waterski tournament on earth is back! Held at the Boatshrine in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, participants can experience the unique chill of the waters feeding into Lake Michigan while enjoying the serenity of Mike and Amy Molepske’s beautiful ski site. Unlike any other barefoot tournament, Cooler by the Lake feels more like a family picnic, where skiing takes place in the morning, the tournament is stopped for a group lunch, and everyone gets an optional bonus round in the afternoon.
The skiing at the 2021 Cooler by the Lake tournament was excellent, but the camaraderie was even better! In attendance this year was the honorable, hard-working Adams family, including Junior Girls World Champion Megan Adams. Father and daughter duo Megan and Paul skied a great tournament and were supported by Max and Trudy. Also in attendance was Open Pro skier Brody Meskers and his family, including champion baby-holder and toddler-tamer Tracey Meskers. What tournament would be complete without Joe Knapp, the only living individual to have attended every single national championships? While Joe has years of experience skiing and officiating tournaments, he encountered an entirely new phenomenon at this year’s tournament – wiping down the underside of Mike Molepske’s boat on a creeper.
We were also graced by the presence of Men’s A skier Eric Friedle, expert drivers Scott (“Scooter”) Stouffer and Mike (“Shankster”) Schoenke, pilot extraordinaire Thor Thordarson, and Executive Director of the Midwest Region Sean Qualey. Chuck Bender ensured the safety of the group, serving as Safety Director. Derek and Shannon (Heller) Klahn served as dock starters and brought sons Bryson (2) and Kayden (4 months), who got to experience Cooler by the Lake for the first time. Special shout out to Amy Molepske for decking the kids out in a tournament-themed onsie and t-shirt! Last, but not least, the tournament would not have been possible without the hard work and continued passion of the Molepske family – Mike, Amy, Mary, and Sarah.
While the forecast was looking ominous in the days leading up to the event, Mother Nature graced us with good fortune. The skies were clear and blue, the sun was shining, and the winds remained calm most of the day. A truly wonderful time was had by all.
The generosity of the Molepske family was once again on full display. In addition to donating the food, beverages, and fuel for the event, they also donated $500 to the American Barefoot Club. On behalf of all the skiers and participants, we cannot thank the Molepske’s enough for another great tournament!