ABC Awards History

Jennifer Renee Odom Spirit Award (Awarded at Nationals)

Candidates, either male or female, 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.
Jennifer Odom Spirit Award candidates will be nominated by the appointed officials at each of the five Regional Championships and submitted in writing with a skier’s biography to the ABC Awards Chairman. The recipient of the award will be announced and honored at the ABC Awards banquet on Saturday evening. This memorial award is in honor of Jennifer Odom, a former junior girls National Barefoot Competitor, who was abducted in Pasco Country Florida in February of 1993 and later found murdered.
Year Name
1993 Jennifer Harris
1994 PJ Nassar
1995 Rachel George
1996 ??
1997 Derek Koch
1998 Toby George
1999 Matt Wright
2000 Jared Lee
2001 Mark Williamson
2002 Royal Wiseman
2003 Nolan Lough
2004 Andrew Martin
2005 Haley Thomas
2006 Wilson Schkade
2007 Shannon Heller
2008 Allie Jameson
2009 John Pressendo
2010 Taylor True
2011 Kailey Koehler
2012 Lisa Pressendo
2013 Chandler Cargile
2014 Brody Meskers
2015 Alex Youngblood
2016 Stefan Lippelgoos
2017 Brice Storman
2018 Megan Adams & Lexi McCauley
2019 Brett Swanbom
2020 Martin Cyr
Banana George Blair Barefooter of the Year (Awarded at Nationals)
This award is given annually to a person or organization in recognition of accomplishments, contributions, and service to the sport of barefoot-waterskiing both on and or off the water over the past year. The award recipient represents a true ambassador to our sport – someone who has distinguished himself/herself above and beyond all others in serving the sport.
The nominee must be a current ABC member, with preference given to US citizenship.
Nominations should convey specific examples of how the nominee personifies the criteria and spirit of the award such as: How has the nominee contributed time, resources, and abilities to the sport of barefooting consistent with the title “Barefooter of the Year.” (Inception 1992)
Year Name
1992 George Blair
1993 Sam Spano
1994 Oscar Foot Mann
1995 Jennifer Calleri
1996 Keith St. Onge
1997 Dawn Farrell
1998 Brent Benoist
1999 Brian Heeney
2000 John Kretchman
2001 Tad Honsinger
2002 Tim Pellaton
2003 Derek Koch
2004 Rachel George
2005 Mike Salber
2006 Doug Jordan
2007 Joe Lovato
2008 Kevin Towers
2009 Judy Myers
2010 Brad Pegg
2011 Stuart Parsons
2012 Cody Ebbert
2013 Mike Holt
2014 None
2015 World Barefoot Center
2016 Cody Heller
2017 Joe Knapp
2018 Mark Shank
2019 Mikey Caruso
2020 Betsy Gilman

Stew McDonald Long Time Service Award (Awarded at Nationals)

This award is given annually to recognize the person(s) who has contributed to the sport of barefooting for at least ten years. The award recipient is someone who has distinguished himself/herself above and beyond all other individuals in serving the sport. The nominee should be a current ABC member, with preference given to US citizenship. Nominations should convey specific examples of how the nominee personifies the criteria and spirit of the award such as: How has the nominee contributed time, resources, and abilities to the sport of barefooting consistent with the title “Long Time Service Award.” How has the nominee avidly supported ABC tournaments and other programs as a participant, administrator,
official, or fund-raiser? (Inception 1994)
Year Name
1994 Stew MacDonald
1995 Mike Seipel
1996 Sam Spano
1997 Ed Finley
1998 Don Mixon Sr.
1999 Joel Brookshire
2000 Jim Boyette
2001 Joe Knapp
2002 Oscar ‘Foot’ Mann
2003 Doug and Pat Koch
2004 Andrea Eggert
2005 Banana George Blair
2006 Brian Heeney
2007 Jan Cummings
2008 Dale Stevens
2009 Dan Cummings
2010 Jimmy Tauras
2011 Lee Stone
2012 Jerry Kanawyer
2013 Gary “Swampy” Bouchard
2014 Paul Adams
2015 John Boyd
2016 Mike Molepske  &  Betsy Gilman
2017 Jim Forster
2018 Doug Jordan
2019 Blake Ehlers
2020 Rich Kaufman

Award of Distinction (Awarded at Nationals)

This award recognizing outstanding achievement in the sport. On the water or off, these people have given all to barefoot water skiing and are deserving of special recognition.

Year Name
2010 Brian Heeney
2013 Keith St. Onge
2014 Lee Stone
2015 None
2016 Jim Boyette
2017 The Heller Family
2018 None
2019 None

Barefoot Community Champion Award (Awarded at Nationals)

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.

Year Name
2013 Morris Lovelady
2014 None
2015 None
2016 Max Adams
2017 Brent Payne
2018 None
2019 None
2020 Lance Smith
ABC Barb Knight Junior Girls Athletic Grant (Awarded at Nationals)

To honor Barb Knight and the positive influence she had on the sport, loving members of her barefoot family have established a $500 annual grant in her name.

This grant is intended to assist junior girls with costs associated with the sport of barefoot water skiing, such as lessons, equipment, travel costs, tournament registration, etc.

Year Name
2020 Megan Adams
2021 TBD
2022 TBD
2023 TBD
2024 TBD
2025 TBD
2026 TBD
ABC Jim Boyette Award (Awarded at Nationals)

Jim Boyette made it a priority to attend the U.S. Barefoot Nationals. He competed in 41 of the 42 nationals held during his lifetime, an ever-present force of the Greatest Generation.  This award honors Jim’s legacy by recognizing the oldest competitor at the Barefoot Nationals each year.

Year Name
2021 TBD
2022 TBD
2023 TBD
2024 TBD
2025 TBD
2026 TBD
2027 TBD

ABC Athlete of the Year (Awarded in January)

Consider this barefooting’s MVP award. The ABC Athlete of the Year Award is given in recognition of outstanding athletic accomplishments and sportsmanship on the water.  While participation in all parts of barefooting is recognized, the criteria of this award is based upon athletic performance— Barefooters who have distinguished themselves on a national and/or international stage. The recipients can be nominated by anyone and are voted on by the ABC Board of Directors.  The award is given out at the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Annual Awards Banquet in January.

Year ABC Female Athlete of the Year Year Male Athlete of the Year
1999 Lorraine Piskura 1999 Keith St. Onge
2000 Rachel George 2000 Ron Scarpa
2001 Rachel George 2001 Keith St. Onge
2002 Andrea Eggert 2002 William Farrell
2003 Dawn Farrell 2003 Al Morrison
2004 Theresa Hoffman 2004 Keith St. Onge
2005 Rachel George-Normand 2005 Ron Scarpa
2006 Jody Sherwood 2006 Keith St. Onge
2007 Elaine Heller 2007 Kevin Towers
2009 Elaine Heller 2009 Keith St. Onge
2010 Elaine Heller 2010 Adin Daneker
2011 Elaine Heller 2011 Broderick Meskers
2012 Teri Larson-Jones 2012 Johnathan Martines
2013 Lauren St.Onge 2013 Keith St. Onge
2014 Kailey Koehler 2014 Cody Heller
2015 Shannon Heller 2015 Landen Ehlers
2016 Lexi McCauley 2016 Jackson Gerard
2017 Lexi McCauley 2017 Jackson Gerard
2018 Rachel Normand 2018 Keith St. Onge
2019 Lexi McCauley 2019 Jackson Gerard
2020 Megan Adams 2020 Jerry Kanawyer

ABC Volunteer of the Year (Awarded in January) 

Year Name
2016 Paul Adams
2017 Lauren St. Onge
2018 Tina McCauley
2019 Ben Groen
2020 None
2021 TBD
2022 TBD
ABC Coach of the Year / Team of the Year (Awarded in January)
Year Name
2015 Cody Heller
2016 (Team) USA Junior Barefoot Team
2017 Landen Ehlers
2018 Jason Lee / USA Junior Barefoot Team
2019 Jimmy Tauras
2020 None
2021 TBD
ABC Rising Super Star (Awarded in January) 
Year Name
2015 Jackson Gerard
2016 Sammi Eaton
2017 Brett Swanbom
2018 Ryleigh Stenson
2019 Megan Adams
2020 None
2021 TBD

Last Updated ( August 2020 ) – Not all honors are awarded every year!


  1. It is sad to see that very little of the history of the ABC or the awards from 1970’s to approx. 1992 is recognized.


    1. John, Any history that you can provide for us will be published. Unfortunately, this is the only information I was provided. Do you know where we can obtain information from 1970’s-1992?


  2. I have pictures of the official tow boats from the 1978 Nationals. I remember writing skier instructions on the boat for speed changes . Step-off speed, two foot trick speed, one foot speed, Nursing skiers in tight turns backwards before step off. Anyone remember the term. “burn the turn”. “easy over the bumps” (stern roller). Baking in 97 plus degree heat. phew


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.