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A Note from Regionals Chief Judge, Robert Howerton

To the SCR Championships participants,

I have been involved in waterskiing for more than 40 years and have had the pleasure of being a part of the Championship events every year since 1973. MasterCraft’s sponsorship, support and involvement this year confirmed the sport is moving in the direction of growth with more first time tournament skiers and even more first time qualifiers for the Nationals than expected. Everyone knows this year presented a huge number of challenges and unknowns for people around the world with COVID, lockdowns, social distancing concerns and just so many unknowns. As I reflect on the weekend surrounded by these challenges, I remember why I got involved and stay involved in this wonderful sport. It is the friendships, no matter how distant, the joys of success, the support after failures, the excitement of facing challenges and the laughter we all find among struggles that pulls us together. There are not enough words to express the appreciation for the work, support and attitudes of everyone I came in contact with this weekend. Donny Covington is an "always there" guy that made sure nothing was amiss throughout the weekend as tournament director. It was wonderful how the community at SMRR opened their homes to guests, manned their kitchens to provide food, erected tents, moved chairs, signs and banners, dumped trash, and mingled through the crowds cheering the kids and friends through some amazing performances and even some disappointing heartbreaks. There are a number of neighbors that don’t tournament ski and yet stepped up to help with operating video, running trick video cards, dock starting and handling safety support and expanding the circle of friendships that shouldn’t be overlooked. I want to especially thank Jackie Wayman for the wonderful menus and easy access to goodies all weekend. Doug Scheid is another SMRR behind the scenes guy that you never realize he has been around until you reach in a cooler and realize it is stocked with the needed drinks for the officials and workers and has been filled and waiting since the wee hours of the morning.

A monumental thank you to Terry Dlugosh that, along with Jeff Lindsey, were the behind the scenes technology gurus that put in amazing numbers of hours before the first skier stepped foot on the site and continued to be the source of solutions and answers to every challenge directed their way even after the tournament was over.

This was a unique year to have fewer appointed drivers than in years past, but Jerry Bautsch kept all the drivers focused on doing a magnificent job of meeting time expectations, being in place and working with everyone that stepped into a boat with the same enthusiasm we all appreciate and love about the SCR. Added to their endeavor was the introduction of testing new technology that is reported to be a hit. That is a wonderful testament to adapting to circumstances.

We need to recognize our foreigners, Taryn Grant and Harry Spavin for filling so many voids and gaps in the judging efforts and please know that when I call them foreigners, it is with love as they both have been adopted into the SMRR and SCR circle of friends as mentors, coaches and special people in our hearts. There needs to be a special thanks to Kathleen Woodhead (LeBourgeois) for keeping people moving in the right direction as assignments coordinator, although I am concerned that Waylon may have been a critical factor in your selection, you did beyond a magnificent job.

Thank you Susan Leach, you kept the team of scorers focused and results posted in amazing and a timely manner. We must share our appreciation for Todd Leach and his announcing volunteers that kept everyone informed and inspired with the activities and events during 3 long challenging days.

This year the crew of appointed judges stepped up with a smile and made my job easy. The assistant chief judges, Bruce Butterfield and Jane Greenwood were diligent at keeping things organized and never batted an eye or stopped sharing smiles and laughter with volunteers, skiers and even me. Thanks to Bill Sebesta for laughing with his bald friend when the challenges got tough and jumping at every opportunity to help. Kelly Stumph has been on this side of the arena before and knew how to share wisdom and insight throughout the weekend. We can’t forget Danielle Dlugosh and Julie Krueger that were amazing at keeping trick judges on track and focused on the task at hand, as well as being available at the beckoned call for every other event when needed.

I must add that it was an honor to present the outstanding official award to Jane Greenwood this year. It seems like not that long ago that she was a Girls trick skier introducing herself to me in Duquoin, IL. Now she and her family are forever great friends and an inspiration to so many of us old and young.

I want to especially thank my wife, Kathy, for supporting my hours of distractions from family and home with water skiing. She continues to be an amazing partner, friend and love in my life. Thank you for all you do for me, our home and for everyone who comes into our lives. You are God’s blessing to me and I thank you for being an important part of my life.

Again, thank you to the SCR for the joy and fun we experience through water skiing. Please continue sharing this energy and helping newcomers find our circle of laughter and friendship.

Robert Howerton

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