Regular reader Terry Aseltine suggested a column on water-skiing, a sport that never had been covered in Memories of Sport.
Water-skiing in North America can be traced back to Lake Pepin in Minnesota in 1922. According to a history of the sport in our province produced by Water Ski Manitoba, a version of the sport was enjoyed in the Lac du Bonnet area later in the decade.
Water-skiing was mentioned on the society page of the Winnipeg Free Press in 1932. A photo of a water-skier had the cutline: "Introducing Water Skiing; a new aquatic sport; Miss Jane Carruthers, a prominent member of the younger set shown riding behind a fast moving motor boat."
In 1957, water-skiing was described as "Manitoba’s Fastest Growing Sport" in a full-page Free Press story.
While Aseltine is better known as a curler, having played for provincial championship teams at the high school and masters levels, the Wildwood product first skied on the Red River when he was 12 years old. He said he was too young to be an official member of the Wildwood Sea Gulls, which operated as part of the Wildwood Club for a few summers beginning in 1957. The group, which included Aseltine’s sister Joan, also performed at water shows.
Provincial champions Tom Kelly and Terry Mordue were called the "King and Queen of Manitoba water-skiing: in a history of the Wildwood Club. One spring the pair couldn’t wait to get skiing so they ventured onto the Red River when ice floes were still around. They managed to stay out of the water after being launched off the ice and coasting onto the riverbanks due to high water.
The Reid family from Selkirk made a major impact on the sport in Manitoba. Dr. Walter Reid and his son Dr. Ian were founders of the Selkirk Seals club in 1951. Walter was recognized by the Manitoba Sports Federation in 1971 as a builder of sport. Ian was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 as a builder for his work from the local to the international level. His son Bruce was inducted the same year as an athlete. Bruce was captain of the national water ski team for six years during his 12 years as a member. All three served as president of Water Ski Manitoba as did Bruce’s brother, Kim, who later became president of the Canadian Water Ski Association. Sister Patty once held Canadian ladies trick and jump records.
From 1964 to 1969, Vailla Hoggan, who honed her skills on Lake Minnedosa, won six straight Canadian overall championships. In 1968 she took gold in slalom at the North and South America Championships in Columbia. At age 22, she retired from competitive skiing to pursue a career in education that led to the principal’s position at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate. She was inducted into the Sports HOF in 2007.
Curlers seem to enjoy water-skiing as a summer sport. David Nedohin of Charleswood, who won four Canadian men’s curling championships representing Alberta, was also a Canadian champion in barefoot water-skiing. In 1993, he won gold in both the trick and jumping competitions. His brother Sean took silver in trick and bronze in slalom. David finished 13th in trick at the 1995 world championships. He now skis with his family on a lake near Edmonton.
Aseltine mentioned that another Wildwood product, Jeff Stoughton, our province’s most decorated curler, was an excellent recreational slalom skier at Caddy Lake, where he set up his own course.
Betula Lake skier Mike Vidruk competed for Manitoba in both the 1969 and 1973 Canada Summer Games and was a member of the national team. He also was an outstanding hockey player in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League with the St. Boniface Riels.
T. Kent Morgan
Memories of Sport
Memories of Sport appears every second week in the Canstar Community News weeklies. Kent Morgan can be contacted at 204-489-6641 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org