Rock Aqua Jays have produced dozens of professional skiers
Janesville's Rock Aqua Jays water ski team has been performing on the Rock River for 50 years.
JANESVILLE Matt Klay and Heather Addie got paid to do something they love to do—water ski—and along the way met people and had fun.
“I lived in Germany for three months. It was pretty cool to experience a different culture and different part of the world,’’ Klay said.
“It was a really nice break from life getting to ski for a whole season,’’ Addie said.
Klay, 31, Janesville, skied professionally for Water Ski Shows Inc. during the summer of 2008 at an amusement park in Germany.
Addie, 26, also of Janesville, skied for Tommy Bartlett Thrill Shows in Wisconsin Dells in 2006 and for Sea World in Texas in 2007.
Both are members of the Rock Aqua Jays, Janesville’s amateur water ski club, which has produced nearly four-dozen professional skiers since 1975.
Addie said she never would have been able to go pro without the experience and skills learned through the Aqua Jays.
“The team definitely helped me learn what I know and gave me a good background to be able to apply for the professional job,’’ she said.
Klay, too, attributed his professional skiing stint to the Aqua Jays and the Chetek Hydroflites, another Wisconsin water ski show club he skied with for 10 years.
“All the skills I’ve learned over the years skiing amateur prepared me and got me the professional job,” he said.
Both Klay and Addie began skiing for fun before they were teenagers and with their families who were into boating and skiing.
Klay is in his 11th season of skiing with the Aqua Jays. He performs in a number of the club’s acts, including the five-high pyramid, forward and backward barefoot lines, jump, prefab pyramids, double and ending pyramid.
Addie has been with the team for 13 years and is a swivel skier plus performs in doubles and the pyramid.
Both have traveled abroad with Rock Aqua Jays delegations.
Klay has skied twice in China and once in the United Arab Emirates.
“It was very, cool,” Klay said.
Addie skied in China in 2005.
“It was really neat to see a different culture and eat some different foods. We went to the Great Wall of China, too,’’ she said.
Klay said skiing professionally is like skiing with the Aqua Jays but on a much smaller scale.
Addie said skiing professionally is about providing entertainment while skiing amateur is about competing for points and winning.
Klay said his amateur resume is definitely superior to his professional career.
“How many people can say their team has won 15 national championships?” he said.
AQUA JAYS GONE PRO
Rock Aqua Jays who have skied professionally include:
-- Michelle Ackerman, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Heather Addie, Tommy Bartlett and Sea World.
-- John Back, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Dan Benz, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Deb (Brehm) Money, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Shirley (Burhans) Krunegel, Marine World.
-- Jon Debelak, Cypress Gardens.
-- Janie (Dibble) Woods, Cypress Gardens.
-- Jennifer (Dibble) Thomas, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Howard Elliott, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Jill Elliott, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Lisa (Georgeson) Shea, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Heidi Ginzl, Cypress Gardens.
-- Brian Jackson, Cypress Gardens.
-- Marilee (Januska) Tabor, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Matt Klay, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Kent Knutson, Sea World.
-- Dave Kurth, Sea World.
-- Rich LaCount, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Chad Larsen, Sea World.
-- Melanie Lazzaro, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Cathy Luiting, Sea World, Tommy Bartlett, and Stars of Florida.
-- Gerry Luiting, Tommy Bartlett, Starts of Florida, and Stars on Water.
-- Randy Lyon, Cypress Gardens.
-- Stephanie (Mahun) Albright, Sea World.
-- Tammy (McCaslin) Krebs, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Duane Miller, Marine World.
-- Nikki Noonan, Cypress Gardens.
-- Greg Overboe, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Peter Pawinski, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Dave Pecor, Water Ski Shows Inc.
-- Dave Rezin, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Brady Rousch, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Ben Shelby, Marine World.
-- Pete Slatter, Sea World.
-- Suzanne (Steinke) Hamilton, Sea World.
-- Tamie (Steinke) Shoener, Sea World.
-- Lisa Stibbe, Cypress Gardens.
-- Doug Traxel, Marine World.
-- Jimmy Watson, Tommy Bartlett.
-- Jana Weitzel, Sea World.
-- John "J.R." Wilson, Tommy Bartlett.