Traxler Park offers ideal conditions for water skiing
Janesville's Rock Aqua Jays water ski team has been performing on the Rock River for 50 years.
JANESVILLE The show ski gods must have been smiling down on Traxler Park.
The Rock Aqua Jays home stretch along the Rock River is 600 feet long and is perfect for show skiing, a long-time member said. Ideal topography creates ideal water conditions.
Throw in a ski group that continues to improve the site, a supportive city government and strong public backing, and the result is a premiere show-ski location.
“I think we have the best site to put on the best show,” said Gerry Luiting, a 36-year Aqua Jays member.
Maybe that’s why Janesville has hosted the most national tournaments of any show ski team. The National Show Ski Association chooses show ski sites after a bidding process.
And maybe that’s why many of the records have been set at Traxler.
“It’s pretty much glass water,” Luiting said.
Bluffs on the west and the narrows from every direction except the south and the southwest protect the river along Traxler Park, Luiting said. It’s unusual for wind to blow from the south and even it it does, it doesn’t kick up too many waves.
The river is straight along that stretch but not too straight to cause rough water. It’s not large enough to cause waves but is large enough so bigger acts can perform.
Bounce back from the waves is minimal if the water is at its normal level.
In addition, the dam at one end reduces boat traffic, and river users are courteous during shows.
“The public is tremendously cooperative and supportive of us, and not all places have that,” Luiting said.
At some sites, skiers who practiced acts for months must alter them because of weather conditions.
“That gets to be frustrating,” Luiting said.
Not so at Traxler.
“Because the water’s always going to be good, you can come in in a relaxed fashion as a team,” Luiting said. “You can put on the best acts you can put on.
“You get to see some amazing things,” Luiting said.
The Aqua Jays over the years also have funneled profits into the site.
The site boasts a great sound booth, dock and beach and an amazing stage, Luiting said. Judges have a good setup. Bleachers were purchased with the help of a public fundraiser. Ample parking is available. The site is accessible. Shade is available.
The location is big enough so four teams can get ready to perform and relax before their shows. At some other sites, teams must hurry to get ready and are tired before they perform.
Traxler Park itself is a beautiful locale for a show, Luiting said. City parks workers keep it looking immaculate.
“We actually have an aqua stadium that most places don’t have,” Luiting said.