Skiers turn it on

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sports - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Dim­boola con­tin­ues to es­tab­lish it­self as the home of Aus­tralia’s premier bare­foot wa­ter­ski­ing event af­ter two big days of ac­tion on the Wim­mera River.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered on the river­bank at the week­end to watch na­tional cham­pi­ons in ac­tion at the sec­ond Peter Tay­lor Memo­rial Night Jump and Tour­na­ment.

Com­peti­tor bare­foot skiers trav­elled from across Aus­tralia to com­pete and in­ter­na­tional stars took on a night-jump chal­lenge to mu­sic and a cheer­ing crowd on Satur­day night.

Na­tional num­ber-one bare­foot jumper Ben Franks from Ade­laide de­fended the in­au­gu­ral Peter Tay­lor Memo­rial Tro­phy ti­tle he won last year.

Franks launched him­self from the ramp to record a jump of 25.2 me­tres and won from world ju­nior jump cham­pion and NSW teenage sen­sa­tion Tee Jay Russo, 24.6.

Michael Tay­lor, the son of Peter Tay­lor, was third, and Aus­tralian trick star Bren­dan Paige, fourth.

Ac­tion on the river cul­mi­nated with a fire­works dis­play at Dim­boola Recre­ation Re­serve.

Dim­boola Boat and Wa­ter Ski Club ran the event in part­ner­ship with Bare­foot Water­ski Aus­tralia and com­mit­tee mem­bers are now pon­der­ing ways to make the event even big­ger and bet­ter in the fu­ture.

Dim­boola ski club pres­i­dent Dar­ren Bone said the event pro­vided an ex­am­ple that Dim­boola was more than ca­pa­ble of host­ing a ma­jor na­tional event.

“With be­tween 700 and 800 peo­ple turn­ing up on the banks of the Wim­mera River we’ve gone past any spec­ta­tor-view­ing event in­volv­ing this sport in Aus­tralia,” he said.

“We pretty much have the best bare­foot wa­ter­ski­ing event in Aus­tralia at the mo­ment and the hope is we can only get big­ger.”

Mr Bone said one of the op­tions, in meet­ing ex­pec­ta­tions in sta­tus and stan­dards, might be to run the event ev­ery two years in­stead of an­nu­ally.

“There’s a lot of work in­volved and we want to give it the at­ten­tion, build-up and sup­port it de­serves,” he said.

“What we know is that the week­end event went off like a house on fire and the town will be talk­ing about it for a long time.”

Mr Bone said event spon­sors and Dim­boola Row­ing Club and Dim­boola Town Com­mit­tee had been crit­i­cal in the smooth run­ning of the tour­na­ment.

He added the event had enor­mous tourism po­ten­tial and urged the State Gov­ern­ment to get be­hind its devel­op­ment.

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