Kentucky Waterski Federation is an organization of water skiers and their families, dedicated to the growth and development of the 3-Event Discipline of water skiing in the state of Kentucky.
KWSF Minutes - 11/11/17
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KWSF Minutes - 07/09/16
KWSF Minutes - 11/07/15
KWSF By-Laws

2018 Kentucky State Championships
There were a number of great story lines for the 2018 Kentucky State Championships. Notably, five state records were broken.  Austin Collins established a new Overall mark in Boys 3 with a score of 2,733 points.  Leon Leonard set a new state record in Men 8 Slalom with 87 ½ buoys, only minutes after Dave Keller had broken the old record in Men 8 with 79 ½ buoys.  Dave Keller smashed the old Men 8 Trick record with 2,310 points.  And Errol Bryant set new state marks in both Men 9 Slalom (73 buoys) and Overall (1,111 points).
But perhaps the best story lines of this tournament were the intense competitions in Men 1 Slalom and Men 6 Slalom and Overall.  Those two segments of competition provided some of the best match-ups in recent history.  When the dust had settled, the “new kid on the block” had taken the top spot in   Men 1 Slalom, and a seasoned 3-event skier ruled the roost in Men 6.
Ben Brannen, a Kentucky Lake Ski Nut skiing as a Kentucky skier for the first time, cleaned the 35 off pass on Sunday morning, and add a half buoy at 38 off, to win Men 1 Slalom.  He topped a total field of six slalom skiers in the event, with three others (Garnett Fowler, Ryan Harris, and Josh Kelley) skiing into 35 off.
Carl Marquess, another member of the Ski Nuts, topped the list of five Men 6 competitors in Slalom (87 buoys), Tricks (2,710 points) and Overall, nudging out Pat Coomes in Overall and beating Dale Coffey in a tie breaker in Slalom.  A total of one-half buoy separated the top three in Men 6 Slalom, with Dale Coffey (87 buoys) and Gary Gambrell (86 ½ buoys) taking the next two spots.
Other tournament highlights included:
  • Wyatt and Troy Fowler matched up in Boys 2, with Wyatt taking 2 of 3 events and Overall.  Wyatt won Slalom (64 ½ buoys) and Jump (44 feet), with Troy taking Tricks (700 points)
  • Austin Collins of the Ski Nuts won Boys 3 Jump (136 feet), Tricks (2,600 points), and Overall (2,733 points), but Lake Jones claimed a Slalom victory for the second straight year with 3 @ 35 off.
  • Saylor Davidson made a clean sweep of all Girls 3 events and Overall.
  • Josh Kelley scored a win in Men 1 Jump with a leap of 146 feet, followed by Ryan Harris (132 feet) and Garnett Fowler (109 feet).
  • Jackson Hawes had his first ever state championship win, in Men 1 Tricks with a score of 2,110 points.
  • Greg Collins of Murray (father of Austin Collins) scored his first ever state championships victory, in Men 3 Jump (36 feet).
  • Corey Hawes, skiing in the Men 4 division, scored a victory in Jumping by sailing 106 feet.
  • Eric Kelley (4 ½ @ 38 off) beat out Kyle Jones in Men 4 Slalom by 2 buoys, with Tim McKune finishing third.
  • Pat Coomes soared 82 feet in Men 6 Jump for a win in his best event.
  • Gar Gambrel (2,220 points) finished second to Carl Marquess in Men 6 Tricks.
  • Joe Burkhead returned to the water for a clean sweep of all three events in the Men 7 division.
  • The state slalom record in Men 8 was actually broken three times over the course of the weekend.  First, Dave Keller set a new record on Saturday at 79 ½ buoys.  Minutes later, Leon Leonard broke that record at 82 ½ buoys.  Then Leon upped the record further on Sunday by rounding 87 ½ buoys.
  • Pam Guthrie, one of only two female skiers in the tournament, won Women 6 Slalom with a score of 75 buoys.
What a great state championships!  The numbers were pretty much stable from last year, but the quality of performances was top notch!  Congratulations to the Kentucky Lake Ski Nuts for hosting a superb event, and thanks to all of our officials and other volunteers who made this competition possible.


OK, Kentucky skiers, you’d better be ready to hit the ground running starting this weekend.  Kentucky has a July calendar chock full of tournaments, with four tournaments over the next three weeks and weekends, plus a juniors clinic.

  • Coming up this weekend (July 14 & 15), the Kentucky Lake Ski Nuts will be hosting the Kentucky State Championships at Twin Oaks Lakes in Paducah.  All you state skiers – this is a great opportunity to win a championship without leaving your home state!  We’ll be having one round of all three events on Saturday, followed by a second round on Sunday identical to the first day.  Our state banquet will be held Saturday evening at the ski lake, followed by the summer meeting of KWSF, and presentation of state superlatives awards.
  • The state championships will be preceded by our annual one-day juniors clinic on Friday.  This has been a tradition for decades.  It’s free to all state junior skiers, so you juniors plan on getting here early for the state competition and get some excellent instruction from top instructors!
  • The following weekend (July 21st), Eric Kelley will be hosting the 2nd Annual Patriot Lake 3-Event, a 2-round record capability competition.  It’s a great ski site, and last year’s tournament stamped Patriot Lake as a premiere ski site in Kentucky.
  • The Southern Regionals Championships will be hosted by the Kentucky Lake Ski Nuts at Twin Oaks Lakes July 26 – 28 (Thursday thru Saturday).  This will be the first 3-day regionals in a long, long time, but we have a schedule that we think will make for a smoothly run tournament, finishing no later than 4 to 5 PM each day (assuming cooperative weather).  Lots of other activities associated with the Regionals, so come and ski, or come and just join in the fun!
  • On the Sunday (July 29th) following Regionals, the Ski Nuts will host a 3-round record capability slalom event – the Carly Marquess Memorial.  If you’re already here skiing at the Regionals, it will be convenient to stay one extra day and have three shots at a top slalom performance in a record capability tournament.

That should be enough to keep us all busy for the rest of this month.  There will be more to come as we get into August and September.

Good skiing –

Joe Burkhead
President, KWSF

Correction to State Tournament Information Published in Regional Guide

All Kentucky Skiers:

Please be aware that there is a mistake in the Regional Guide information on the Kentucky State Championships.  EACH EVENT/DIVISION WILL BE TWO ROUNDS ONLY.  First round will be run on Saturday, second round on Sunday.

Those of you who have paid for more than two rounds of any event, you will be fully reimbursed for any overpayment.

2018 Patriot Lake Open

The 2018 Patriot Lake Open has been changed from “slalom only” to a 3-event competition, per notification from Eric Kelley earlier this week.  The tournament will once again be sanctioned Class C&L.  Tournament will be held July 21st on the site near Bowling Green (KY).

Patriot Lake proved to be an excellent skiing venue in 2017, with several season PB’s and all-time PB’s by skiers.  The protected cove used for the competition offers excellent slalom and jump conditions, and top-end performances by skiers can once again be expected.

2017 Kentucky Lake Open
June 16-17, 2018

With a terrific weekend of near-perfect water conditions at Twin Oaks Lakes in Paducah, KY, some outstanding skiing performances were recorded at the 44th Kentucky Lake Open.  This KLO was run as a Class “C & L,” with several skiers skiing in the record capability category.  A total of 24 skiers competed.

At the risk of omitting one or two noteworthy performances, some of the more outstanding scores were:
  • Leon Leonard set a new state record in Men 8 Slalom, scoring 3 buoys at 35 off (32 mph) to break his own record set a few weeks earlier.
  • Garnett Fowler jumped into the Century Club after a few years of knocking on that door, scoring a leap of 103 feet.  He also skied into 35 off in slalom.
  • Troy and Robert Fowler both had PB’s in slalom and jump.
  •  Austin Collins scored at Level 8 in Boys 3 Overall with strong performances in all three events.
  • Eric Kelley skied into 38 off in two of three rounds of slalom, with a best of 2 ½ at 38 off.
  • Pat Coomes had strong performances in all three events in the first round, scoring a PB on Overall with 1,125 points.
  • Errol Bryant had strong Level 8 performances in both slalom and tricks, with a top slalom performance of 4 @ 28 off (30mph).
  • Tennessee’s Allie Nicholson had the strongest slalom performance of the tournament, scoring an even 100 buoys with a run of 4 @ 38 off (34 mph) in her final round.

The KLO was preceded by the annual 3-day Advanced Juniors Clinic, held for the 12th consecutive year and hosted by the Ski Nuts. 

Stillwater Lake Ski Club held its 18th annual "Summer's Here 3-Round Slalom" on June 9th.  The entry list was small, only 9 skiers, so a leisurely start time of 10:00 AM was observed. 

Performances were not exceptional despite excellent conditions.  Almost all the skiers skied up their average.  Kyle Jones ran 1@39 but was hampered by having to ski on a broken ski, having no proven backup.  Lake Jones was unable to go very far at 35 off despite having been running the pass a few times in practice recently.  Joe Duff began his season at this tournament, continuing his comeback from a voluntary layoff of almost 3 years.  Dave Keller chose to go off the dock at 32 off for his second and third rounds and successfully completed those passes despite very limited practice time this spring.  He commented that he and his ski partner, Dale Coffey, had not even used a whole tank of gas during practice thus far. 

Sam and Cheryl Schmitt brought their new MasterCraft ProStar for its tournament debut.  Thanks go out to them, as promo boats are getting harder to come by for tournaments not just locally but nationwide.  All in all it was a successful tournament that we ran in a laid back manner, again due to small numbers.  It's great to have a big turn out, but an intimate small tournament run leisurely can be a lot of fun.  We at Stillwater have
considered just giving up on tournaments, but to those who want to ski a tournament, it's just as important to them whether there are 9 or 30 in attendance. 



Greetings, skiers!  Hope your water is warm and your skiing is HOT!

The Ski Nuts will once again be hosting the 3-day Advanced Juniors Clinic at Twin Oaks Lakes in Paducah this coming week.  The clinic, Wednesday thru Friday (June 13-15), is being held in conjunction with the 44th Kentucky Lake Open, which is scheduled for June 16-17.  All Kentucky resident junior skiers are invited to attend this intense 3-day session of training in slalom, tricks, and jumping.  There is no cost to the skier other than sharing in the cost of gas for the boats.  You MUST be able to show identification as a state resident, and also be a current member of the Kentucky Water Ski Federation and USAWSWS.

Please contact Joe Burkhead at  if you plan to attend or have any questions.  We look forward to having you.

Joe Burkhead
President, KWSF


2018 Summer's Here

Well, skiers, summer’s almost here, and the “2018 Summer’s Here” slalom tournament in Eminence is almost here!  This first in-state competition of 2018 will be held at Stillwater Lake on June 9th.  The slalom-only tournament is a three-round event.  Please refer to the Southern Region Guide for all information on running order, entry fees, etc.

Good luck, Stillwater, and we hope you have some great weather and great competition, as is virtually always the case.

Joe Burkhead, KWSF President
​​​ 05/04/18
Notes from November/2017 Federation Meeting
The Fall Meeting of the Kentucky Water Ski Federation was held on November 11, 2017 in Elizabethtown.  Meeting was well attended, and somewhat lengthy, but a lot was accomplished.  For the complete minutes from this meeting, please open the tab under “Minutes” on the website home page.
Notes from this meeting are as follows:​
  • The Ski Nuts will be hosting both the 2018 Southern Regionals (July/August) and the 2018 Disabled Nationals (September), plus four additional “record capability” tournaments.
  • Stillwater and Patriot Lake will host tournaments in 2018.
  • The KWSF By-Laws have been updated, rewritten, and posted to the website.  Three additional amendments were passed, and will be added to the By-Laws as published.
  • Key By-Laws changes include:
    • The Vice President will handle all matters concerning membership.
    • Skiers may be considered part of a family membership up to the age of 21.
    • Any KWSF member may nominate for Skier Superlative awards, and all KWSF members may now vote for the Superlative awards.  This expands the voting base for these awards.
    • Hall of Fame election has been changed somewhat (requirements made a bit more restrictive) as compared to previous.
    • Age division for consideration of Junior Skier Superlative award has been quantified at “under 21.”
    • Please refer to the revised By-Laws (amendments section) for exact wording on the previous four bullets.
  • Officers for the coming year were elected, as follows:
    • President – Joe Burkhead
    • Vice President – Joy Coomes
    • Secretary – Cathy Burkhead
    • Treasurer – Leon Leonard
    • Junior Development Coordinator – Bob Harris
    • Council Members – Bob Harris, Pat Coomes, Eric Kelley
  • Refer to the Tournament Schedule for tournament dates in the state, which were set at the November meeting,
Gooding skiing, all!
Joe Burkhead
President, KWSF

New for 2018 – Safe Sport Compliance Requirements


As you have been reading in earlier notes the Safe Sports program is being rolled out.  Please start by reading the second attachment above (Safe Sport Compliance) on who is required to take the program and who is recommended to take it.  I would strongly encourage everyone to consider reviewing the material and taking the program.  This is not just a training program – It also teaches AWARENESS which all parents should be aware of.  This will be going out to Safety Personnel in a separate letter but will involve a larger group than my email will allow (FYI).  Please also include our other 3-Event families in NCWSA and WSDA as many of our sites include these sports disciplines in their tournaments.
Right now this is for anyone involved in International Teams – Coaches, Managers, Medical and Support Staff. It also includes all Certified Coaches and Instructors.  Critical to us is also the Junior Development Coaches and any Leadership on Region and State levels. 
Please review the material and make every attempt to go through this program.  If you have any questions, please contact USAWS Headquarters or Yours Truly!
Joe Burkhead
Kentucky Water Ski Federation

 Click table to enlarge


The 2017 ski season in Kentucky was busy and eventful, but only a warm-up for what will be coming in 2018.  Six tournaments were hosted in the state, including two RC’s; two skier’s clinics were held; and a new site hosted its first tournament.
  • The six tournaments were held at three different sites – Twin Oaks Lakes (Ski Nuts), Stillwater, and Patriot Lake.  One additional scheduled tournament at Cruises Creek was cancelled due to flooding.
  • Patriot Lake, developed by Eric Kelley at an already-existing body of water near Bowling Green, is our newest tournament ski site in the state.  Beautiful location, and excellent water!  The Patriot Lake site cranked out some outstanding performances in this first tournament, which was sanctioned and run as a 3-event Class “L.”
  • Two water ski clinics for juniors were held.  A one-day clinic was held ahead of the state tournament at Stillwater.  The 12th Annual “Kentucky 3-Day Advanced Juniors Clinic” was again held at Twin Oaks Lakes in Paducah, with Zane Nicholson as the featured instructor. Fifteen skiers attended this second and larger instructional session.

Federation officers elected for 2018 are:
            President – Joe Burkhead                                          Council Representatives:
            Vice President – Joy Coomes                                     Bob Harris (3-yr term)
            Secretary – Cathy Burkhead                                     Pat Coomes (2-yr term)
            Treasurer – Leon Leonard                                         Eric Kelley (1-yr term)
            Jr Development Coordinator – Bob Harris

Significant other notes:
  • Ten sanctioned tournaments are on schedule for the state in 2018, hosted by four different sites.  This will be a record number of tournaments in Kentucky.  Six of these are planned as record capability tournaments, also a record for a single season in Kentucky.
  • The Southern Region Championships will return to Kentucky this season, with the Ski Nuts hosting the two-lake, three-day event July 26th thru 28th at Twin Oaks Lakes.
  • The Disabled Nationals will be hosted in Kentucky for the first time ever.  This event, the second ever National championships of any discipline in Kentucky (2005 Collegiate Nationals was the first), will be hosted by the Ski Nuts September 5th thru 8th at Twin Oaks Lakes.
  • “Carp Wars” at Twin Oaks Lakes (Ski Nuts) in Paducah was completely successful, with 100% elimination of the massive numbers of Asian carp which had invaded the lakes.  Unfortunately, we were not able to save as many game fish as we’d have liked (especially larger bass), but we have a good restock of bass, crappie, brim, and catfish restarted.
  • The Ski Nuts (Bob Harris) hosted five virtual judges and scorers clinics in 2017.  There were 163 total attendees representing all five Regions, and 37 states.Our Federation has picked up several younger skiers over the past three years, including three recent college grads (plus a newborn   )  .
  • Kentucky is very actively supporting water skiing and is POSITIVE ON THE SPORT!!

Submitted by:
Joe Burkhead
President, Kentucky Water Ski Federation

State Officers for 2018

Kentucky Water Ski Federation officers for the 2018 calendar year were elected at the Annual Meeting on November 11, 2017.  Joe Burkhead has agreed to lead the organization as President for a third term. Other officers are as follows:
                Joe Burkhead – President
                Joy Coomes – Vice President
                Cathy Burkhead – Secretary
                Leon Leonard – Treasurer

Councilmen representing Kentucky on the Southern Region Council are:
                Pat Coomes
                Eric Kelley
                Bob Harris

State Junior Development Coordinator will again be Bob Harris.

At large members serving on the Board of Directors by virtue of being presidents or designees of USAWS affiliated clubs not otherwise represented on the board are:
                Tom Bolger – Cruises Creek
                Hartley Davidson – Taylorsville
                Kyle Jones – Laurel Lake

Thanks to all these state skiers and involved persons for agreeing to serve as officers, councilmen, and board members.


2018 Disabled National Championships

USA Water Skiing has announced that the 2018 Disabled National Championships will be hosted by the Kentucky Lake Ski Nuts at Twin Oaks Lakes in Paducah.  This event will be held Wednesday thru Saturday, September 5-8, with the Awards Banquet at the conclusion of the tournament on Saturday evening. 
This will be the first-ever Disabled Nationals to be held in the state of Kentucky.  Congratulations to the Ski Nuts for being awarded this very special and prestigious event!