XIt is with utmost disappointment that the Backwater Gamblers announce that we will not be able to perform ski shows for our amazing fans at this time. The health and safety of our team members and fans are our primary concern. Due to the current Reopen Illinois phase which mandates social distancing of 6 feet and no large gatherings, it is impossible to perform all the acts you love like our pyramids, doubles, ballet lines, around the boat, and most of our show safely and within these guidelines. As soon as we are able to perform safely again within the guidelines of the state of Illinois, we will absolutely do so and will update our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and let you know.

As we are a 501(c)3 non-profit and rely solely on donations from our fans and sponsors, if you would like to help support us so we can continue to provide family-friendly, free water ski shows to the Quad Cities in the future, you can donate via PayPal ([email protected]), Venmo (@Backwater-Gamblers), or by mailing a check to Backwater Gamblers, 5000 44th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201. We hope to ski you soon!

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1983

Yes we were spoiled. We had two 2001 Ski Nautiques and one Show Nautique for twenty club members. This was the first year we built a 3-tier pyramid.

We moved to our twenty two acre ski facility on the Rock River at 44th Street in Rock Island, IL with the help of Neil Neilson, Jack Fogel, Mayor James Davis and the City Council. Actual picture below shows the ski site before the work began to create the best ski site in the Midwest.

Yes, this is our ski site the way it was before we cut down trees, put in the road and created a beach. John Pauley and Randy Heggen arrived by boat at the site with a lawn mower, a sickle, chain saw, clippers and the work began.

Coming to the ski site was only possible by boat. It was several weeks before we could make the journey down 44th street with a truck. Brandt Construction allowed us to use bulldozers, backhoes and excavators to accomplish the work that required heavy equipment. Many long weeks passed without skiing.

Skiers paid $2 for each practice. Donations helped but didn't pay the bills. All boats were privately owned. Brint and Susan bought a new boat, the skiers basically wore out. Gene bought his first Hydrodyne twin rig, Dennis Heggen and John Pauley also brought their boats down and helped build the foundation of our club.