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!


Becoming a member of the Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show Club requires a great deal of commitment, but the rewards are unlimited.


  • family activity
  • open ski time in addition to scheduled practices, where at least 1 boat will be pulling skiers
  • expertise from members to learn new skills
  • new friends across the US and around the world
  • the potential to ski professionally in the US or around the world
  • use of club equipment including:
    • boats to ski behind
    • gas for those boats
    • costumes to be worn during shows only
    • ropes
    • skis (except swivel & jump)
    • flotation vests (for females)
    • harnesses for doubles and trios
    • jump ramp
    • helmets
    • park area with 3 starting docks, a sand beach and a 150’ carpeted stage


  • attend shows (2-3 per week) from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend
  • attend practices (2-3 per week) from early May until early September
  • attend tournaments (2-3 per season)
  • attend off-season practices, typically once a week, from January until May
  • maintain a positive attitude
  • help set up equipment for shows & practices
  • help put away equipment after shows & practices
  • learn new things (even how to ski) during open ski time
  • help in fundraising for our yearly budget
  • earn a skiing position in the show (no one is guaranteed a place in the show)
  • help at all shows, even if you are not yet skiing in the show
  • do not need to know how to ski in order to join
  • members under the age of 16 must have a parent or guardian present for all club activities

A typical week for a BWG member:
Monday  -  show act practice from 5:30pm until dark
Tuesday  -  show act practice from 5:30pm until dark
Wednesday  -  home show with members present by 5:30pm
Thursday  -  development night (optional)
Friday  -  open ski night (optional)
Sunday  -  home show with members present by 5:30pm



Membership Types
Full Single Membership (skier or tow boat driver) $75
Family Membership $200
Contributing Membership (stage, dock, sound, rope, pick-up boat, rider personnel) $15
Honorary Membership (10 year member) $37.50
Lifetime Membership (25 year member) $0

All members of the team are also required to join USA Water Ski with an Active Membership for secondary insurance. This membership is valid for one year from the time of membership and cost is determined by age.  

Full members age 11 to 15 must also secure $125 worth of revenue each season after their first season, and full members 16 & over must secure $250 worth of revenue each season after their first season. Contributing members, full members age 10 and under, and first year members are not required to obtain revenue.
Apply for Membership