Obituary of Carl "Bill" Wenner Jr

Remembering Lifelong Volunteer Bill Wenner (1931-2024)

Media

Remembering lifelong volunteer Carl “Bill” Wenner (1931-2024)

Obituary of Carl "Bill" Wenner Jr

Image: USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation

By Jack Burden


Carl “Bill” Wenner, Jr., a beloved figure in the water skiing community, has passed away at the age of 92. Originally from Upstate New York and later residing in Auburndale, FL, Wenner’s legacy in the sport spans decades and leaves an indelible mark.

Inducted into the Florida Waterski Federation Hall of Fame in 2011, Wenner was a lifelong supporter of water skiing. Wenner was born into a family of avid snow skiers. His father saw water skiing for the first time in a newsreel at the movies, then built his own skis using sneakers for bindings. And so began Wenner’s lifelong passion for the sport.

Wenner dedicated over 75 years to the water skiing world, serving as a senior judge for nearly four decades and participating in various capacities. His contributions extended beyond his own achievements, as he served as President of the American Water Ski Association from 1974 to 1976 and the American Water Ski Educational Foundation for many years, retiring from the Board of Trustees in 2011.

His infectious passion for water skiing was evident in his active involvement as an athlete, official, board member, and volunteer throughout his life. He established the Bill Wenner Scholarship, awarded to deserving youth competitors at the Florida State Championships, showcasing his commitment to nurturing the next generation of water skiers.

Wenner’s remarkable career garnered numerous accolades, including the Tommy Dorwin Outstanding Judge Award (1983), American Water Ski Hall of Fame Award of Distinction (2007), and induction into the Florida Water Ski Hall of Fame (2011). Beyond his achievements, Wenner was cherished for his positive spirit, lively personality, and encyclopedic knowledge of the sport.

He often joked that he had met so many friends over the years that he would never have to stay in a hotel if he were to drive across the country.

As we mourn the loss of Bill Wenner, we celebrate his remarkable life and enduring contributions to water skiing. His absence will be deeply felt by all who knew him. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.

Donations may be made in his name to The Scholarship Fund at http://www.usa-wwf.org

Remembering Dean Chappell (1951-2024)

Remembering Midwest Water Ski Legend Dean Chappell (1951-2024)

News

Remembering Midwest water ski legend Dean Chappell (1951-2024)

Remembering Dean Chappell (1951-2024)

Chappell was a tenacious competitor who excelled in the jump event (image: @skihusband)

By Jack Burden


The water skiing community is mourning the loss of a dedicated and beloved member, Dean Chappell. A stalwart volunteer, coach, and cherished figure within Illinois water skiing circles, Chappell’s impact on the sport and the community will be enduringly remembered.

An avid three-event skier, Chappell holds the Midwest region jump records for Men’s 5-8 and the Illinois state overall records for Men’s 5, 6 & 8. As recently as last year, he set a pending Men’s 8 (70-74 years) regional jump record at an impressive 111 feet (33.8m).

Representing the U.S. on numerous occasions, Chappell clinched first place in Over-65 Men’s Jump and won gold as part of the U.S. team at the 2018 Over-35 World Championships in Santiago, Chile. This achievement led to the well-deserved recognition of the team as the USA-WSWS Team of the Year.

Chappell’s commitment to water skiing transcended the ordinary. Despite a challenging moment where he broke his neck while jumping, he continued competing well into his 70s. As one of the original Midwest Air Force jumpers, Chappell’s legacy is synonymous with tenacity and a driving force for the growth of water skiing in the region.

His influence extended far beyond his personal achievements. As a Senior-rated driver, judge, and technical controller, Chappell was always ready to contribute at tournaments, generously sharing his knowledge and passion. In the collegiate realm, he served as a coach and mentor for the Illini Waterski Team, leaving a lasting impact on numerous young skiers. His dedication was further evident in hosting and officiating at countless MCWSA Regionals and other collegiate events.

The Chappell family remains an integral part of the tournament waterskiing scene in the Midwest. Kelly and Troy Zoellner, Chappell’s daughter and son-in-law, along with grandchildren Jaret and Julia Zoellner, continue to be actively involved with the PITS Water Ski Club in Decatur, Illinois.

Dean Chappell’s legacy lives on not just in records and achievements but in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know and ski alongside him. He will be profoundly missed, and his contributions to the water skiing community will be remembered with gratitude and fondness.

Colombian water skier Mateo Botero dies in motorcycle accident

Colombian Water Skier Mateo Botero Dies in Motorcycle Accident

News

Colombian Water Skier Mateo Botero Dies in Motorcycle Accident

Colombian water skier Mateo Botero dies in motorcycle accident

Image: @mateobotero777

By Jack Burden


In a devastating turn of events, the water skiing community is mourning the loss of 29-year-old Colombian athlete Mateo Botero Rodrigues, who tragically lost his life in a motorcycle accident on Sunday, December 10.

The Colombian Federation of Water Skiing and Wakeboard, expressed their deepest condolences, remembering Botero as not only a great sportsman but also a friend and colleague. With more than fifteen years dedicated to the sport, Botero was a well-known figure, and his legacy is expected to endure in the hearts of athletes and friends alike.

A standout three-event water skier, Botero excelled in the jump event, earning a place among Colombia’s top jumpers of all time. His skill and passion were showcased in numerous major tournaments, including the recent 2022 Latin American Championships, where he secured a 3rd place in Open Men Jump.

The tragic accident occurred on the Las Palmas road in Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia. Botero lost control of his motorcycle near Carrera 10 and Calle 59 through La Colegiatura, colliding with a railing and succumbing to the impact. Authorities swiftly responded to the scene but were unable to revive Botero.

Competitors and friends within the water skiing community, deeply affected by this irreplaceable loss, have taken to social media to express their grief and commemorate the life of a remarkable athlete.

It is with great sadness that the University will lower the University flag to half-staff in memory of Michael Arthur "Micky" Geller on Thursday, May 18.

University of Louisiana-Lafayette Champion Water-Skier Dies ‘Suddenly’ at 18 | NBC

News

University of Louisiana-Lafayette champion water-skier dies ‘suddenly’ at 18

It is with great sadness that the University will lower the University flag to half-staff in memory of Michael Arthur "Micky" Geller on Thursday, May 18.

Image: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

By Marlene Lenthang

NBC News


A champion water skier who studied at a Louisiana university has died “suddenly” at the age of 18, school officials and his water ski team announced.

Michael Arthur “Micky” Geller, a freshman at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and member of the school’s Ragin’ Cajuns Waterski Team, died Saturday, according to his obituary.

Full article at NBC.