USA Water Ski is pleased to announce that the 2006 U.S. Open Water Ski Championships, presented by the MasterCraft Boat Company, will be held Sept. 13-16 in central Florida. More than $100,000 in cash prizes will be at stake at the 19th annual event, which will culminate under the lights of Village Lake at Downtown Disney, the Walt Disney World Resort's famed retail, shopping, dining and entertainment district in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The official schedule calls for the preliminary rounds to be held Sept. 13-15 on Lake Grew at USA Water Ski headquarters in Polk City, Fla., followed by two nights of action-packed water skiing – semifinals on the evening of Sept. 15 and the finals on the evening of Sept. 16 – on Village Lake at Downtown Disney.
The U.S. Open will be held in conjunction with the Water Sports Industry Association's annual Surf & Water Ski Expo at the Orange County Convention Center, creating even more fervor for both events. The Expo's major industry party, which includes manufacturers and retailers from around the world, is tentatively scheduled to take place at Downtown Disney during Saturday evening's U.S. Open finals.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring the U.S. Open Water Ski Championships back to USA Water Ski headquarters and Downtown Disney in 2006,” said Andy Jugan, USA Water Ski's executive director. “In addition, showcasing the U.S. Open finals at Downtown Disney during the annual Surf and Water Ski Expo will create a tremendously exciting atmosphere for industry insiders and the general public. It's a win-win situation as the U.S. Open and Surf and Water Ski Expo should both be bigger and better than ever.”
Now in its 19th year, the U.S. Open is a world-record capability tournament that attracts more than 75 of the world's top water ski athletes from more than a dozen countries. It has long been considered the most prestigious tournament in three-event water skiing. Male and female athletes compete for titles in slalom, tricks and jumping. Athletes competing in all three events are eligible for the coveted U.S. Open overall title.
MasterCraft is the presenting sponsor and exclusive towboat of the U.S. Open. “The strategy is simple,” said Chris Sullivan, event production coordinator for MasterCraft. “By having the event at night after the Expo, we will be able to show the world's retailers and manufacturers how much water skiing has changed and re-energize their battery concerning water skiing. Not to mention, we want the event to be a draw for the general public as well, and we feel the connection with Disney was a great answer. All of these elements together will make for a world-class event.”