ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- The first show of the season is quickly approaching for the Backwater Gamblers Ski Team. But there's been one problem for the Rock Island-based skiers: they haven't made it into the water yet this year.
Flooding and less-than-ideal weather have kept the team from dusting off their water skis.
"It's a bummer as a show director to not be able to start practicing and not know what the show is going to look like before we do it in front of an audience," Tagen Dressman says. "Usually we try to start skiing May first. obviously, we're way behind."
All of their docks and jumps are still on the shore, and they've had to run through their program on dry land.
"It's like a play on water, and we're just doing it without the water part," coach Randy Thompson says. "A lot more boring to stay on land and not ski. Skiing's the fun part."
The Rock River is currently sitting at 11.6 feet in Rock Island, more than a foot higher than the team will practice or perform on.
"I think most of us are pretty ready to get out there and get some cobwebs off and get our ski legs out," Dressman says.
But their first performance is quickly approaching on Sunday, May 26. The team's not sure they'll make it in the water before then or even if they'll be able to perform Sunday. The Rock remains too unpredictable.
"If it looks like the river is going to really jump up and we won't be able to get our equipment in and ski, then we'll cancel," Dressman says.