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Scaled down water ski tournament impacts Janesville area

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show ski nationals

JANESVILLE (WKOW) --What was originally supposed to be a weekend full of competition, has been severely downsized because of coronavirus concerns.

Typically all of the stands would be full this weekend with room for more than 3,000 fans.

For this year's Show Ski Nationals, capacity will be capped at 225 people.

It's only going to be competitors, staff and family and a small amount of people who bought tickets ahead of time at Traxler park.

Becuase of that the stands will sit mostly empty at the Rock Aqua Jays stadium all to keep people safe.

Despite a much reduced competition this year, skiers were still practicing hard Friday before the main event this weekend.

As this is mostly an individual sport, risk is low for the folks out on the water.

But on land, you need a ticket to get in the fenced off stadium, and mask use is required.

Organizers expect social distancing to be easy with so few people attending, but they'll be heavily enforcing it just in case.

"We will also be having safety or social distancing monitors on site that will be going around and making sure people are social distancing with one another and taking all of the precautions set forthby the city to make sure that it is a safe environment," David Rezin, with the Rock Aqua Jays said.

A big part of a normal national tournament like is the team portion with dozens of people out skiing, but that has all been cancelled.

But Rezin says the upside of that is that it will be able to highlight each skiers individual skill.

On any other weekend, the tournament would be bringing in thousands of people from across the country.

This year, the Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is expecting only about 500 people, but they're remaining optimistic.

According to the JACVB, a typical nationals brings in more than 2 million dollars to the area economy.

This year it's only expected to be 200 thousand, or a tenth of a normal year.

"It will be hard for our restaurant and hotels to recoup the loss they would normally get from a nationals event but we know that we're kind of working towards the future," Christine Rebout, Executive Director of the JACVB said. "The event is being webcast so people are still going to be able to see and hear about wonderful things about Janesville. So our hope is that we're really building for the future even though this won't be a great economic impact weekend for us."

Because the event is going to be closed to the public, she says the best way for people to support Janesville and the event is to watch the stream on the Team USA Water Ski website

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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