Alton Water Ski Club fighting for survival

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ALTON, IL (KTVI) – It's been part of the fabric of St. Louis since 1955:  the Alton Water Ski Club.

Members perform on the Mississippi River be it the 4th of July or New Year’s Day.

Club members perform for charity and compete for regional water skiing titles.

Now they’re fighting to keep the club afloat.

When Santa skis the river front to ring in the New Year he does so behind the club’s boat every year.

But flooding and drought have kept the club off the river far too often in recent years.

Membership’s dipped from 60 to 10-15.

The club has a clubhouse overlooking the river along the Great River Road in Godfrey.  Members use it and a shed mostly for storage.

But members pay about $12,000 in yearly property taxes and bills, making it hard to keep up their charitable efforts:  primarily skiing events for disabled skiers and people with Down’s syndrome.

“We do everything out here from pyramids, to barefooting.  The girls do the ballet lines, swivel skiing, knee boarding,” said club president, Norman Rhea.

Members have a plan to rehab and rent the clubhouse as 2-4 bedroom home with a fabulous view.

“The location is awesome:  right on the Great River Road, beautiful scenery to look at every day, having a ski club right in front of them, could go watch a ski show any time,” said club vice-president, Todd Thompson.  “We’re kind of envisioning this as a nice family home for somebody to have a great view of the river, great place to live.”

But they need help.

“Lumber, drywall, electrical materials, that type of thing.  We’re ready to do the labor.  We’ve got the manpower.  We’re all chipping in of course to keep the club alive,” Rhea said.

“We’ve got to keep them boats floating and keep us afloat at the same time,” Thompson laughed.

If you can help, visit the club’s website or Facebook page:

Facebook:  Alton Ski Club River Road Renegades

You can also call/email Thompson at:  618-977-3920   email:

Follow Andy Banker on Twitter and Facebook:

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