50’s – The Early Years

1954-1960 – The Early Years

DOB: Jan 1, 1954

1954-1955: The Nipmuc Water Ski Club was established in the Winter of 1954 on the shores of Webster Lake. The ski club was organized by seven water ski enthusiasts – they were Gerry Bernier, Ray Blair, Gerald “Tate” Dion, George Hekowycz, Andy Hoenig, Gretchen Hoenig, and Roger Lavoie. In the winter of 1954 an opening meeting was held at Jesse White’s Marina. Two ski shows were held at Birch Island Pavilion and donations from these shows, totaling $132.00, were used to build the club’s first jump. Andy Hoeing was made chairman of the Jump Building Committee.

First President: Gerry Bernier
Vice President: Hank Bernier
Secretary: Joyce Bayer
Treasurer: Ed McGeary

Total Membership: 32
Dues: $5

1955-1956: Several water ski shows were held during the season and were enthusiastically received by hundreds of spectators from all over. With the help of donations the ski club was able to purchase equipment. Members gathered twice a month on Tuesdays at Snug Harbor. The season ended with a banquet for members and guests at Snug Harbor.

President: Ray Blair
Vice President: George Hekowycz
Secretary: Priscilla Teslof
Treasurer: Gerry Bernier

Total Membership: 40
Dues: $5, $8 for new members.

1956-1957: With increased membership and legal responsibilities, the club was incorporated. During the past three years the club had progressed greatly and had been the greatest single factor in promoting and exhibiting the sport of water skiing in the Southern Worcester County area.

Several ski shows were held at various public and private areas and all were a huge success. Social events for members during the season and a year end banquet at Snug Harbor concluded a busy year.

President: George Hekowycz
Vice President: Roger Lavoie
Secretary: Gretchen Hoenig
Treasurer: Andy Hoenig

Total Membership: 40
Dues: $5, $8 for new members

1957-1958: Dave Lapierre and Yvette Raciot were the first Junior Directors instituted. In addition to regular ski shows, several younger members entered the Mass. Open Water Ski tournament at Lake Lashaway.

Jim Barker finished 5th in Boy’s Slalom and Howie Tryba 3rd in Boy’s Jumping.

On July 20th, 1958 the club hosted its first tournament – The Bay State Open at Memorial Beach with an estimated 5,000 spectators. Irv Piehler placed 2nd in Boy’s Jumping.

Dick Seraphin, Irv Piehler, Howie Tryba, Jim Barker, Dave Lapierre, Paul Vajcovec, Jim Kindler, and alan Roy slalom skied the 21 miles from Norwalk, Connecticut to Easton Neck, Long Island to win membership in the “Long Island and Back Club”.

At the Burch Island annual show, Alan Roy was the first member to perform the amazing stunt of water-skiing barefoot. The annual banquet was held at the Colonial Club with Laval Leboeuf receiving Honorary Life Membership.


President: Roger Lavoie
Vice President: Gerry Dion
Secretary: Gretchen Hoenig
Treasurer: Andy Hoenig

Total Membership: 51
Dues: $7, $10 for new members


1958 Ski Show Flyer

1958-1959: During this season, the first out-of-town ski show was held at Cedar Lake in Sturbridge; all proceeds were donated to the Jimmy Fund. The season continued with outstanding shows at Birch Island and Snug Harbor.

The club hosted its second area tournament, the successful Mass. Open.

Club members competed in tournaments at Lake Placid, Fort Meadow Lake and Greenwood Lake where Irv Piehler was the first club member to win first place in an AWSA sanctioned tournament and held the Eastern Boy’s Jumping Record at 84 feet.

President: Roger Lavoie
Vice President: Gerry Dion
Secretary: Gretchen Hoenig
Treasurer: Andy Hoenig

Total Membership: 75  Dues: $7, $10 for new members

1959-1960: The skiing season opened with show practice, tournament practice and general skiing. The first Eastern Regional Tournament was held at Memorial Beach under the direction of Andy Hornig. The winners in the mixed doubles event were club members Dave Lapierre and Ursie Bonczek. Following the tournament the club unanimously voted to pay their expenses to the 1960 Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

One of the highlights of the First Eastern Regional tournament was Gerry Seraphin demonstrating his one-foot barefoot and receiving a standing ovation. This was the first time anyone had accomplished this in the Eastern Region.

President: Andy Hoenig
Vice President: Ron Cardin
Secretary: Gretchen Hoenig
Treasurer: Roger Lavoie

Total Membership: 100+ Dues: $7, $10 for new members