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A true pioneer, Don Mixon, Sr. guided the sport of barefoot water skiing with intelligence, hard work and a passion that helped build the foundation of what barefooting has become in the United States and around the world.
Don began his career as a competitive water skier in 1970. He was the founder and show director of the Lake Padgett Water Ski Club, where he was named the Lake Padgett Water Ski Club Man of the Year in 1978. Shortly after, he started barefooting competitively. For more than a decade, Don racked up accolades included being a 2-time Senior Men Barefoot National Slalom Champion, as well as a 2-time Senior Men National Slalom Record Holder. In 1982, tragedy struck. Mixon broke his neck in two places which ended his competitive barefooting career. He was down but he was not out. Don threw himself into organizing and hosting barefoot tournaments, coaching, judging, driving and homologating where he quickly became world renowned. As an elite judge, driver and coach, Mixon served at every U.S. Barefoot Nationals in some capacity from 1980-1998 and was American Barefoot Club (ABC) Man of the Year in 1983 and 1995. In 1982 and 1984 he was Chief Driver for Barefoot Nationals and in 1989, 1993 and 1997 he was Chief Judge of Barefoot Nationals. Mixon, a 3-time U.S. Barefoot Team Coach represented the U.S. Barefoot Team as Team Manager in 1980 and 1982. He was the Appointed Judge of the World Barefoot Championships in 1984, 1986 and 1992, Chief Judge of the 1994 World Barefoot Championships and was the Appointed Driver of the 1997 Junior Barefoot World Championships.
Don has made a tremendous impact on the sport both on and off the water. He has been a shining example and inspiration to many on how one can overcome tragedy and serve for the good of all of those around him. From 1985-1988 he served as ABC’s National President and served as a Honorary World Barefoot Council Member from 1985-1998. He also served as Chairman of Group 1 World Barefoot Council from 1989-1998. Mixon was the first ever member of Correct Craft Boats barefoot promotional team, where his boat pulled all National Championships from 1979 -1988. Don Mixon gave his heart and soul to barefooting and he is still giving. Don recently showed up at Lake Grew to watch and support the new generation of barefoot water skiers and officials.