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Jumpin' Joe Cash
Jumpin' Joe Cash was one of the premier three-event tournament skiers in his time until a jumping injury at the apex of his colorful career restricted his competitive action to slalom and tricks.
Joe was a record-breaker. In fact, he was reputed in his day to be the only skier in the history of the sport to set "records" in all three disciplines, but that was in the days when record performances in jumping were the only ones officially recognized.
However, before a leg injury in the 1959 Nationals at Laconia, NH, where he was striving to regain a place on the U.S. Team, ended his jumping career, Joe had rewritten the book. Beginning with a record tying 126-footer in the '57 San Diego Nationals, he leaped 129 feet at Delray Beach, FL in 1958, a few weeks before raising the mark to 132 feet at the Callaway Gardens Nationals. He beat that by another 10 feet the following year at Fort Myers, FL, just before his ill-fated try at Laconia.
Along the way Joe had won the world slalom and overall titles in the 1957 World Championships at Cypress Gardens; the national jumping crown for the second year in succession in 1958; and the Masters overall trophy in 1959.
Following his injury, Joe's concentration on slalom and tricks made him better than ever in those two events. He took the Masters slalom titles in 1960 and 1962 and was second in tricks in the 1963 Masters, only 41 total points in three rounds behind Al Tyll, the acknowledged world's best at the time in his specialty.
Born George Joseph Cash, May 25, 1937, at Shelbyville, TN, Joe moved with his family to Sarasota, FL in 1946. Although water skiing was a popular sport in the area, Joe didn't try it until he was almost 17. He proved to be a "natural". His parents, James and Clara Cash, gave him a pair of skis for his 17th birthday, and he was off on a career that would bring him worldwide acclaim.
His first job was with the ski show at Sunshine Springs and Gardens near Sarasota. He later became a star performer in the Cypress Gardens show, all the while adding tournament trophies to his growing collection.
Joe was one of those rare sports champions who had the ability to impart his expertise to others. Even before his own tournament career began tailing off, he was coaching young skiers who were intent on becoming champions themselves. They came to his school in Sarasota from all over - Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and, of course, the United States. Three of the six members of the 1963 U.S. Team trained under Joe's guidance - Billy Spencer, Jeannette Brown, and Dicksie Ann Hoyt. Spencer and Brown came home from the World Championships in Vichy, France with the Overall titles.
On July 13, 1967, Joe was making last-minute preparations to leave for Callaway Gardens and the Masters tournament, which he had never missed, either as a contestant or spectator. His car collided with a train in Sarasota, ending his life.
His impact on the sport, however, was far from over. Bo Callaway immediately instituted a perpetural slalom trophy in his memory to be awarded each year for the best slalom performance in the Masters. Joe's friend Guillermo Garcia, whose son Joe had trained at their country place on Lake Tequesquitengo near Mexico City, announced the Joe Cash Memorial Invitational Tournament, which quickly became a popular midwinter competitive event at the Mexican resort.
Joe and his wife Ida Mae had five children whose ages at the time this was written for the 1987 Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were Kevin-30, Katrina-27, Karin-26, Crystal-25, and Kelly-24.