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“Learned to ski at age of 3 of trick skis”
Sherri Slone’s dad taught her to ski on a pair of trick skis at the age of 3 on Cedar Bluff Lake in Hays, Kansas. A competitive three-event water skier since the age of 11, Sherri went 71 feet on her first jump as a Junior Girls’ competitor at the 1979 Water Ski National Championships, and combined with her trick and slalom scores, won the national overall title at the age of 13. She won the Girls’ national overall title in 1983.
Until 1983, her mother, dad and brother, all being competitive skiers, were her main instructors. After the sand pit where she practiced dried up, she attended her first ski school run by Ken White in the summer of 1984. The following summer she started skiing under the coaching of Jay Bennett and began working at his ski school.
Nearly 16 years later, she found herself ranked second in the world in women’s jumping. Her best two-round average for jumping during the 1994 season was 148 feet, which put her one-quarter-of-a-meter behind the top-ranked women’s jumper. She co-held the U.S. women’s jumping record at 156 feet (32 mph) before the ramp for Open Women was raised to 5-1/2 feet. She was a U.S. Team member from 1991 to 1995. She was the women’s world jumping champion in 1991 and the Pan American Games and Masters’ women’s jumping champion in 1995.
Sherri won more than 20 pro tournaments, including the U.S. Open three times and the Masters once. Although noted mainly for her jumping, she was ranked in the top-three in women’s overall in the world for several years. In 1990, when there were competing pro tours, she accomplished a unique feat of winning two separate pro jumping titles on the same day.
During the time of the WOW (Women of Waterskiing) Tour in the late 1990s, she was not just a competitor, but also a hard worker doing the shore setup work and other behind-the-scene jobs that needed to be accomplished before her time to ski. Sherri also contributed to the sport by serving on the American Water Ski Association’s International Activities Committee and becoming a rated judge.
She attended Louisiana State University from 1986 to 1991 and earned her bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Interior Design. She retired from water skiing in 2000.