Billy Banks, 80 of Melrose, Florida is a beloved Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather who has spent his lifetime inspiring others in the sport of waterskiing.
Billy started waterskiing at an early age, then in the 1960’s joined the Trout River Ski Club and that is where Billy found his passion in Show Skiing. After Billy relocated to Melrose, Florida from Jacksonville, he helped found the Lake Lilly Ski Club which is now known as the Gatorland Water Ski Show Team. With Billy’s leadership and drive to teach others how to water ski, the Gatorland Water Ski Show Team become one of the largest Waterski Show Teams in the country with membership at one time of 150 members. Gatorland toured the Southeast putting on amazing shows during festivals, special events and competing in many tournaments with rival Ski Club Teams.
Not only was Billy a club leader, but he is an amazing water skier, specializing in barefooting and shoe skiing and never missing an opportunity to thrill a crowd during one of their shows. For all of us that know Billy, we can’t wait for him to pass by the crowd on bare feet at over 40 miles per hour, smiling and giving everyone that famous Billy Banks wave.
There are dozens of young men and woman that can credit Billy for helping them to become professional Show Skiers at venues like the famous Cypress Gardens, Sea World and many other sites all over the world. His passion for show skiing is infectious and has had a lasting impact on most everyone that has been fortunate to ski with Billy.
His love of waterskiing brings so much to everyone he comes in contact with, he is great teacher, role model and being involved in waterskiing has inspired his entire family to become better at whatever they’ve chosen in life. Waterskiing is so much more than a sport, it involves great fellowship and teamwork. Billy’s motto; work hard and play hard!
As one of waterskiing’s greatest ambassadors, Billy has touched deeply his Children, Grandchildren and countless others. His legacy will live on thru his continued love of the sport of waterskiing.
Billy and his wife, Sandra currently reside at the “lake” in Melrose, FL