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The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation is proud to announce the winners of our 2021 Scholarships and Grants.

USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation scholarships are awarded each year to water skiers and riders who show leadership abilities and demonstrate that involvement in the sport has helped them grow both personally and academically.


USA-WWF is honored to have the following outstanding individuals

represent our sport both on and off the water:

Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship: $10,000

2021 Recipient:  Kristen Baldwin


Kristen Baldwin of Winter Garden, Florida is the 2021 recipient of the $10,000 Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship. Kristen is a sophomore at Arizona State University majoring in Film and Media Production.

This scholarship is worth double this year in honor of the 30th anniversary of namesake Barbara Bolding's death.


“I am so extremely honored to be selected for the 2021 Barbara Bolding/Jim GrewScholarship, especially on such a monumental anniversary year. This scholarship supports my future on and off the water, allowing me to follow both my career and athletic goals," says Kristen.

“Winning this scholarship is a major turning point in my education. It supports my abilities on and off the water, encouraging me to follow my dreams in the film industry,” says Kristen.


The Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship was established in 2001 and is given to a qualifying female who attends a four-year accredited college and skis primarily in AWSA, NCWSA, or USA-AWSWS tournaments.

Dave Goode Scholarship: $2,400

2021 Recipient:  Daniel Murdy

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Daniel Murdy from Lincoln, Nebraska has won the $2400 Dave Goode Scholarship. Daniel is a senior at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln majoring in Mechanical Engineering.


 "At Nebraska, like many schools in the Midwest, many of our members are new to three-event skiing. I love spending time in the boat teaching and training with my friends. I hope to continue sharing this sport with as many friends as I can, both old and new, for years to come!" says Daniel.


This is the first year of The Dave Goode Scholarship which is open to AWSA and NCWSA skiers from the Midwest Region who are pursuing a degree in Engineering or Mathematics.

George Blair Ambassador Scholarship: $2,200

2021 Recipient: Matayla DeBruin

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Matayla DeBruin has been chosen as the 2021 recipient of the $2200 "Banana George" Blair Ambassador Scholarship.  Matayla is a Junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Nursing. 

"George Blair had an amazing legacy, especially in waterskiing. He was so generous and always had a passion for improving and growing the sport. Water skiing has always been a huge part of my life. I want to be an ambassador for the sport carrying on George Blair’s legacy," says Matayla.

In the same spirit that made him a legend, "Banana George" Blair continued to give back to water sports and the foundation throughout his life. George's family has created this scholarship to give student-athletes an opportunity to earn a college education while pursuing their water sports dreams. This scholarship is open to all water sports disciplines.


"The Banana George Blair Ambassador Scholarship will help me graduate from nursing school at UW-Madison. Becoming a nurse will afford me the opportunity to give back to the waterski community providing on-site care for injuries. Overall, using my knowledge I hope to care for injuries and prevent injuries from occurring" says Matayla.

Southern Region/Elmer Stailing Scholarship: $2,000

2021 Recipient: Nicholas Kerr

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Nicholas Kerr of Forsyth, Georgia has been chosen as the 2021 recipient of the Elmer Stailing Southern Region Scholarship. Nicholas is a junior at the University of Georgia majoring in Biology.


"I am excited and very grateful for receiving this award. This serves as another reminder of the benefits of water skiing and investing time into the water skiing community. I hope to use my time and talents to give back to the waterskiing community as a thank you for this scholarship," says Nicholas.

The Elmer Stailing Southern Region Scholarship is for an AWSA Southern Regional Competitor and qualified student who is registered in a College or University. It has been funded by the Southern Region since 1990.


"I am thankful for this scholarship as it enables me to worry less about the financial burdens of college, and focus more of my time towards my schoolwork and growing the water skiing team at my university," says Nicholas.

Tim Olson Memorial  Scholarship: $1,500

2021 Recipients: Paige Peshina & Grace Petzold


The family of Tim Olson says there were so many great applicants for the Foundation scholarships this year... they wanted to double up and award two Tim Olson Memorial Scholarships in 2021.


First up... Paige Peshina of Malvern, Ohio has been chosen as one of the winners of the $1500 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. Paige will be a Freshman at Rollins College in Florida.

"I feel honored and grateful to receive the 2021 Tim Olson Scholarship, it will help support me as I move to Florida and attend Rollins College to pursue a career in the medical field," says Paige.

And for the third year in a row, Grace Petzold of Mequon, Wisconsin is grabbing the $1500 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. Grace is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Spanish.


"Finding the right balance between school and waterskiing has always been very important to me. I strive to excel in both the classroom and on the water. Therefore, I believe that the Tim Olson Scholarship will enhance my education because it will allow me to devote more time to my schoolwork along with my waterskiing commitments," says Grace.


The Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship was established by the family and friends of Tim Olson. A special provision of the scholarship is that it is to be given to a wakeboarder or show skier.

Jennifer Odom/Dave Kammerer Scholarship: $1,500

2021 Recipient: Megan Adams


Megan Adams of Center City, Minnesota has been chosen as the 2021 recipient of the $1500 Jennifer Odom/Dave Kammerer Memorial Scholarship. Megan will be a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth majoring in Engineering.


"I feel honored and grateful to win this amazing scholarship from USA Waterski & Wake Sports Foundation. The sport of barefoot waterskiing will always be a big part of my life and I will continue to share and grow the sport while in college," says Megan who is a Junior World Barefoot Overall Champion and Open Women's Competitor.


The Jennifer Odom/David Kammerer Memorial Scholarship was established in 2008. Jennifer Odom was a junior girl national competitor who was abducted near her home in Pasco County, Florida in February of 1993. She was later found murdered. David Kammerer of Excelsior, Minnesota was a former Mens 2 National Overall Champion and “old school” barefooter. He died in a plane crash in July of 2007.

"Big Al" Wagner/Western Region Scholarship: $1,500

2021 Recipient: Alec Vaio

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Alec Vaio from Truckee, California is the winner of the $1500 "Big Al" Wagner - Western Region Scholarship. Alec is a Senior at Arizona State University majoring in Civil Engineering.


"This scholarship is amazing to receive as it will allow me not to burden my family with the costs of college and allow me to continue my journey in skiing and in education. With this scholarship, I will be able to finish off my last year of college knowing that there are people on my side now more than ever, " says Alec.


The "Big Al" Wagner/Western Region Scholarship is given annually to an AWSA Western Region Skier qualified for the Western Regional Water Ski Tournament.

Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship: $1,000

2021 Recipient: Kennedy Hansen 

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Kennedy Hansen from Milton, Florida has won the $1000 Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship. Kennedy will be attending the University of Louisiana - Lafayette.


"I'm really looking forward to the next chapter of my life including collegiate skiing and the college experience. The 2021 Florida Water Ski Federation scholarship will help me offset all of the expenses that come with college and collegiate water skiing," says Kennedy.

This is the inaugural year of the Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship which is open to three-event water ski athletes who compete in the Florida State Water Ski Championships and are currently registered students in a college or university.


"The water skiing community of fellow competitors, officials, and coaches has made such a positive impact on my life - not only as a skier but also as a person. I'd like to extend a quick thank you to my family for all of your support and to Adam and Cory Pickos and the rest of the crew at Pickos Ski School," says Kennedy.

Michael Gerkin Equipment Grant : $1,500

2021 Recipient: Iowa State University Water Ski Club


The Iowa State University Water Ski Club has been named as the recipient of the 2021 USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation Michael Gerkin Equipment Grant.

"We are incredibly grateful for this award and want to thank everyone," says Iowa State University Water Ski Club Vice President Sydnee Keener.

The $1500 Grant was established in honor of Michael Gerken, a member of the Iowa State University water ski team, whose life exemplified the principles of good sportsmanship and fairness, competition, and courage. Its goal is to provide young student-athletes of limited financial means the opportunity to purchase water ski equipment to continue to compete in water skiing in addition to their college studies.

Established in 1968, the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation, preserves and celebrates the history of all towed water sports and promotes these sports through our Scholarship Programs and the Water Ski & Wake Sports Hall of Fame. 

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