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2020 Banana George Blairfoot Bananza raises $4000 for USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Scholarship Fund

Every once in awhile… "Going Bananas" is a good thing!

We could all feel the spirit of Banana George Blair at Lake Silver in Winter Haven, Florida as the tournament George started, made a comeback on October 24th and 25th! 

It had been several years since the Banana George Blairfoot Bananza had been held and the American Barefoot Club’s Southern Regional Director Mikey Caruso thought it was time for a “Bananza Intervention.” 

“It just had to happen,” says Caruso, a former Junior Barefoot World Champion and member of the 2020 US Elite Barefoot Team.  “We had to do it for George and everyone who loves him.”

Mikey Caruso and James Miller go head-to-head in Saturday Figure 8 Competition

More than 40 barefoot water skiers ranging in age from 7 to 80 years old gathered at a safe, social distance to celebrate the memory of George and ski their butts off in the two-day Figure 8 and Endurance Tournament at Lake Silver.

But it wasn’t just about barefooting, the two-day event raised $4000 for The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation’s Banana George Blair Ambassador College Scholarship.  A check was presented to USA-WWF Scholarship Administrator Jeff Clark at the tournament Saturday night. (Jeff is pictured with Banana Man in 1993)

If you are a College-Age Water Sports Athlete… APPLY HERE for the Banana George Ambassador Scholarship and other Foundation Scholarships.

If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund contact Jeff Clark or make a donation HERE.

Figure 8 Champs Awards Presentation: Donna Blair, Don Simon, Marc Donahue, Van Jantzen & Hayleigh Blair

Winners received a super cool trophy, a Masterline Ski Handle and amazing framed photos from George Blair’s Office donated and presented by Donna Blair who also helped sponsor the tournament!  Donna also gave every competitor a copy of the Banana George book by Karen Putz!

Hayleigh & Donna Blair

George’s Great-Granddaughter, Hayleigh Blair, helped present the awards and even participated in the Boom Division! 


T-shirts will still be available until November 15... so order yours today! ORDER HERE


Saturday Figure 8 - Head-to-Head

Juniors (16 and under)

  1. Van Jantzen, South Carolina

  2. Owen Schattschneider, Wisconsin

  3. Claire Flowers, South Carolina

Junior Figure 8 Awards: Hayleigh Blair, Van Jantzen, Owen Schattschneider & Claire Flowers

Seniors (60 and up)

  1. Don Simon, 80, Florida

  2. Danny “Sparky” Wicks, New Jersey

  3. Chuck Bender, Wisconsin

Adults (17-60)

  1. Marc Donahue, Florida

  2. Wayne King, Canada

  3. Paul Miller, Indiana

Silas, Micah, Hayleigh & Spencer

Boom Division:

  • Hayleigh Blair, Georgia

  • Spencer Barrington-Hughes, South Carolina

  • Silas Walliser, Florida

  • Micah Walliser, Florida

Sunday Endurance – Timed Circles

Juniors (16 and under)

  1. Van Jantzen, South Carolina 7:25

  2. Noah Kinnaman, Missouri 7:02

  3. Owen Schattschneider, Wisconsin 5:03

Endurance Champs: Marc Donahue, Wayne King & Paul Miller

Adults (17-60)

  1. Marc Donahue, Florida 9:55

  2. Wayne King, Canada 9:36

  3. Paul Miller, Indiana 7:35

Seniors (60 and up)

  1. Danny “Sparky” Wicks, New Jersey 2:37

  2. Ron Coonse, Indiana 2:26

  3. Al Hager, Florida 1:43

Let's go Bananas again in 2021!

Thanks to our sponsors: Visit Central Florida/Polk County Sports Marketing, Delray Beach Executive Suites, Joanne Blair, Donna Blair, Georgia Blair, Carrie Blair, Robin Blair, Ted Blair, John Cornish, Masterline, Celcius, ABC Southern Region, Just Add Water Media, American Barefoot Club, World Barefoot Center, Patrick & Charlotte Stewart, Don Stoppe, The Jersey Boys, Bob Swanbom and Adrienne Rundell.

Massive thanks to Polk County’s Guy Friday Hank Longo, Chief Judge Justin Landers, Boat Wrangler Don Simon, Chief Driver Ben Groen, Announcer Jared “The Golden Voice of Water Skiing” Lippelgoos, Chief Safety Char Portman, Bracket Men Al Hager and John Friede, COVID Sanitation Officer Deanna Dean, Ice Man Chuck Bender and Chief Registrar Alyx Matheny! 

And of course, The Bananza Committee: Chuck Bender, Mikey Caruso, Tim Collette, Deanna Dean, Ted Eisenstat, John Gillette, Betsy Gilman, Ben Groen, Al Hager, Justin Landers, Marty Levine, Jared Lippelgoos, Rob Scott, Don Simon, Steve Shannon, Lance Smith and Bruce Walter.

We can’t wait for next year… bigger and better! 

The Bananza Committee wants to make this happen again in 2021... email if you want to join the planning! And hold on!

Stay Tuned for details at!


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