It pays to listen to your parents.
Less than two years after dipping her toes into the water, Foothills County’s Megan Pelkey is charging into her second straight trip to compete with the best in Canada at the Water Ski National Championships from Aug. 7-11 at Club de Ski Nautique St-Donat, Québec.
“My dad (Bob) got me into it, he really wanted us to try a summer sport because we were mainly a skiing family,” Pelkey said. “For fun he decided to enter me into a tournament two years ago and I got one buoy and ever since then I fell in love with the sport.”
In her first year of competition, Pelkey won both the trick and overall championship at provincials and was the GU12 national champion in slalom and overall.
“It was really fun, I got to see all of my friends,” she said. “And I got to put down my best scores of the season (at nationals).
“I was mostly excited, but I did get a little bit nervous.”
Pelkey, who turns 13 at the Canada championships, is up in the GU14 division this season.
Leading up to nationals, Pelkey won the Westerns championship in both trick and overall for 2019. The provincial competition has not yet been held.
In Québec, she’s aiming to win the overall, all of her slalom events, to achieve the 30m distance in jump and she wants to achieve over 4,000 points in trick.
“I love the sport so much,” Pelkey said. “And I really want to work towards getting on the national team as well and represent Canada internationally.”
Pelkey, who called trick her favourite, trains equally for the three sections of competition – trick, slalom and jump.
Slalom has the athletes meandering through buoys on a course, similar to what you would see in an alpine skiing setting.
“Every single time you complete a pass, you up a speed and when you’re at the maximum speed for your age group you shorten the line,” she said.
In the jump event, the skiers go up a five-foot high ramp and the athletes are measured on how much distance they can leap.
For trick, there are toes and hands components where for the former, the foot, is in the rope and in hands you hold onto the rope. There’s a 20-second routine for both hands and toes for the athletes to squeeze in as many tricks as possible.
Pelkey trains seven days per week during the season, making the almost daily round-trip commute to Dodd’s Pond near Olds to train with coach Bruce Dodd, a legendary figure in the sport.
“When we started the sport, we had no idea where to go for training, someone recommended Bruce and we just started training with him. Now he’s her coach full time,” said Sandra Pelkey, Megan’s mother. “She loves the sport and she works really hard and for us it’s something that we will do for her because it’s something that she wants and loves.
“And we’re willing to make the sacrifice to make her dreams in the sport come true.”