Sunday, September 10, 2000

The fun flows at river event

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — Exhibition water skiers were rolling down the river while lumberjacks rolled logs Saturday at DamFest 2000.

[photo] At Hamilton's Damfest, Adam Clark of Lockland competes in a wakeboard competition. The festival continues today.
(Mike Simons photo)
| ZOOM |
        After a bevy of wakeboarders warmed up the crowd, competition teams of skiers took to the Great Miami River in routines as carefully choreographed as any ice skater's. Each routine contained barefoot skiing, a human pyramid, jumping and tandem skiing.

        “Each show is 45 minutes long and must feature a minimum of 12 different acts,” said Duane Snow of Janesville, Wis., chief judge of the festival's ski team championships.

        Seven teams, from Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and South Carolina, are competing. Each team's effort is rated by scoring judges, with results to be announced thisafternoon.

        “They are rated on flow of one act to the other, execution, difficulty and spectator appeal,“ Mr. Snow added.

  • What: DamFest 2000.
  • When: Noon-6 p.m. today.
  • Where: Neilen Blvd., along Great Miami River in Hamilton.
  • Highlights: Waterski shows at 1:15, 2:30 and 3:45 p.m.; lumberjack shows at 1, 3, and 5 p.m.; DamFest Fat Duck Race, 5 p.m.
  • Cost: $1 parking at Miami University-Hamilton.
        This is the second year that DamFest has showcased ski team championships rather than a ski tournament. The format is well-suited to the nature of Hamilton's event, said Mr. Snow, because breaks between shows give crowds a chance to visit other areas of the festival.

        The stretch of the river used for the skiing events is ideal, said volunteer Mary Ann Sanders.

        “It's wide, it's calm, and the steep banks are great for spectators,“ she explained.

        A few blocks away, an enthusiastic crowd cheered on lumberjacks Marvin Weeks and Dustin Beckwith as they sliced and diced their way through chunks of wood, shinnied up poles, and vied to stay atop a floating log. The men, along with M.C. George Williams, perform as part of Scheer's Lumberjack Shows which is back for a second year at DamFest.

        “Interest in lumberjack competition has continued to grow, coast-to-coast,“ said Mr. Beckwith, who learned to saw, hack and roll logs while growing up in Wisconsin.

        But for Emily Cain, 8, DamFest isn't about competition-level sports. The second-grader was helping her mother, Linda, create art at the Monroe Elementary hair-painting booth.

        “I like the boat rides and I like working at the booth,“ she said. “It's the most fun. And you can have as many colors as you want.”

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