Pan Am Region
Brief History of the Pan Am Region
The PanAmerican Region existed in name only until the World Championships were held in Long Beach, California, in 1961. During that tournament, Bill Barlow, Sr., then President of the World Water Ski Union, met with leaders of the five PanAmerican countries competing there (Canada, Mexico, Peru, U.S.A., and the West Indies) to organize Group I, as it was then known.
Bill Barlow, Sr. was elected President of the Group effective with his retirement as WWSU President on December 1, 1961; Lloyd Gilbert, then President of the Canadian Water Ski Association, became the first Secretary General; and Bill Barlow, Jr. served as Technical Committee Chairman. Dick Cowell, representing the West Indies, replaced Lloyd Gilbert as Secretary General in 1963, but otherwise the leadership of the Region remained unchanged for the next ten years.
Through the efforts of Rene Daumas of Mexico, the first PanAmerican championship was held at Lake Tequesquitengo in November 1966. Only eighteen contentants from four countries competed there, despite the work of Oscar Botero of Colombia and Dick Cowell in increasing the number of member federations in the Region to twelve. Two years later, when the second PanAmerican Championship was set in the equatorial wilds of Neiva, Colombia, the number of skiers and countries represented had both doubled.
Others who have guided the Region for long periods duing its thirty-five years of existence have been Clint Ward, President and Secretary General for a total of 15 years, Bob Corson, Technical Committee Chairman for 14 years, and Andres Botero, President for ten years.
Over the decades the PanAmerican Region has been the dominant force in tournament water skiing. With twenty-four World Championships held to date, seventeen of the Men's Overall Champions and eighteen of the Women's Overall Champions have come from the Region's member federations. Of all the Gold Medals awarded to date (96 in each division, including Overall), 63 have gone to PanAmerican Men and 70 to PanAmerican Women.
With the World Championships headed to the PanAmerican Region in 1997 for the ninth time, the Regional officers, Vern Oberg, President, , Jorge Renosto Sr., Secretary General, and Jeffry Armstrong, Tournament Council Chairman, look forward to the continued expansion and renown of the PanAmerican Region.
As a supplement, the PanAmerican Region has competed in no less than 3 Pan American Games - the first in Mar Del Plata, Argentina in 1995, the second in Winnipeg, Canada in 1999 and the latest in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2003. The next Games are in Rio De Janeiro, Brasil in 2007 - wish us luck!
The Executive Board History of the Pan Am Region
PanAmerican Water Ski Region of the IWSF - all rights reserved