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Water-Skiing Pirates, Daredevils Highlight
Once a year, families pile into the car and head out for a great adventure: the all-American vacation. A popular Midwest stop is Wisconsin Dells, Wis., bustling with activities for all ages. A classic "Dells" favorite is the Tommy Bartlett Show, one of the longest- running, live water-ski, sky and stage shows in the world. "The Tommy Bartlett Show began in 1953, and through its early touring groups and our annual summer runs in Wisconsin Dells, we have entertained millions of visitors throughout the decades," said Tom Diehl, president and co-owner of Tommy Bartlett, Inc. The show has launched an all-new adventure with "Pirates of Bartlett Bay," a themed production featuring a pirate cast of water-skiing performers.
The 90-minute extravaganza begins on the water with the world-famous Tommy Bartlett Skiers challenging fate with death-defying stunts by boat and on water skis. With their high-powered boats, fast-paced trick skiing, flips, twists and pyramids, Bartlett's Buccaneers show audiences who rules the high seas. "We feature some of the greatest water-skiers in the country. They make it look easy, but it takes a lot of practice and skill to perform these stunts precisely, three shows a day," Diehl said. The Tommy Bartlett Show is situated in a quiet narrow cove on the shores of beautiful Lake Delton.
The site is a natural outdoor amphitheatre that began with simple plank seating in the 1950s and has grown to a modern venue with 5,000 seats, half of which are under cover. While the Show has its roots in water-skiing, it has evolved into a multidimensional performance on stage and high in the sky. "Pirates of Bartlett Bay" comes ashore for its second half, featuring a mix of daredevil thrill acts, juggling and comedy, along with choreographed Entrancing Water fountains and laser lights. Longtime Bartlett show favorites, The Nerveless Nocks dazzle audiences with new tricks aboard the "Wheel of Destiny." Forget the safety harnesses or nets, these brave, world-class stunt performers balance and do tricks freestyle on the rotating 65-foot-high double wheel as it swings end over end. Among the high-flying daredevils is Cyrus Nock, who, at only 8 years old, is one of the youngest thrill performers in the world. Other young performers include the sons of T. Howell, 8-year-old Hunter and 5-year-old Carson. Howell mixes in a bit of lighthearted humor with his skillful juggling, from bowling balls to ping-pong balls, and his expert unicycle riding.
Not to be outdone by their dad, the boys perform unicycle tricks and get away with the biggest treasures of all-big laughs and big applause. Rounding out the stage acts is comedian Geechy Guy, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most jokes told in one hour-676 to be exact. Some may consider Geechy an early pioneer of reality TV. He got his start in the comedy business via the popular "Star Search" television competition, which ran during the 1990s, has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and is a regular radio guest on "The Bob and Tom Show." He brings laughter to the Bartlett stage with his goofy style and short quips that have earned him the title as the new "King-of-the-One-Liners." The Tommy Bartlett Show performs three shows daily at 1:00, 4:30 and 8:30 p., Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day (1:00 p. shows begin last Saturday in June).
Rain or shine, the show will go on. Since its inception, the show has performed more than 15,800 times, a testament to its rich history of providing good, wholesome family entertainment.
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