Lake Palestine Aquafest gives some a chance to hit the water - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Lake Palestine Aquafest gives some a chance to hit the water

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PALESTINE (KYTX) - A stretch of Lake Palestine was dedicated to giving wheelchair bound and disabled east Texans a chance to ski on the open water.

Tiffany Gilley doesn't have many words, but with a laugh and a short ‘yeah' she lets you know she's ready to get back in the water.

She was one of nearly 50 disabled skiers thankful to organizers for putting on the second annual Lake Palestine Adaptive Aquafest.


"Our goal is to get as many disabled people out on the water and have fun," said Texas Adaptive Aquatics President Roger Randall. His non-profit is based out of Houston, but locals Debbie Bryant and Mike Schovanec helped bring the event to east Texas 

Randall said, "It kind of gives them the opportunity to get out and feel the freedom and that's the main thing and have a good time on the water."

The non-profit has been traveling all over since 1985 giving people like Gilley a chance to hit the open waters.

To  make it possible for many of the people who are wheelchair bound to actually get out into the water, they have special seats with a similar ski bottom to help them glide through the water.

The person strapped in the chair is typically flanked by two volunteer skiers that keep them upright as they boat takes off.

"First of all I think it's a pretty cool setup how they have it for people with disabilities, like before I came out to an event like this, I didn't even think water skiing was possible," said Aquafest participant Brett Burks.

He said he's gone to similar events in the past.

"The stuff that people come up with, I think is just amazing," he said.

Events like this rely heavily on sponsors and volunteers since it's a non-profit.

Click here to find out more about Texas Adaptive Aquatics.

 

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