FROM STAFF REPORTS
KINGSLAND — For more than a decade, the Enloe’s Outlaws kept the folks of Kingsland and the surrounding communities on the edges of their seats. Not because they were really outlaws but because they could waterski and execute incredible stunts and maneuvers that left people’s mouths agape.The group was one of the most popular shows during the years they entertained at the Kingsland Aqua Boom. Now, Aqua Boom officials are honoring the team and the founders as the grand marshals for the 2014 Aqua Boom Fourth of July Parade.
All former Enloe’s Outlaws are invited to be a part of the event. Wendy Sue Enloe-Smith, the daughter of the group’s founders, David and Pat Enloe, is putting out a call for all those Outlaws to gather again for at least one more ride.
The waterski team came as an outgrowth of David and Pat Enloe’s love for kids and waterskiing. Both began waterskiing at young ages and earned national recognition. Pat’s waterskiing career came to an end in 1963, when she had an accident while attempting to break the women’s world record ski jump.
Though her waterskiing career ended, her love for the sport and desire to share it with others burned brightly. When she and David settled in Kingsland in 1973, they devoted their hearts and money to the area youth by teaching them how to ski and mentoring them during their spare time.
And this wasn’t just a, “Hey, c’mon on over, and we’ll take you out on the boat,” kind of thing. David and Pat understood the work that went into becoming good skiers, and they emphasized it with the youth and their own daughter.
Water skiing didn’t start in the summer for the Enloes and the youth who chose to study with them. David and Pat began holding “land practice” every March.
“This was to show the kids the ropes and teach them basic skills on dry land,” Enloe-Smith said. “Skiing and landing on the water began each year in April. There were never any tryouts for the team. (Mom and Dad) said, ‘if you can ride a ski or you are willing to learn and stay committed, you have a place on the team.'”
That love and unconditional acceptance was a big draw, probably as much as the skiing itself.
Practices were held every Tuesday and Thursday. While Pat and David provided gas, life jackets, safety gear, skis and ropes out of their own pockets and from donations, they expected the kids to help out with costumes. So, Pat and David would set up fundraisers to give the youth an opportunity to raise the money and learn a bit about commitment and responsibility.
It wasn’t all fun and games. Enloe-Smith, who began skiing at 3 and joined the Outlaws officially at 6, knew the work it took to make it look so easy and come across as flawlessly as possible.
“There is a lot of dedication from the skier themselves to the coach and the driver of the boat,” she explained. “Countless hours of practice, falling and getting back up again and training until the show is perfected for the Fourth of July exhibition. All skiers are expected to work together as a team.”
Her father emphasized the importance of the team and that everybody was expected to chip in during clean-up.
Enloe-Smith recalled one of the Outlaws explaining that what made the team and work so rewarding was how her parents treated everybody. They gave all the kids a fair chance and didn’t judge on how you did but how hard you worked.
The Enloe’s passion for skiing and youth caught on among the kids themselves. Enloe-Smith said her mom would often find kids sleeping on her living room floor just waiting for the next day to ski again.
Enloe’s Outlaws thrilled and wowed people from 1980 through 1992. The team was a main act during many Aqua Booms with the kids executing dramatic stunts and maneuvers. One of their trademarks was the six-person pyramid.
The Enloe’s Outlaws came to an end, in practice at least, when David began having health issues. But the lessons and love the Enloes showed all those youth lives on through each one of them.
In 2005, David passed away.
Enloe-Smith went on to become a competitive skier throughout her high school years and won many national and regional awards. She credited her parents’ passion for water skiing and life as a big reason she followed their footsteps.
“My dedication to them is more than 100 percent,” she said of her parents. “I was a daddy’s girl. He was my coach, my best friend and my boat driver. When he got sick, I lost it all.”
But she’s not ready to close the door on the Enloe’s Outlaws.
“I hope one day to start the Enloe’s Outlaws up again and continue the legend so I can do in honor and memory of my parents (as well as) create my own memories with kids,” she said.
She and her mother, Pat, 77, will definitely be a part of this year’s parade, but they’re hoping other Outlaws will jump aboard.
“We’re all so excited,” Enloe-Smith said. “I’m honored they asked us.”
She is urging former Outlaws to contact her at email@example.com or through Facebook to link up for the parade.