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Blue Moo – Home of the USA Barefoot Nationals 2014/2015 and the 2016 Worlds

US Nationals

What would you expect to find in the heart of America’s Dairyland, nestled in the midst of tree covered hills and deeply carved coulees? Barns and silos? Wildlife? Amber waves of grain? A world-class Barefoot lake? All are true in this little slice of heaven on earth known as Alma Center, Wisconsin, the site of the 2014 and 2015 Nationals and the 2016 Worlds.

Owned by the Heller Family, the Blue Moo is a private lake. Spring fed and built and designed for this specific purpose, the “Blue Moo” sole purpose is hosting Barefoot Waterski events. The lake was built only 30 meters wide and designed with 4-8 meter high banks that run parallel to the lake’s 860 meter length to keep wind exposure at a very low level. Wind penetration over the banks is nearly non-existant. The high banks also provide a perfect environment for spectators. Elevated by the banks, the bleacher seating giving spectators an unencumbered view of any run from start to finish. The Blue Moo was also designed to enhance the officials’ experience. The officials’ offices are located centrally to everything else. Officials are only a few steps from the boat landing with covered boat barn, announcer’s tower, bleachers, jump ramp, food service, parking and restrooms.

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The 2014 and 2015 Nationals will be hosted by The Minnesota Barefooters Association and the Heller Family. Paul Adams and Cody Heller, president of the American Barefootwaterski Club, will serve as Co-Tournament Directors. The 2014 Nationals will run from August 12-16. The 2015 National dates are TBD.

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This site offers a beautiful landscape, rich Wisconsin culture, and a strong historical presence. Black River Falls, Wisconsin makes a great location for a host city as the city is large enough to offer great lodging and food but yet small enough to provide all participants that special “hometown” feel. Just 10 minutes from the city of Black River Falls, you will find everything you need for an enjoyable Nationals experience. The city of Black River Falls has 12 restaurants in the city limits. Within fifteen minutes of the hotel there are seven more upscale nightclubs with great food and nightlife. Black River Falls has a city Brewery giving tours weekly as well. Within twenty minutes of the site there are twenty vacation home rentals that are available for teams and families to rent. The host hotel, restaurants, casino, and other evening diversions are just 15 minutes from the venue.

The City of Black River falls is a historic and friendly community in the heart of west central Wisconsin and is the County Seat for Jackson County, designated in 1853. The City is centrally located in Jackson County with the villages of Melrose, Taylor, Hixton, Alma Center and Merrillan within a 15-mile radius. A good network of County Trunk Roads and State Highways link the villages to each other and to the city.

Black River Country, as this area is known, offers something for every outdoor enthusiast. Hikers and birdwatchers will enjoy over 200,000 acres of wilderness just waiting to be explored. Mountain bikers will find great woodland trails. The Black River State Forest has 34 miles of designated mountain bike trails. The Wazee recreational area provides nine miles of mountain bike trail – this trail follows the old Jackson county iron mine sites and provides breath-taking vistas of eastern Jackson County.  ATVers can ride hundreds of miles of the best trails in Wisconsin. If off-road motorcycling is more your game, Black River Country has 16.5 miles of single-track trails.

Fishing and boating is fantastic on the beautiful Black River and Lake Arbutus. You can fish for walleye, pan fish, northern pike, musky. Jackson County has some of the finest streams and rivers in Wisconsin. With few rapids, the Black River is an excellent river for family canoeing. The river is dotted with sand bars, ideal for camping and sun bathing. Jackson County and the Black River State Forest offer many opportunities for hikers. There are over 100 miles or more of hiking trails across Jackson County for your enjoyment. Breath-taking scenery and wildlife are abundant in Jackson County for the nature lover.

Wazee Lake is one of the best dives in the Midwest.  At 355 feet, it is the deepest lake in Wisconsin. The water is crystal clear and has lots to explore. During summer months, visibility is 30 to 40 feet—and in the winter, it can be as much as 60 feet.  Beginning in the 1960s, the Jackson County Iron Mine Quarry supplied taconite pellets to the steel mills of East Chicago. Massive pumps kept the quarry from filling with water. In April of 1983, when the mine closed, these pumps were turned off and the 355-foot quarry, complete with roadways and a small forest began to rapidly fill with water. Divers can follow the abandoned mining roads as they descend into the depths or swim through the underwater forests. There are a number of sheer rock faces, as well as numerous fish and abundant aquatic plants. You’ll also find a shipwreck that’s fun to explore.

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We look forward to welcoming you to God’s Country! See you in August!

Cody Heller

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