25th annual Escape to the Lake a success

Posted: Jun 27 2019
25th annual Escape to the Lake a success
Escape to the Lake, the adaptive recreation water extravaganza founded and organized by NDAD for people with physical disabilities, completed its 25th annual event June 15 with some memorably fun times in and out of the water.

In the process, the event itself escaped an earlier rainy forecast that had been revised toward better conditions Saturday morning.  The sky did produce some wind and brief raindrops, mostly during lunchtime, before providing a partly sunny sky that brightened the afternoon.

Twenty-one physically disabled child and adult skiers made at least one ski run on the lake, and some skied a second time, including several youthful newcomers. Two of the four original Escape skiers from the early 1990s, Brent Grondahl and Mike Gibbens, were among the other skiers. 

Gibbens, NDAD's ambassador who has cerebral palsy, helped bring adaptive waterskiing to North Dakota after trying it in Texas and encouraging his parents, NDAD co-founders Faye and Ron Gibbens, to bring it north. Ron Gibbens, NDAD's board president who's retired from overseeing daily operations, attended the event; Faye Gibbens died in 2014.

Many other Escape participants took pontoon rides provided by NDAD's longtime on-site event partner, Sporting Chance North Dakota, whose members were among the volunteers providing key shore support. The Aberdeen (S.D.) Aqua Addicts once again provided on-site support with boats, two side skiers for each adaptive skier and performers for the annual post-lunch acrobatic ski show. Revolutions Power Sports of Grand Forks again donated the use of two personal watercraft for use as additional ski support on each ski run.

Lunch was provided free to participants, their families, caregivers and event volunteers.

Escape to the Lake also was made possible with help from these additional supporters: Cass County Electric Cooperative Foundation, Fargo; CircuitGizmos, Mandan; Knutson Printing, Grand Forks; McLean Electric Cooperative Foundation, Garrison; MDU Resources Foundation, Bismarck; Northern Plains Electric Cooperative Operation Round Up, Cando / Carrington; Prairie Patriot Firearms Training, Mandan; Pub 21, Bismarck; Roughrider Electric Cooperative Operation Round Up, Hazen / Dickinson; and Southgate Casino Bar & Grill, Grand Forks.

More about Escape to the Lake, including links to photographs and videos from the event, HERE

Jenny Chavez
NDAD provided much-needed assistance to Jenny Chavez years ago to help widen the doorways in the Devils Lake mobile home she purchased and also to install an accessible shower. Jenny has quadriplegia caused by a 2000 auto accident. The 39-year-old uses a wheelchair and a wheeled commode that doubles as a shower chair. By spring 2018, Jenny desperately ...
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