Waterhawks pay tribute to fallen young skier - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterhawks pay tribute to fallen young skier

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EVANSDALE (KWWL) -

The Waterhawks Ski Team performed a show unlike any other Sunday night.  The performance comes after one of their youngest members died in a boating accident at Eagle Lake last week. Nine-year-old Bodee Peterson of Hudson died after being hit by a boat propeller Wednesday.  He would have entered the fourth grade at Hudson Elementary School the next day.

Peterson's family said they wanted Sunday's show to go on as scheduled, and it did. 

The Waterhawks Ski Team puts on a thrilling show.  Usually, their performances draw a few hundred fans.  But Sunday, nearly 2,000 packed Eagle Lake in Evansdale to pay tribute to the young skier whose life was cut short.

"Tanner, Bodee's older brother, asked us to not cancel the show this weekend and to do the show.  So here we are.  We're in a day of celebration for Bodee and hope to have a good show for everybody," said Larry Meany, Waterhawks Ski Team president.

Certainly the past few days haven't been easy for the team.  But beyond the Waterhawks organization, ski clubs across the country have offered support.  And because the Waterhawks group of skiers is like a family, they've been able to lean on each other, finding comfort in celebrating the joy Bodee Peterson brought into their lives.

"He was always really upbeat, and he always won no matter what.  He was a great kid," one fellow skier said.

In the wake of Peterson's traffic death, skiing safety is top of mind.  The Waterhawks made a point to demonstrate the spotters and safety boats that patrol the waters during every practice and ski show.  And club leaders say Peterson's death could lead to some additional safety measures being put into practice.

"Hopefully this was the pure definition of the word accident.  We have looked at the situation, and we may make a few changes.  But Waterhawks have always put safety in the forefront, and we will continue to do so," Meany said.

Beyond that, the Waterhawks want to celebrate the mark Peterson left on the close-knit skiing community.  Donations raised during Sunday's ski show will benefit his family.  And in the long term, the Waterhawks hope to establish some kind of memorial that will keep the young skier's memory and passion for the sport alive.

Beyond the Waterhawks, Bodee Peterson's death has really impact the entire skiing community.  Another ski club that's hosting a tournament in the Wisconsin Dells next month has already decided all the proceeds from that event will be donated to Peterson's memorial fund.

The Waterhawks have canceled their next show, but will still perform Labor Day weekend to close out the season.  Bodee Peterson's funeral is set for Wednesday at Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls.

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