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Waterskiing Legend, Dick Pope Jr. passes
Barefootski StoriesDick Pope Jr., the son of the founders of Cypress Gardens and who is credited with helping to popularize water skiing and barefooting, died Thursday evening, November 8, 2007. He was 77.
Dick Pope Jr., one of the originators of Barefoot skiing

original story (click here)
Published: Friday, November 9, 2007
Additional news, CLICK HEREPope died from pancreatic cancer about 10 p.m. at his home.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Pope is credited with introducing barefoot water skiing in 1947 and the first five-tier human pyramid in 1987.

He was in the first ski show and became a national water skiing champion before running the Gardens. He was a part of the water skiing shows from the 1940s and an early barefoot skier, although apparently not the first one.

Although some credit Pope with being the first, the Water Ski Hall of Fame says it was A.G. Hancock of Winter Haven who accomplished that feat. Hancock gives credit for the idea to Chuck Sligh of Winter Haven. Pope may have been the second to do it.

But Pope brought barefoot skiing to Cypress Gardens and popularized it.

Pope took over Cypress Gardens from his parents, Dick and Julia Pope who founded the attraction in 1936. He operated the attraction until 1985, when it was sold.

Julia Pope died in 1986 at the age of 82. Dick Pope Sr. died in 1988 at the age of 87.

The park was sold to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich publishing company in 1985, the first year that high dive and ice shows were staged.
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 @ 20:27:02 EST by milla

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