Photo via Rock Aqua Jays on Facebook

JANESVILLE — Longtime Rock Aqua Jay ski boat driver Tom Cullen is being inducted into the Wisconsin Water Ski Hall of Fame, the club announced Thursday.

Cullen joins a collection of Rock Aqua Jays already in the Hall of Fame, including JR Wilson, Barb and Duane Snow, Rich LaCount, Janie-Dibble Woods, Jerry Jensen and Cathy and Gerry Luiting.

Cullen will be in the Competitor Category of the Hall of Fame. The ceremony will happen on Saturday March 2nd, 2024 at the Wisconsin Water Ski Convention & Expo in the Wisconsin Dells.

Cullen has been an important cog in the gears of success for the Rock Aqua Jays for nearly 40 years, according to a news release from the club.

He joined the ski team in 1977 and two years later was using his personal Ski Tique boat in the show at the 1979 Nationals when they became the first amateur team to use multiple boats in a tournament.

His personal boats would be used by the Aqua Jays for another five years until the club could afford its second tow boat.

Cullen would spend a total of 39 years at the helm of a ski team boat, from inboards to a twin rig and finally the last 10 years as a triple rig driver. That adds up to thousands of hours pulling practices late into the night, without complaint.

Cullen has pulled every act in the show at some point – and took a lot of pride in the barefoot line and barefoot pyramid acts.

Cullen has a very unselfish attitude; willing to put others first and do his part when and where needed on the team, including serving as President of the Rock Aqua Jays for three years in the 1980s.

In additional to helping the team, Cullen served Chairman of National Tournament committee multiple times when it was hosted in Janesville regularly between 1981 through 1999. It was during this period when show nationals was aired on ESPN’s Hot Summer Nights program.

Cullen drove in every national tournament for the Rock Aqua Jays between 1979 thru 2017 Nationals. During that 38 year span he was part of 23 Best Boat Driving Crews and 19 overall Team titles. An incredible feat by measure.

In 2014, he was at the helm when a Word Record Barefoot Line of 25 barefooters were pulled behind a triple rig with Mercury engines.

Cullen drove in every state tournament for the Rock Aqua Jays between 1979 thru 2017. During that time he was part of 13 State Boat Driving Awards and 17 State Team Titles!

He also took great pride in being part of the boat driving crew to do tandem pulls. He was the lead boat in China when a World record 55-person pyramid was achieved.