Geneva Lake holds mailboat jumper tryouts
LAKE GENEVA (WITI) -- For more than a century, they've been delivering the mail a little differently on Geneva Lake.
What started in 1916 continues each summer.
"My grandma's cousin was one of the first females to jump. I don't know, maybe I'm carrying on a little family tradition here," said prospective jumper, Katie Theisz.
Packed tours run seven days a week on the U.S. Mailboat Walworth.
"It's a workout, it takes a lot out of you, but the people keep it fresh. It's always their first time seeing it and they're always completely in awe," Theisz said.
And there is a reason - beyond entertainment - for keeping the boat moving. If it stopped at every pier, the Walworth would be at the mercy of the wind and waves.
"That way I can steer and effectively keep from hitting the pier," explained captain Neill Frame.
Tuesday was tryout day for a new crop of jumpers. Savvy veterans and hopeful rookies all auditioned for one of the more unique summer jobs you can land.
"These new kids have never done this. It's not something that you can practice prior. I feel like we'll at least get one spill today," Theisz said.
A refreshing rite of passage.
" I just jumped and I didn't really think about it. And I just tumbled off," said first-time jumper, Paige Aspinall.
Because in the end, it's not whether you fall or whether you get left behind, it's whether you get back up and give mailboat jumping another try.
If you want to see the mailboat jumpers in person, the tours run seven days a week from the Riviera Docks in Lake Geneva.