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Polka Dot Express ready to again glamorize big show

Polka Dot Express ready to again glamorize big show


REVIEW FILE PHOTO - The Polka Dot Express is again ready to dazzle the crowd on Sunday at the Oswego Heritage Council Collector Car and Classic Boat Show.

If you happen to catch a member of the Polka Dot Express after their performance at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, you might thank them for restoring Lake Oswego’s water-skiing tradition.

Back in the 1950s and ’60s, LO was the water-skiing capital of the Northwest. But the skis, swimsuits and bunny ears had been put away for decades until Lita Grigg decided to put on the water skis again after 47 years. When she first got out on a lake with her water skis Grigg wondered, “What in the heck am I doing?” But she discovered her spirit was willing, and her flesh wasn’t weak.

“I never thought I would return to the sport I loved in my youth,” Grigg said. “But I saw a new challenge to water ski again that gave me purpose, introduced me to new friends, and brought another positive outcome through teamwork.”

Many of Grigg’s new friends turned out to be from the new water-skiing team she formed, the Polka Dot Express, named for the stunning, red polka dot red swimsuits they wear. Some of the team members laughingly call themselves the water-skiing moms or water-skiing grandmothers.

The team is filled with unique personalities, such as funny lady Karin Wishan. Her avocation is performing at ComedySportz in Portland, where she can do any crazy thing that comes into her head. She can also do a comedy water-skiing act with her husband Eric. But with the Express she plays it straight as a glamorous water skier.

“When I saw the Polka Dot Express for the first time with my husband, I told him I wanted to be one of those Polka Dot ladies,” Wishan said.

Having just as much fun will be Janet Van Rysselberghe.

“I enjoy participating in the antique water ski show because it’s a great way to celebrate the sport and the heritage it has in Lake Oswego,” Van Rysselberghe said. “In addition, it’s such fun and a great time with wonderful ladies!”

Grigg has never lost the dazzling smile she had when she was Miss Oregon in 1966, and it will be at full wattage during the Express performance.

“The Polka Dot Express are a group of amazing ladies who bring added joy each year to Lake Oswego’s weekend event of the antique car and boat show,” Grigg said.

Joining Grigg, Wishan and Van Rysselberghe on the Express line will be Shawn Engelberg, Jan Koenig, Ruthie White, Katharyn Thompson and Sara Anstine.

The Polka Dot ladies will be skiing with the rest of the antique water-skiing show on Lakewood Bay, which can be viewed from Millennium Plaza Park, 200 First St., or Sundeleaf Plaza, 120 S. State St.

Coinciding with these water-skiing wonders will be the Lake Oswego Heritage Council Collector Car & Classic Boat Show, which will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 28 at three locations around town: Oswego Lake’s Lakewood Bay off of Sundeleaf Plaza; George Rogers Park, 611 S. State St.; Foothills Park, 199 Foothills Drive. This event and the water-skiing show are free to attend.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..