From the shores of Lake Minnedosa to the open water of Bogota, Colombia, Vailla Hoggan rode the wave of water skiing.
Born Dec. 19, 1947 in Brandon, Hoggan was just 12 years old when she won her first provincial title and 13 years old when she won her first national championship title. For 10 years, Hoggan dominated national women’s water skiing winning six straight overall Canadian championship titles in 1964-69.
From humble beginnings at the family cottage on Clear Lake behind a neighbour’s boat, Hoggan’s parents moved the family cottage when she was 13 years old Minnedosa where she honed her skills surrounded by the pride and encouragement from the Westman community.
“I believe the tremendous support I received from a smaller community was very special, I don’t think that would have been possible in an urban setting,” said Hoggan, who retired from water skiing at age 22 in 1970 to pursue her education. “My parents sacrificed a lot and the community really rallied around me and helped me financially. I’m forever grateful for that.”
Hoggan was the six-time Open and four-time Closed provincial champion in Manitoba in 1961-1965 and 1970 and earned provincial titles in Ontario and Quebec in 1966-69. At 18 years of age in 1966, Hoggan competed in her first of four international competitions including two world championships in 1967 and 1969. Her most significant accomplishment in the sport was in 1968 when she became the first Canadian woman to win gold in slalom at the Group 1 (North and South America) Championships in Bogota, Colombia.
She enjoyed a successful career as a teacher and counsellor at numerous schools in Winnipeg School Division I before moving into administration. Vailla Hoggan was principal of Daniel McIntyre Collegiate when she retired in December, 2002. Still living in Winnipeg but spending her winters in Arizona, Hoggan said she last water skied about three years ago.
“But if I was with friends and someone had a boat, I’d probably go out again,” said Hoggan, 59.
b. December 19th, 1947