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Wisconsin Teens Compete for Coveted Mail Boat Jumper Jobs on Lake Geneva


Every summer, Wisconsin teens eagerly vie for the prestigious role of Mail Boat jumper on Lake Geneva, a unique and exhilarating tradition that has captivated locals and tourists alike. The U.S. Mailboat Walworth, a centerpiece of this tradition, delivers mail to the houses encircling the picturesque lake. In 2024, this remarkable service celebrates its 108th year of operation, continuing to blend history with athleticism and community spirit.

High school and college-aged applicants undergo a rigorous selection process, showcasing their agility and precision as they leap from the moving Mailboat Walworth onto piers dotting the lake. The job is no simple task—the boat never stops moving, requiring jumpers to deliver the mail to mailboxes and retrieve any outgoing mail before expertly hopping back onto the boat. Those who misjudge their timing often find themselves taking an unexpected dip in the lake.

The tryouts are a spectacle in themselves. Potential jumpers demonstrate their physical prowess, but that’s only part of the challenge. They must also impress judges with their ability to serve as tour guides. During the Mailboat Tour, jumpers provide historical narration to passengers, sharing fascinating stories and insights about Lake Geneva. Judges evaluate their speaking skills and knowledge of local history, ensuring that only the most well-rounded candidates are selected. Athletic skill alone isn’t enough; a successful jumper must also be an engaging and informative tour guide.

Passengers on Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s U.S. Mailboat Tour get a front-row seat to this unique competition. As the Mailboat makes its rounds, they witness the jumpers in action, adding an extra layer of excitement to the scenic tour. For those on board, it’s an opportunity to experience a living piece of Lake Geneva’s history and cheer on the aspiring jumpers as they navigate their challenging and dynamic roles.

This annual tradition not only keeps the legacy of mail delivery by boat alive but also fosters a sense of community and adventure among the young participants. As Lake Geneva looks forward to another year of this time-honored practice, both locals and visitors alike celebrate the spirit and dedication of the Mailboat jumpers who continue to make it all possible.

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