In the early 1980’s, my uncle and my father (Jim & Tom Woog, both serial entrepreneurs) conspired to open an outdoor family fun center called Free Wheelin’ on 77 acres in the small town of Crosslake, Minnesota. The park opened in 1985 with a mile long, 50 foot wide ATV track where customers rode Honda 3-wheelers. It was an instant hit and the two families ventured into the amusement park industry with gusto.
The summer of 1988 brought with it a heat wave and drought unseen in over 100 years, and customers would come to the park, ride, and then venture down the road to a nearby stand alone water slide attraction that had just opened. Waterslides were the up and coming new water feature and people wanted to cool off in the heat. A friend of Tom’s mentioned something that sparked a dream. A water balloon attraction to cool people down so they would stay at our park longer, and therefore increase business. Tom literally woke up in the middle of the night after having a dream so detailed that even the dimensions needed to build the first Water Wars were visible.
Tom literally woke up in the middle of the night after having a dream so detailed that even the dimensions needed to build the first Water Wars were visible.
The business continues with me as a second generation owner. We’ve grown slowly and steadily to now building and selling 17 different games and attractions, 11 of which are portable and stationary versions of Water Wars. We’ve also added a water explosion feature called ‘Depth Charge’ that can be added to nearly any Water Wars that provides a huge increase in fun and excitement while also expanding our product line by adding other popular industry games and attractions from Whirlwhims in 2013. Although Tom is technically retired from the business, he still provides inspiration, master craftsmanship coaching, and a love for people on a daily basis. I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had through our family business, and getting to know so many of our customers, vendors, and partners around the globe brings a great sense of gratitude. If we don’t know you yet, we hope to soon.
Tommy Woog, Owner