Monday, October 19, 2015


It had been a very long time since we've seen this. The lower road at PCM is finally showing through. It is covered in mud and muck and will remain roped off until the water recedes completely and it has a chance to dry out. We will likely be working with the Pontiac/Price Place Volunteer Fire Dept. to get it cleaned up and ready for traffic again. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Pontiac Fireworks are today!

Today is the day! Join us for food and fun before the fireworks.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Sumersets

When we sold our Nixa boat dealership, it was like having a log chain removed from my neck. It was time to focus on the marina again. In 1990, we sold all our rental houseboats and bought five new 64'x14' Sumersets.

One of our new rental houseboats

At the same time, Charles Luna (Johnna's brother) bought a seventy-footer. He had helped me get through the Nixa fiasco, so when we added a houseboat dock for our new rentals, he got a prime spot right next to them. Our rentals slept 10. Even though Charles's boat was bigger, he'd say it only slept two.

We decided to have postcards made that would show our houseboats, so we challenged our customers to submit their best photos. Here are a couple of the winners:

We became very efficient when it came to turning over houseboat rentals. Everything was very organized from when the reservation was taken until the final cleaning afterward. I had lists for everything: inventory, maintenance and cleaning included. Each employee had a list of duties. During the busy season we rented boats from Monday to Friday or Friday to Monday. The boats would be due in starting at 9 a.m. on those days, and we had to have them all turned around and back out by 5 p.m. the same day. Mondays and Fridays became known as "Houseboat Hell" days.

Our houseboat brochure.

Becoming a boat dealer was one of my worst ideas. Getting in the houseboat business was one of my best. The houseboat rental business was really good, but it was a maintenance nightmare. I knew if I was ever going to get any time off I had to sell them. So, we started selling them off about 12 years ago. We kept one that we completely remodeled, put new twin engines in it. And now it's for sale. Anyone interested?

Written By Cap'n T Morgan

Monday, June 08, 2015

Kinsey Prop and Marine

Things were going great in the boat business.  With the Champion Tournaments being held here we got broad exposure. I sold the boats, handled the parts and warranty and generally dealt with the customers. Norman rigged the boats, and Dave made them run fast and kept them running. However, with the broad exposure came lots of unrest from neighboring dealers. We couldn't work any boat shows because Champion would not allow it if there were resident dealers in those towns. Pat Duncan operated the Kinsey location and was always the top dealer for Champion. Located in Cape Fair, Missouri near Tablerock Lake, they were considered the Springfield dealership, keeping us out of any Springfield shows. It always seemed we were butting heads with them over boat deals and often being questioned as to our ability to set up a boat compared to them. So, when the opportunity came along in 1987 to buy the Cape Fair dealership, I jumped at the chance.

The once famous Kinsey Prop & Marine, Cape Fair, Missouri.

You know how when you find this restaurant that has really, really good food and service... just a quaint little place that might only have six or eight tables? Then they decide to expand or open a second location and it doesn't work out? Well, let me tell you... same thing can happen in the boat business. The first stumbling block was we were promised the Mercury and Champion lines when we moved the dealership to Springfield (actually to Nixa). We had to file a lawsuit against Mercury to finally get them to agree. 

Breaking news.

Our Nixa store on Highway 160 south of Springfield.
Showroom of new store. Could only show Johnson outboards at first.

We ran through many employees, I ran my legs off between the two locations trying to make it work,, but in the end it was just not meant to be. Worst of all, I misplaced two of my best employees and best friends because of that move. And, I nearly lost the whole business and my happy home in the process. I often think back: "If only I had left well enough alone and just sold a boat now and then... what might have been?"

It was not all doom and gloom in the business. We did sell a lot of boats. In 1989 we were the third largest Champion dealer in the country. In 1990 we were ninth. Then in 1988 we were second! We sold 100 Champions, all with big Mercury or Johnson outboards on them. We bought Mercury's back then by the truckload. We stored them in the building beside Just Jackie's. It was stacked full of motors ranging from 150 to 200 HP. The biggest seller was the 18'4" Champion with a 175 HP Mercury. 

1989 and 1990 awards.
Second Top Dealer Award, 1988.

Champion usually took their top 2 or 3 dealers on a fishing or hunting trip. Mine was to Cabo San Lucas. I really didn't care much about going, but Norman insisted I should go. 

Me in Cabo San Lucas with largest of four Striped Marlin I caught on that trip.
Bill Pace, national sales rep for Champion, to my right.

Maybe this is where my interest in offshore fishing began...

Written by Cap'n T Morgan

Monday, June 01, 2015

Beginner Paddle Boarding Clinic

Over the weekend we hosted a beginner paddle boarding clinic with SUP pro Heather Baus as the instructor. We are so excited about the buzz this has created and are looking forward to hosting more clinics and renting and selling boards this year! If you're interested in learning to paddle, please contact us at 417-679-3676.

Charter members of the Pontiac Paddle Club!

The majority of people at this clinic were first-timers. They all did great!

Paddling is great for kids, too!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lake Levels in the Eighties

The lake level was all over the place in the eighties. In 1980 it stayed pretty close to normal all year. In 1981 it was nine feet low to begin the year and nine feet low to end the year, which were both the "highs" for the year. In between it hit a low of about 637 (17 feet below normal pool) in April. In 1982 it finally got up to normal (654) in February and bounced around that level for most of the year until December when it started going up. It continued up for about 25 feet during that month, peaking out at 680 around the first of the year.

It's always a pain to move the docks any time the lake is going up or down, but in the winter it is extra difficult. Not only did the lake come up 25 feet in December, but then it went down 25 feet in January. That kept us very busy.

The rest of 1983 and most of 1984 the lake stayed between 650 and 660 until the winter of 1984 when once again it went up big time -- around 35 feet over the months of November and December. The last 20 feet of that came in the last two weeks of the year. Norman Eubank was working for me at the time, and I remember coming down one morning thinking we had left the walkway in good enough shape to make it through the night, yet when we got there we discovered only the top of the handrail was visible above the water.

So, after going up 35 feet at the end of 1984, it then went down 25 feet by March. Then back up 25 feet by July. Then back down nearly 40 feet by November. Then up 20 feet by December. I think it was shortly after that that many of the older private docks were either torn down or moved away.

I guess the Corps decided they had punished me (and every other dock owner) enough after that because in 1986 and 1987 the lake bounced between 657 and 645. In 1988 we saw a little up and down in the first quarter of the year, then beginning in May it dropped from 663 to 645 by November. 1989 was almost a carbon copy of the previous year.

Despite the lake levels being all over the place, fishing was pretty good in the eighties. Our old albums in the store are full of pictures, but here are a few samples:

Jim Price

Bill Allen

Left to right: Don Atchison, Steve Powell and Tony Allbright.

Written by Cap'n T Morgan

Saturday, May 09, 2015

More on the Eighties

There were a lot of things going on at the marina in the eighties. In 1986 we built our current office. The old office dock was 24-by-48 feet with a building that was 16-by-36 feet. The new one was 48-by-80 feet with a building 36-by-68 feet, so it was more than four times larger than the old one. In case you ever wondered why we have a garage door in the back of the office... well, that was how we got our display Champion boats in and out of the store.
Our first showroom boat. Chris Geroff bought this boat.

Dave Schlicht moving boat to showroom.

Newspaper clipping of new showroom. Dock employees Les Ford and Jamie Teeters standing by.

At the same time we built the 200 Dock. It had 18 double slips, and they were 18 feet wide by 26 feet long. We thought these would accommodate the "big" boats for a long time, and it did for a while, but not anymore...

200 dock under construction.

Even with a boat in the store, it still seemed empty. At the time we had a couple small beer coolers. We had just started selling beer at the dock a couple years prior to that. Quick side story: Before we started selling beer I was at a dock operator's meeting and during the "social hour" I asked the colonel at the time if we could apply for a liquor license and sell beer at the dock. He turned around and grabbed a beer out of the cooler and said, "I don't see why not!" He and I got along well. In 1990 we put in the large walk-in cooler and expanded our selection of cold beverages for sale.

On July 30, 1986 a bad storm hit the marina. In fact, three Fridays in a row we had bad storms that resulted in damage to the docks, but the one on the 30th was the worst.

It was a mess.

The roof was blown off the 500 dock. That dock was then totally destroyed in 2006.

This was actually from a previous storm, which was also a big mess.

Ed Kolaks left of me looking at damage. I think that is Mike Cochran with his back to us in the boat.

The storms kept coming. On July 4th, 1988 we had the worst hailstorm ever. It was the middle of the day, and boats were out everywhere. David Relyea, Goldfire sailboat owner, was anchored up at The Saddle. He would occasionally call in on the VHF radio to report weather and other activities. He first called and said a storm was rolling in, then he said it was hailing, then he said "Listen to these hailstones!" Within a few minutes it hit Pontiac.

Biggest hailstones I've ever seen.

Tom Antoff shows off one of the hailstones.

Written by Cap'n T. Morgan