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Memories of Boatbuilder Gatherings

On September 15, 2015, in Gatherings, News From Gayle, by Gayle Brantuk
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Bill Edmundson

Bill and his unfinished Tahoe

This year’s Gathering of Boatbuilder’s is this weekend, September 18 – 20 at Hales Bar Marina & Resort in Guild, Tennessee. See the Forum for details. The following post was originally posted on the Forum by Bill Edmundson, one of our Forum Moderators, boatbuilder, Gathering organizer and so much more!

This is one of the longest posts that I have ever made. It could be much longer.
We’re coming up on the Gathering, G-9. I started thinking of all the things that I remember from the past Gatherings. This thing could go on and on.

It started out with a few of us saying we should get together sometime. I think it was Ken Schott that finally put it into words. Now where? We looked at where we seemed to have the most forum activity and it looked like the most central location was North Alabama or lower Tennessee. Dave and Connie Grason and I decided to scout some locations. We decided to look at Guntersville AL. We checked several places. Lake Guntersville State Park looked perfect. It had cabins, a lodge, RV park, camp grounds and a good boat ramp. We just posted… “That’s It.”

We really didn’t expect much of a crowd. Maybe, we would have 3 or 4 boats and 6 to 8 people drinking beer around a campfire. I don’t remember the final count. I think it was about 75 people and 15 to 20 boats. We had people from Canada; Bruce Dow and his dad Brian. We had Bob Maskel from Minnesota who had never posted, just showed up. We had KenS who came from Savannah GA. Barry, Anke, Gayle & John came from Glen-L. I can’t name everybody. But, we were shocked at the turnout.

Ken Schott & Low Country Boil – Yum!

“Leakcheck” and his Grill O’ Plenty

The first year we really didn’t know what to expect. We threw together a quick menu as the count of people grew. I decided to do Jerk Chicken, Black-eyed peas & rice and a Mango salad. Ken made a Low Country Boil. Late in the afternoon Leakcheck (Steve Sawtel) finally showed up with a beer keg. Nothing like being late with the beer. I yelled something derogatory at him. He replied, “You Must Be Bill! BTW, that’s Mr. A.H. to you.” Steve made up for it when he opened up the back of the “magic truck” and pulled out a big grill, deep fryer… The man can cook for a crowd!

Butch & Paula Barto’s Tahoe, “Innocence”

John Bowen and I had started cooking the Jerk Chicken when Butch & Paula Barto pulled in their RV pulling Innocence. I had met them at a charity boat show. They went to set up camp. Then I looked at John and said, “That’s Barto coming down the lake!” There is no mistaking that big block V8.

Butch at the helm of “Innocence”

hegytorpedo1

Roberta Hegy with her “Torpedo” as featured in Boating Magazine. Roberta will be at this year’s Gathering with her Torpedo!

Over the years we’ve changed a few things and people have come and gone. The constants are good food, good music and good people.

I remember two little girls getting the “Cutest Tugboat Captains” award. They were so proud of that. One went and called her mother and they both looked at the award under the dock lights all evening.

I remember a young man with a Super Spartan. It was a cold windy day and the lake was rough. He was determined to go out. He came back in soaking wet, cold and with a big smile on his face.

I remember Roberta taking on the Torpedo after Glen-L had pulled it off the market. That hasn’t stopped her. With her help the design will come back out. That’s where her “Queen of the Boat Builders” came from.

Many of us have become long term friends. We meet each other at boat shows. People travel to help with turning boats and finding materials.

I remember, Bruce Dow needed a flame arrester for his old CC engine. Soloboat, from California, located one in Minnesota, and Bob Maskel said that was about 10 minutes from his house. He’d go check it out for Bruce.

Lauren & I decided we’d had enough working life and retired in 2012. We had always talked about a trip down under. That is as far from where we grew up as you can get. The Aussies decided they should do a Gathering. We had the privilege of being part of it! Same story, Great People, Great Food and Great Fun.

There are so many memories. I can’t write all of them and ever finish this. All this just boils down to one word. “Friends!”

Come join us.

Bill

This year’s Gathering of Boatbuilder’s is this weekend, September 18 – 20 at Hales Bar Marina & Resort in Guild, Tennessee. See the Forum for details.

Some of the crew from the very first Gathering in 2007.

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