Classic Indoor Boating – In The Land Of 10,000 Skating Rinks

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Looking down on the huge Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes Chapter display at the Minnesota Convention Center. – Photo courtesy Jim Arneson

WELL, IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN – when most waterways are bit too cold for any serious classic boating adventures, and many enthusiasts are starting to get excited about visiting Florida in March for the annual Sunnyland boat show.

And those hardy folks from Minnesota and the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes (BSLOL) Chapter have finally had a chance to catch their breath after the very successful Woods and Water show in September – just in time to do another boat show, this time indoors.

Last weekend the antique & classic boating hobby was well represented at the 2016 Minnesota Winter Boat Show, held at the 400,000 square foot Minneapolis Convention Center.

Steve Shoop (BSLOL Past President) chaired the winter boat show committee. He figures (of the 100,000 plus show attendees) there was some level of engagement with about 1000 people per day at the BSLOL display. The show ran for four days from Thursday afternoon through Sunday evening – and 4 to 6 BSLOL volunteers were on hand working the display during all show hours. Steve was also featured on two local TV news spots. So the coverage of the show was great.

Busy Display

BSLOL floor display – photo courtesy Jim Arneson.

Growth is at the forefront of the hobby these days. The key to successful recruiting is not only getting in front of the public, but taking advantage of those opportunities. An interesting, diverse display of classic boats at a major boat show that attracts more than 100,000 people, and enough volunteers that every visitor has someone to talk to is essential for success. The hobby has to go beyond the hobby to attract fresh new membership.

Minnesota correspondent Dane Anderson stopped by the show a few times to snap a few photos for us, and Jim Arneson stitched together the impressive aerial shots for the header and cover photo today. – Texx

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A great looking 1952 14-foot Larson Dual Cockpit Cedar Strip Runabout powered by a 1958 35HP Evinrude Lark outboard. Reported to be the only one of these models known to exist.

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Vintage outboard engines are popular in the state of Minnesota, allowing people to navigate the more than 10,000 lakes throughout the state back in the day.

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A wonderful example of a 1961 15-foot Larson All-American on display powered by a 1960 75HP Evinrude Fat Four – Larson Boats were manufactured in Little Falls, MN.

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Our friend Del VanEmerik with his radical 1959 Car Aqua originally built in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Only three of these hulls are known to exist from the original production run in 1958-59.

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This cool Car Aqua boasts many automotive related features including headlights (with high & low beam settings), tail lights and faux grill. Also utilizes a rare 1950s Michigan Lowloader trailer. Del restores his vintage boat trailers with the same care & attention to detail as his fiberglass boat restorations and outboards – always perfect.

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The Car Aqua is powered by a pair of perfectly restored 45HP Scott McCulloch outboards which were originally manufactured in Minneapolis, MN.

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Dave Watts from Little Rock Boat Works displayed this beautiful 1949 Century 20-foot Seamaid, powered by a Grey Marine Fireball Six 140.

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It’s always great to see a restored Century gauge package featured in the 1949 Seamaid model.

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Local classic fiberglass expert Scott McInnes of Shipwreck Boat Repair was on hand at the Minnesota Boat Show with a few cool Glastron Jetflites. Scott has quite a following in the Minnesota / Wisconsin area.

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A great shot of the unique transom on this cedar strip, canvas covered 1939 14-foot Larson Falls Flyer – with the 1939 Evinrude Speedtwin outboard. Larson always thought outside the box when it came to hull design…

Any time there’s a classic boat show or event in Minnesota, you are sure to find our friend and Woody Boater sponsor Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service. Dave had his own display this year and also provided some boats for the BSLOL display.

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Dave Bortner presenting a nice 1940 Chris-Craft 18-foot Sportsman for sale through Freedom Boat Service. (Rare to see Dave in long pants…)

And it Looks like Dave has ventured into the classic ladder business offering some Limited Edition 1952 EEZ-IN Boarding Ladders for sale. As the photo below shows, they look perfect for when you are trying to climb back in to your Hacker triple after stopping in the middle of the lake for a dip…

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Also on display this year is this rare 1946 Gar Wood 22-foot sedan represented by Freedom Boat Service.

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Also spotted at the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes display area was “Rocketeer” a very rare 1948 23-foot Ventnor Boat Company classic powered by twin Greymarine Fireball 145HP engines and a red fin!

Special thanks to Dane Anderson and Jim Arneson for sharing these photos with us today, and congratulations to the volunteers and organizers from the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes Chapter on another successful event.


20 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Thanks for the report. Great way to start the day plus I learned something new. Never knew that Falls Flyers were canvas covered.

    • Pete johnson
      Pete johnson says:

      Falls flyers were cedar strip boats from the late 30’s until 1954 then they made it out of fiberglass 1955 thru 1957 they still had wood dashes,side boards .seat bottoms and backs. The boat was designed after one of Charles Lindberghs planes,it was a open twin cockpit and canvas covered. The Falls was for Little Falls and the Flyer was for Charles. If you look on the front of the boat it has Eagles wings for the lone eagle.

      • Texx
        Texx says:

        Pete Johnson – Facebook viewer Scott Middelsteadt sent us this request:

        Can you get a few pictures of the 1939 Larson Falls Flyer at the Minnesota boat show? I rescued that boat out of a shed on Wisconsin (scheduled for a Bon-fire the next day) started restoring it, then sold it to a collector in Minnesota that finished it, love seeing that it’s been finished. I was told there are only two that old that they know of.

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I am always amazed at the number of events the BSLOL chapter does. They are an energetic bunch for sure.

    Thanks for the wonderful coverage.

  3. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    Great report. Love the Ariel shots. It is always interesting to see what the various chapters do for a show space to ward off the “blahs” of winter………….

  4. Bill Anderson
    Bill Anderson says:

    In my thoughts I like showing on a trailer on land so people can see the whole package,,and get up close to it,the trailer get as much work as the boat a lot of times,I understand that the new trailers ride better ect, but it just seems like a whole package,this just shows that Delbert looks good on water or trailer, also I realize that our boats tend to be smaller and lighter, my thoughts Bill

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      I agree, Bill, I bought this little gem just to display on land at shows, because I think this trailer has as much “Style” and eye appeal as the boat. While the boat looks great in the water, the crowds are looking down into the boat and miss her sweeping profile lines, and miss out on seeing the trailer.

  5. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Thanks for the great photos of this year’s Indoor Show. Although this involves a huge amount of work and coordination to set up and then move back out, it’s well worth the effort. Classic boating displays are usually the single most visited and are usually voted as visitors favorite displays. Great exposure to our hobby.

  6. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Nice varied display. Looks like Paul’s Gar Wood. Did he bring it South for a milder winter? No, someone else must have brought it. Didn’t hear of any roadside issues.

    • Scott K
      Scott K says:

      The Harrison’s brought the GarWood sedan to the Woods & Water event and left it with Dave Bortner after the event to broker a sale…..I’ve been playing the lottery since 🙂

  7. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    I applaud each and every ACBS Chapter’s members that make the effort to attend these types of indoor winter boat shows. As I wrote in last year’s Classic Corner in the winter issue of Scuttlebutt, it takes a hell of a lot of work by all involved; from all the volunteers setting up, manning and tearing down the display area, to the boats owners who have to pull their pride n joy out of storage, and travel wintery roads to and from the show site. It makes for a long, long week for all involved.
    From all of us involved in the hobby/lifestyle, we thank you for your efforts, to help bring joy and memories to all the thousands of boat show visitors around the country, each winter/spring.

  8. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
    Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude says:

    Another great BSLOL display. Excellent variety even tho there were three boats from Larson displayed!. I am glad to have passed the coordinator mantel onto others a few years ago – boy oh boy is a lot of work to pull off our display. But it was great to be at the show for portions of two days to chat up the great hobby of vintage boats. The folks that attend the show don’t seam to bat an eye at new a $170,000 pontoon but they shake their head at one of these great classic watercraft. Goofy, isn’t it.

  9. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    With a fully stocked wet bar on those things, it doesn’t take long for the passengers to forget the ugly.

  10. John A. Gambill
    John A. Gambill says:

    Del is the person who taught and educated me several years ago about how the restore a classic glass boat. Without his patience and skill I never would have gotten to first base in the classic glass boat hobby. He is a skilled craftsman. She’s lookin great as usual Del!

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      I love the old glass; a Glastron very similar to the red and white one featured was my first classic, and we still use and enjoy it very regularly throughout the summer.

      The guys who got involved in the preservation of these boats when they were derided as junk and mocked mercilessly deserve special credit. They deserve as much credit as the guys who first started to preserve the early wood stuff in the ’60’s, who rescued the boats we all now covet from the proverbial burn pile. It takes dedication and a keen sense of commitment to step out in front of the herd and see value and connection where others see junk – I am thankful for these very prescient folks who came along long before me.

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