Hagerty’s “Operation Ignite” At Lake Minnetonka

The Hagerty Insurance “Operation Ignite” is a suite of programs designed to grow young people’s interest in classic cars and boats. Since its official inception in 2009, over 1,500 young people have been given insider’s access to the classic car and boat hobbies, through activities such as the Hagerty Youth Judging Program.

At many events around the country, young judges learn the basics of judging while taking a look at select classic cars and boats, interacting with owners and learning details, facts and the history of each vehicle.

Hagerty’s “Operation Ignite” Youth Judging Program continues to be a popular part of many antique & classic boat shows around the country, including last weekend’s 37th Annual Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes Chapter (BSLOL) Lake Minnetonka Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous in Minnesota.

Fellow Woody Boater Dane Anderson was at the show on Lake Minnetonka and snapped these photos of the youth judging team at this year’s event.

Dane commented – “Brad Ernst did a fantastic job of leading the kids through the pre selected boats to be judged for the special award. The photo (above) shows the judging team sitting in the front cockpit of Dave Bortner’s 1938 Hackercraft.”

“We sneaked a photo of one of the score sheets – and after close inspection of all the boats and the judges scoring sheets were counted…”

“This year’s special Youth Judging Award sponsored by Hagerty Marine Insurance went to Dave Bortner and Seaflow II.”

BSLOL Chapter President Dick Mickelson and the judges presenting the award to Dave Bortner.

Thanks to Hagerty Marine Insurance and the many volunteer’s who donate their time to work with the kids at events like this. And the best part is – Everybody wins!

Dave Bortner is with Freedom Boat Service in Mound, Minnesota. “Seaflow II” is a stunning 1938 Hackercraft 28′ Triple Cockpit Runabout powered by a Scripps Model 312 / V-12.

Sea Flow II – Algonac 2012

Thanks to Dane Anderson for sharing this story with us today.


17 replies
  1. Andreas
    Andreas says:

    It was rigged. I bribed those two little judges on the right with M & M’s and promise of a boat ride. I still didn’t get the award. Just kidding. I know the young judges had a great time and loved being able to participate. Too kool for school!

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The score sheets are messed up. All the wrong categories!

    It should read…

    1) Looks Kool?
    2) Bitchen’ Engine?
    3) Sounds rad at start and idle?
    4) Acceleration?
    5) Super Fast?
    6) Scary Turns?
    7) Wave jumping?
    8) Ice Cream?

    • Chad
      Chad says:

      9) Loudest Horn

      Those guys judged my boat once and I suffered a hefty deduction for having a “wimpy” horn.

      Great program! Thanks Hagerty for helping fuel the fire within our children.

      • m-fine
        m-fine says:

        I thought things like “loud horn” and “floats” fell into the prerequisites to even be judged category. And probably in that order! First thing the kids do when I hook up the betteries in the spring is test the horns!

        • Pumpkin
          Pumpkin says:

          Not so fast, M-Fine. When the youth judges asked about the horn on Miss America IX at Tavares this past spring, Chuck Mistele replied he didn’t need one, and then he told the yourg lady judge sitting behind the wheel to press the start button. She did! They agreed – he didn’t need a horn!

  3. Carla
    Carla says:

    Great story, Matt. Hagerty is very proud of ALL our youth judges who have participated in this program at a show (or two)! We love seeing “repeats” the following year! Please send us your photos of the judges at your show!!

  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    10) Vehicle entertainment systems?
    11) Soda dispensers?
    12) Ejection seats (for siblings)?

    Thanks Hagerty for your roll bringing kids into this addiction.

    Though it is a bit ironic the top collector insurance company uses the word “Ignite” in any context relating to classic boats. 🙂

  5. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    I too got real nervous when I saw “Operation Ignite”… a new program for writing off boats??? Then read and understand – and applaud!

    This is one of the real challenges we face in our hobbies. This past weekend at the Kirkland Councours d’Elegance held at the LeMay Museum, the kids voted their favorite across the stand: A 2012 Lamborghini… sorta confirming the video game generation has firmly established their aesthetic. That’s OK – they still thought some of those old cars were pretty cool!

  6. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    It’s always about the horn…the kids love it. Nice boat but wimpy horn, sorry….next! The kids at the Lake Oswego show judged by the same strict standards. And, oddly enough, the cruiser with the cookie’s always seems to win. But you’ve got to have them on hand, not promise them later.

  7. Texx
    Texx says:

    When the story came in late last night from Dane Anderson, the title of the e-mail read “Hagerty’s Operation Ignite” and my first reaction was…

    “Oh No – There was a fire at the Hagerty Campus, has Chris been smoking in the fire escape again!”

    Then I read the story and realized it was about the Youth Judging Program.

    A boat exhibitor at Lake Tahoe this year displayed his boat with a plate of cookies, not sure if these were meant for the judges… But the funny thing was, on Saturday many of the spectators at the show with kids would lift the kids into the boat so they could grab a few cookies from the display.

    Stuff happens at boat shows…

    FRANCHINI says:

    Cole has participated in several of the Hagerty youth judging programs and they are fantastic. He got to sit in the driver’s seat of a beautiful Riva at Sandpoint, ID and will never forget it!

    Now that he is getting older (all of 12!) I would love to see a secondary program aimed at the kids that still think the horns are cool, but also want to learn a little more technical information about the boats. Maybe even something a little more technology based since they never seem to be away from it at that age. An i-phone based teen judging app would be irresistible to his age. Winning boat takes the judges for a ride equipped with GoPro cameras that they can edit the footage into a short movie and present at the awards dinner that night would keep them busy for hours! Cole has had his GoPro mounted everywhere short of the prop shaft on my boat and it makes some incredible movies with a point of view we rarely see. The kids would be learning and having fun while the wooden boat community gains some great archived footage for future restorations!

    Since I am the proud owner of said 12 year old, I would be happy to help pool ideas for the “next” level of judging. Any other ideas or input?

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Great feedback Brian, makes perfect sense to keep the youth engaged in the hobby.

      Group boat rides for the youth judging teams would certainly be a memorable experience for everyone involved.

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