Big Red and a Casey Kasum request…

Hey Mr.Woody Boater,

Long time reader, first time writing in. First, like so many others, let me thank you for your dedication to classic boats! Your webpage is the first bookmark on my list and visited nearly everyday. Your legions of followers truly appreciate the updates and humor.

I will admit, I am a complete beginner to classic boats. I fell in love with classic cars with my Grandpa, but growing up in Northern Minnesota, I found myself spending more time on the water than the road. So, finally at 26, I bought my first Woody! A 1940-50s 12′ Kinnen outboard, made by Kinnen Boat Works of Frazee, Minnesota. I know very little about the boat or the company. I actually had connections to several Kinnens still living in Frazee, MN but their families couldn’t help shed any light on the boat. Big questions: year? Why the green windshield? Looks a lot like the same era Larson Boats, maybe it was a kit they put their name on? It had last been registered in 1964 and from what the seller (local boat collector) told me: a Vietnam serviceman on leave from the war bought the boat, had some fun, then returned to battle – never to come home again. It sat in his mom’s barn until 2005 when the seller picked it up.

I did my first restoration (a little too fast) to use the boat in our wedding! We were married at my cabin on the south shore of Leech Lake. Following the ceremony, we cruised off for some alone time. When we returned for the reception the crowd was cheering! I don’t know how many times I heard it was the coolest exit/entrance they had ever seen. It was the perfect day for a boat ride… calm water, clear skies, and of course – good company. Which brings me to the purpose of my email… Our anniversary is this Saturday (Aug 14) and thought it would be a cool surprise for my (surprisingly supportive) wife to see the boat on your page. I have attached a few pictures of “Big Red”… if you can’t get them on your page – no worries 🙂

After all that… it was confirmed, I had the sickness. I have since gone to the other extreme and purchased a 1959 24′ Sportsman to work on. I’m in WAY over my head, but it is websites like yours that keep me motivated, learning, and assured I am not the only crazy woody boater out there.

One of your many woody boating buddies,

Nick “Big Red” Phelps

4 replies
  1. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Well, Nick, that's a very cool story. Welcome to our world of obsession (for which there's no psychiatric help available, at least, that works), Woody Boateritus. Happy Anniversary!!!

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

    Happy Anniversary. May your marriage be as strong as your woody obsession. But just in case keep the boats in your name.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Nice boat (and wife) Nick. I had a cabin on Leech lake a few years ago. I write a column for The Timberjay newspapers and Minnesota Moments Magazine, featuring vintage boats of the North. I would like to featurte your boat in an upcoming column. Please contact me at
    Bob Matson

  4. Jim Kinnen
    Jim Kinnen says:

    My grandson found your website and I was very excited to see one of my Dads boats. I can fill you in on lots of info if you like. They were not made from a kit .

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