Houseboat Magazine recently announced the launch of their all new, completely redesigned website. They've narrowed down the number of categories, cleaned up the style, and increased the functionality of the entire site. Now it's easier than ever to find information on all your favorite houseboat manufacturers, products, destinations and more.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Friday, November 1, 2013
Check it out! Our pontoon and trailer winner was featured in Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine! They're in the upcoming Fall issue!
Originally published in Fall 2013 Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine
by Katie Burke
Anyone out there want a free pontoon? Not an old junker, but a brand new Qwest LS Splash Pad? Any takers?
Every year at the annual Houseboat Expo, our sister publication Houseboat magazine partners up with Apex Marine to give away a loaded pontoon to the winner of the annual Poker Run.
“Giving away a free boat from Apex Marine has brought a lot of excitement to the On Water Houseboat Expo,” says show producer Greg Larsen. “It’s been great for the industry to get houseboaters excited about pontoons.”
Apex Marine specializes in pontoons in smaller lengths, which makes it easier for the winner to tow it home at the end of the show. The Qwest LS Splash Pad was a new model for 2013 and it’s a great multi-use boat that includes a bar with stool seating. The stools easily slide out, creating a huge swim platform for the kids to jump back and forth into the water. Features like these made it the perfect boat to give away at the On Water Houseboat Expo.
In June, Julie Gillespie and her husband, Brian, showed up at State Dock on
Lake Cumberland in Kentucky
as houseboating people, but left as converted pontooners.
The Gillespies’ spent $100 on six poker hands and ended up making it to the final table, with five other participants. The dealer deals each hand at the table and the worst hand dealt is eliminated each round. Everyone wins a prize, with the runners-up taking home new tubes and other great prizes for top sponsors like Sportsstuff. But when the dust settled five hands later, Julie had the best hand and the keys to a brand new Qwest pontoon.
“I felt total disbelief,” says Julie. “The entire time I was just excited that I had the opportunity to win the prizes offered to the second through fifth place winners. I never even considered being the winner of the boat.”
The only problem at hand was the fact that the Gillespies flew to
from their home in Lyman, S. C., and most airlines won’t let you check a
pontoon boat. People at the Houseboat Expo were trying to help them out with
offers of buying the boat. By the end of the night, the standing offer from the
second place runner-up was $10,000 in cash.
“My girls would have killed me if they knew I won a pontoon and then sold it instead of bringing it home,” says Julie. “So we had to find a way.”
Within 10 minutes of his wife winning, Brian was on the phone checking with shipping companies, truck rentals and anything else he could think of to possibly get the boat home. It was not an easy feat, but finally the couple were able to find a family friend who was nice enough to drive all night with his truck so he could pull it home. The men drove the boat back to
while Julie flew back.
When the men arrived home with the pontoon, the couple’s two daughters, Emma-Kate, 13, and Mary-Alex, 7, were excited to see the prize with their own eyes.
“I don't think they really believed we were telling the truth until we got it back home,” says Brian. “We had no plans to purchase a pontoon before we won it, but we quickly realized what a great addition to a houseboat a pontoon can be.”
The Gillespies keep their houseboat at the Portman Shoals Marina on
in and now the Qwest pontoon is docked
right next to it. Anderson, S.C.
“We purchased our houseboat in August 2012,” says Julie. “Its name was Sugar Shack, but it has been renamed Insurance Poli-ce. Brian owns a business called Gillespie Insurance Services Inc. and he’s a volunteer police officer. Hence the name Insurance Poli-ce.”
The family spent the summer enjoying their lake in a whole new way.
“Our most favorite thing about having a pontoon is having the flexibility to go places on the lake, like going to have dinner at The Grill Man,” says Julie. “Our family also loves using it to ski, tube and kneeboard. None of those things would be possible with just a houseboat. The memories that have already been made just since June are beyond belief.”
The Gillespies aren’t novice boaters, but they were new to the pontoon lifestyle. Luckily, it only took a few trips out to realize how much fun it is to own one.
“This is our first pontoon. My family had a lake house when I was growing up, but we had other kinds of boats rather than pontoons,” says Julie. “Now we use the pontoon multiple times during the day. Our girls keep us busy wanting to tube and kneeboard.”
Learning the advantages of a pontoon boat was easy. The family soon got over the initial thought that a pontoon can’t pull a skier or a tube.
“Some of the things we like best about the pontoon are its capability to pull someone skiing, it’s easy to get around anywhere on the lake and the size is perfect for our family of four,” says Brian.
Next year, this could be you. Plan on attending the National Houseboat Expo on
“Of course we are planning on attending the Expo next year,” says Julie. “The 2013 Expo was our first, but surely not to be our last!”
Friday, October 25, 2013
If you haven't caught sight of it yet, look up at our new banner and you'll see that we have an amazing, all new exclusive sponsor for the 2014 Houseboat Expo!
That's right! Sunbrella, the makers of amazing marine fabrics, will be at the 2014 On Water Expo! Check out their marine line by clicking here.
Want to be a part of the excitement? Contact us to sign up for the 2014 Expo today!
Need more information? Fill out the request form and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Monday, August 12, 2013
1:48 PM 2013 Expo Info, Accommodations, Contests and Prizes, Dates and Times, Exhibitors, Features, Food, General Information, Houseboats, Live Entertainment, New Houseboats, Seminars No comments
Kicking off the houseboating season
By Katie Burke
Photos by Brady L. Kay
As I reached my rental houseboat after arriving at the On Water Expo on
, I heard a lady on the dock
say to her husband, “If you can’t relax on a houseboat, you’re hopeless.” Lake Cumberland,
He seemed to grudgingly agree, but she had me sold on the importance of relaxing. From that point on, that phrase became my motto for the trip. I’m sure my publisher won’t be thrilled to read this, but work took a back burner to touring brand new houseboats and relaxing on the dock with all of the people who had traveled hundreds of miles to join us at the 2013 On Water Expo.
Hands down, the best part of the Expo was meeting with all of you—the people who make the show a success year after year. I spoke with families who had traveled from
Vermont, Florida, and even as far away as California to visit the biggest and only
houseboat show in the world.
Nathaniel and Allene Robertson came because they are starting to shop around for a boat once their sons graduate from high school. A young couple—Jeremy and Megan Hendricks—who just purchased their first houseboat, stopped by to look at some of the aftermarket products. The point is, no matter what your current needs are, if you love houseboats, you belong at the On Water Expo. And we would love to meet you there next year.
It Doesn’t Get Any Better
As far as I’m concerned, I would retire at State Dock tomorrow if my husband would let me. It’s a perfect dock community of houseboaters and they have everything you need to have a good time. We didn’t have to leave the dock one time in five days. I think we’ve all seen the rental boats at some marina and thought to ourselves, “Meh.” This isn’t the case at State Dock. The lineup of Thoroughbred rentals are in great condition and well stocked. I know the people who stayed on Boatel Row agree as well because they told me as I walked by. It’s so great that they make the rentals available for Expo attendees. Best news yet? You can get a discount for staying on Boatel Row during the Expo.
State Dock also set up entertainment for Friday and Saturday night. David Lee, Wynn Varble and Michael William are all entertainers/song writers from
, and they know how to keep a crowd
excited. Between the three of them, they have penned songs such as, “Letters from
Home”, “Have You Forgotten?”, “A Little More Country Than That” and “19
Somethin”. Nashville, Tenn.
Varble was having such a good time that he forgot the beginning of his number one hit, “Waiting on a Woman”. Luckily, his underage friend William was able to help him out.
It’s time we get to the main attraction and most exciting part of the On Water Expo, the houseboats. There were 22 houseboats on site for full touring during the three-day event. Stardust, Thoroughbred and Summerset all came with beautiful new boats. The brokers brought out the best houseboats in their inventory for viewing. From the million-dollar price tags to the $37K custom one-bedroom boat, there was something for everyone.
Besides touring boats, seminars are an important part of the Expo as well. Bill Burke gave his talk on the “Seven Deadly Sins of Houseboating”. It was eye opening for all of us attendees when Burke listed off all of his deployments in the armed services and followed it up with the statement that the closest to death he’s been is on a houseboat with faulty wiring. Patty Loeser, from WakeAction in
, provided some great
information on water safety, standup paddle boarding and wakeboarding. Jake
Pyzik, from Houseboats Buy Terry, provided great tips for setting up the
perfect bar on a houseboat. My favorite part? When he shared a story about a
customer using vodka instead of antifreeze for winterizing his boat. The next
spring, he invited his friends over for a party while he drained the pipes. Don
Hevener, from Dreams in Motion, taught a Captains Course where he took a houseboat
out on the lake and gave some great information about always being in control
of your boat. Somerset,
A twist was added this year when we partnered with Two Brothers Grillin' for our first annual Chicken Wing Cook-Off. There was no wingin' it this year as amazing cooks grilled up some of the tastiest wings we've ever had. Our publisher Greg Larsen, salesman Chris Searle and Barbara Hilton were the judges and tasted each entry. We begged for winner Chuck Craig’s recipe, but he's keeping it under lock and key. Knowing how good the wings tasted, we really can't blame him. Sisters Dakota and Skylar Musgrave took second and third place respectively.
One of the most exciting draws to the Expo is the Poker Run. The winner for the last four years has driven off in a brand new Apex pontoon and this year the competition was as tough as we’ve ever seen.
To participate is simple. You buy one hand for $20 or six for $100 and then you walk around to different vendors and pick up sealed envelopes containing one card. When you collect all five cards, you bring them back and have them opened. The top hands go to the final table where this year the winner took home a Qwest Splash Pad and everyone else won a prize as well. The winner after the final card was dealt was Julie Gillespie from
South Carolina who took
the grand prize.
“My girls are going to love it and we are going to make great memories on this boat,” says Gillespie.
Let’s Do It Again
For those who attended this year, we’d love to see you again. For those who weren’t able to join us for the best three-day weekend that jump starts summer each year, it’s time you save the date on your calendar. Next year’s On Water Expo at State Dock kicks off on June 6 and promises to be even better. Watch for updates at www.houseboatexpo.com as we get closer to the show. For more information on State Dock, visit www.statedock.com.
Poker Run Contestants
Poker Hands: 7
Prize: 2013 Qwest Splash Pad pontoon with Yamaha 90hp engine and trailer (www.compactpontoons.com and www.yamahaoutboards.com)
Quote: “I think I’m in shock. I have to figure out how to get the boat home because I flew here!”
Joe Decker (Gayle’s husband)
Poker Hands: 6
Prize: Three Sportsstuff life jackets, an Airhead wakeboard, Sportsstuff Wake Yak towable, Sportsstuff Supercube and an Airhead U-tube.
Quote: “This is the second time I’ve made it to the final table and came in second. Now my wife’s says we’re buying a pontoon on our way home.”
Poker Hands: 8
Prize: Two Sportsstuff life jackets, a Sportsstuff towable and an Airhead towable (www.airhead.com and www.sportsstuff.com)
Quote: “I was excited to make it to the final table and I’m fine with third place.”
Poker Hands: 7
Prize: Two Airhead towables (www.airhead.com)
Quote: “I’m surprised I made it this far, but I wish I would have won the boat.”
Poker Hands: 6
Prize: Sportsstuff Wake Yak towable (www.sportsstuff.com)
Quote: “This was fun, but a pontoon would have been perfect with our houseboat.”
Poker Hands: 6
Prize: BoatFun Sports Basketball Hoop (www.boatfunsports.com)
Quote: “I’m disappointed, but I’m leaving with more than I brought with me so it’s a good day.”
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
8:00 AM 2013 Expo Info, Exhibitors, Features, General Information, Houseboats, New Houseboats, Photos No comments
They came out in style, and didn't disappoint. Beautiful from the inside out, take a look at some of the incredible boats that graced the 2013 On Water Expo: