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Laura Garcia | Laker Weekly
Miss Cynthia, which will be the featured boat at Saturday's Antique and Classic Boat Show and Festival, was the center of attention at a recent preview of the show.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Last-minute preparations are being made for the 23rd-annual Antique and Classic Boat Show and Festival this weekend.
Some owners are still rushing to finish restoring their antique boats for display at the event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Mariner’s Landing Resort in Huddleston. There will be at least 46 classic and antique boats from about six area states, according to George Blosser, who is head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. It has 70 members and was organized nearly 23 years ago.
Last week, the chapter hosted a media event at Bridgewater Plaza to provide access to the popular event’s featured boat, Miss Cynthia, a 1947 Chris-Craft U-22 Sportsman owned by Lars and Cindy Okeson of Huddleston.
Lars said those who attend the show will get a chance to see his boat up close, including accessories such as a vintage fire extinguisher and original boat pole.
“I enjoy talking about it now that it’s finished,” he said.
His wife, Cindy, said that it took 13 years to restore the boat. Lars, a retired Navy veteran, clarified her statement.
“It didn’t take me 13 years,” he said. “I didn’t do it for 13 years!”
Now that the restoration has been scratched off his list, Cindy said they plan to take their eight grandchildren out on the lake. The boat is big enough at 22 feet long.
Lars recalled growing up and spending a lot of time on New York’s Lake George, where there is no shortage of wooden boats. The lake probably has the most wooden boats in the country, he said.
That’s what sparked the initial attraction to Miss Cynthia.
“I just recall this kind of boat. It’s a family boat,” Lars said.
The couple’s first summer on SML was in 1996, when they bought their waterfront home. The Okesons moved to the lake full time in 1999. Lars said he remembers going to the lake’s boat show that year.
Wirtz residents Bob Pennoyer and Ginger Hevey, also retired at Smith Mountain Lake, moved to the lake four years ago from Connecticut. Pennoyer has five classic boats, and brought a 1956 15-foot Lyman runabout with a rare three-horsepower 1926 Elto motor to the preview. This one won’t be on display at the show, he said, as he demonstrated how to start the motor.
There are only a few Lymans on the lake, and Pennoyer has two of them.
“This is what I do for a hobby, I collect antique boats,” he said.
At Saturday’s show he will bring his 12-foot Feather Craft aluminum runabout built in 1957 for boat enthusiasts and the curious to admire. He said it’s called “the rocket.”
“It’s pretty fast,” he said. “It’s like a sports car for the water.”
Other boats are impressive for different reasons. Some took years to restore, others have an interesting back story and some are newer replicas of old wooden boats.
During the preview, Carol and Don Clement of Moneta sat on their pontoon boat, a 1964 Thompson Thomboy named Q-Tee, and enjoyed a sunny day on the lake.
The Clements said some members of the chapter don’t have a classic or antique boat, but enjoy helping others with restoration.
“People think that you have to have a boat to join the club,” Don said. “I tell you it’s full-time maintenance. You ought to see the hours people spend on them.”
For more information on the free event, go to www.woodenboats.net.
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