There is something special about getting our dealer partners together in one place and having that place be at my home, our factory, and on the water at Rock Island. We had three nights and three days of action, plus fishing on the Collins River and an Ocoee River Trip to round things out. Sunday night was open house at my house where Kristine had some good food, some Bota Box wine, and beer out, while we gathered under beautiful fall weather on my deck and around the fire as it got dark. That was our first chance to really catch up and get everyone relaxing and enjoying what Rock Island has to offer here at the Ranch. On Monday we had clinics on the Whitewater Boats boats by Clay Wright and we had several of our team fishing team members, as well as the folks from Yak Attack doing outfitting your fishing boat clinics. It was a ton of information and with some of it being on water, everyone seemed to have a good day. The Foglight Foodhouse in Rock Island became our next stop for a dinner party. Cajun yumminess. Sperry Topsider was the sponsor for dinner and we had Calfkiller Beer on tap and Bota Box Wine rounded out the evening. After the last shuttle left and it was just myself and some staff, I had a good wrestling match in the gravel with Jase Bouldin, who was a TN Champion in his high school years. I wrestled him for the first time in the 90’s when he was a kid and we have a good match every now and then, the last time at my house during the JK Christmas party. He has grown up and changed his wrestling style from high school to MMA where you make the other guy tap out… Had I only known 🙂 I announced to him numerous times, “you are pinned” and he kept saying “no I am not” and I was so confused. Then he told me I was pinned and I was clearly on top and had him on his back. After I denied being pinned about 5 times he did the choke hold and choked me out quick. I had a couple of seconds left before passing out and realized that I had two choices, pass out or tap out. I tapped out. OK- so now I know what the deal is! Next time! Fishing with Jason one day, seeing him at the factory the next, getting choked out the next…
the Next morning we had sales and marketing meetings with the dealers and everyone seemed to appreciate the energy that was going into JK and the tools we were providing them… however people were salivating about paddling and like kids on the last day of school waiting for the bell to ring, this group couldn’t stop talking about wanting to go paddling. Finally the bell rang and we did a big group up to the put-in. I had two beginners, never paddling whitewater before with me in the Karma and Zen. They were ready to rock! We also had a flatwater/fishing on water clinic session at the boat ramp. It was super fun. We had Nick, Dane, Emily, Courtney, Clay, and myself on whitewater and boats everywhere!
Our dealers got to paddle the Karma, Zen, 2013 All-Star, and Fun Runners. We also had one Dynamic Duo with Neal in the front and Nick in the back. After the paddling and surfing around it was party time again at my house. Red Bull was there to support Dane and provide the party with Red Bull and Champagne, vodka, music and fun. Dinner was prepared by Bill Valet (Kristine’s brother) and Kristine. It was an Octoberfest theme and the food was amazing. We were feeding over 100 people but the house handled it well. After dinner we showed a couple of videos. The first was a teaser to the upcoming “fishing university” show with Charlie Ingram and Ray Brazier. Ray and Charlie said a few words and the dealers loved it. Here was two guys who have been professional bass fishermen for 30 years and they got in kayaks for the first time to film the show. They are the real deal and are truly TN locals. The second video was one that my son-in-law Nick Troutman made showing the factory and our staff in action. It was a wonderful film that really showed off how caring, smart, and hard working our staff is. I am very proud of everyone involved.
Here is the Boat Building Video by Nick:
Now the party starts and the DJ was done for the night so Dane took over. Dane’s Red Bull manager, Ryan was all about it and Dane had the house rocking and the dance floor going nuts all night. I had a keg of Calfkiller in my kegorator along with plenty of Bota Box. The Red Bull was a hit that night however and it kept the party going!
People started to make their way home late and we had a few people spend the night that didn’t have rides back to where they were going and couldn’t drive. That marked the end of the dealer summit for 2012, but the stories will be told for some time.
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