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Thompson Classic Boat Event Saturday

Issue Date: June 27, 2019

The Thompson Antique and Classic Boat Rally will take place Saturday June 29. The gathering of boats will be at Nestegg Marine, 300 Wells Street in Marinette, on the banks of the Menominee River. Organizer Andreas J. Rhude indicated that past Rally gatherings have had up to 60 boats displayed.

The event celebrates the marine endeavors of Thompson Boat and all her related spin-offs. Thompson began building boats in 1904 at Peshtigo, Wis. and grew to become the largest maker of outboard powered boats in the world. Thompson Boat operated in Peshtigo until 1980 when the firm went bankrupt and eventually moved to St. Charles, Mich. Cruisers, Inc. of Oconto began in 1953 under ownership of Ray, Glenn, Roy, Grant, Bob, and Ted Thompson. In 1960 Glenn Thompson broke away and formed T & T Boats at Wausaukee.

Wooden boats and canoes as well as classic vessels made of fiberglass will be displayed both in the water and on land. An informal swap meet will take place throughout the weekend. There will be plenty of time to share restoration stories with others and to go for boat rides. The Rally is a non-judged event.

Boats such as a 1952 Thompson 12-feet long Take-Along will be shown. This small fishing row/motorboat was typical of the thousands of boats made in Peshtigo for many decades. Two wooden lapstrake speedboats made by Cruisers, Inc. in Oconto are slated to be at the Rally. Jane Larson and Gary Berg of Mequon, Wis. will have "Buster", their 1959 Commander 17-feet long boat displayed. She is powered by a Kiekhaefer Mercury Mark 75A (60 horse power) outboard motor. The motor has no neutral and is started in gear. The Evinrude and Johnson motor competition back in the day disparagingly called it the "dock buster". Larson and Berg use the name affectionately for their beautiful wooden watercraft.

A tour of Enstrom Helicopter in Menominee on Friday 28 June and Sentinel Structures, Inc. in Peshtigo on Sunday 30 June will be offered to Rally participants (reservations required).

Former workers of Thompson Boat, Cruisers, Inc., T & T Boats, and Thompson Skis are invited to attend the event.

Show hours are 9 a.m. " 4 p.m. on Saturday June 29th. It is free and open to the public. There is a registration fee to display a watercraft.


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