There have been many, many people involved in the evolution of the Inland Empire Chapter of ACBS and what it is today. What started as a “vision” a mere 15 years ago has grown into what we all know as the Inland Empire Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. Chapter membership is at 120+, which is a true indicator of the health and vitality of our Chapter, and the dedicated efforts of those many members.

Having fun with our classic boats! Past President Michael Boge set out to bring this mission objective into perspective. He boldly succeeded! John Lenhart, Membership Chairman, has done an admiral’s level effort to get and keep members, as well as the many volunteers who worked tirelessly to put on events. This fellowship makes the Club what it is today.

Chris Knapton wrote an article for the ACBS magazine RUDDER in 2000. With permission, the following edited excerpts are from that article:

“We had a dream, okay, a vision. Well, maybe we just wanted to have a club that we did not have to drive 5 to 8 hrs to enjoy the companionship of other boaters and enjoy the fun of being an ACBS member. So we found that we were not the only ones who felt this way and the Inland Empire Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society was born.

We had two people that made calls to the headquarters concerning what it took to begin a new chapter. They did not even know each other at the time and soon met at the Okanagan 2000 show in Kelowna, BC and found they both had called to find out what it took to get it started. The journey began. Those people became the President of the chapter, Chris Knapton, and the Vice-President, Victoria Paulson. Would others be interested? Did not take long to realize they were not alone.

At that point they realized they had 30 days to get at least 20 people on a petition and submit to become a chapter. The national board was meeting soon and we wanted to get on the agenda. We did it. Lots of work, and we are still working, but we did it. We have so many lakes around us and they are all set in a serene setting with mountains and trees and really great people. There are over 100 lakes in the Washington/Idaho Northern area. The largest lake is Pend Oreille and then Coeur d’Alene and Priest Lake. We soon learned that there are so many wooden and classic boats on these waters that no matter where we went we found people with a love of the boats and the water.

We obtained our charter in September of 2000. (If you have never been involved in the beginnings of a chapter you soon learn to appreciate all the hard work it took to get started.) The Inland Empire had been strong in boats for many years with Stan-craft boats being produced in our own backyard by Syd Young. Syd has a talent for building boats that is hard to match and a love for boats that is unsurpassed. He is on our Board of Directors and a great asset. We found a member on Pend Oreille that has every boat his family has ever owned and he has a story for every one, Jim McGoldrick, who is also a Board member. Bud Moon, who grew up on the Pend Oreille and knows most every boat on the lake, is helping with the Sandpoint/Hope show. We have many board members and all have a special talent for helping with their vast and varying degrees of knowledge either in boats or the way that things should happen when putting an event together. I wish I could mention them all but the Rudder is not that large of a publication. They all have great stories to tell and wisdom to share.

We have 12 board members including our President. We are over 50 members strong and growing fast. We have started our newsletter, The Inland Scuttlebutt, for our members to learn about our area and share stories and try to help other members to find items they may need. We have many strong advertisers that support us in any way they can and make it possible to incur the costs of producing a newsletter. We have been lucky to have local and national supporters of this Chapter. We are all so lucky to have had the same interest and love of fine boats.

Now that the Chapter had a start where did we begin? We had a general meeting with all the people that had made an inquiry for the chapter and held our first meeting at Syd Young’s new shop for Stan-craft boats. We had over 50 people attend. Not all joined but we knew we were on the right track. We were encouraged but knew we needed more.

The next meeting occurred at The Resort Boat Shop in Post Falls and again we had over 50 people attend. We also had picked up a sponsorship from a local brewery, Coeur d’Alene Brewery, so what more could we ask! We knew that we would need good sponsors and strong members to get us through the first year and the first show. Although the first show was not until July 2001, the planning had to begin. The Chamber of Commerce along with our chapter began the preparation for the show and we hope to have a great show this year in Coeur d’Alene.

But with all the interest in the chapter from this area we were also approached to have another show in the Sandpoint/Hope area of Idaho and the Priest Lake area of Idaho. So many shows so little time. And then the Entire Pacific Northwest had an idea. What if we have a Great Northwest Tour of shows throughout the Pacific Northwest region. Any member who traveled to all 4 shows, Portland, Renton, Coeur d’Alene, and Kelowna,B.C. would receive a special plaque to mount the dash plaques given at each show for a Pac Four presentation. We were amazed at the response of the members from all of the chapters. People were thrilled that the idea had finally gone full circle. And the circle was growing and happy to include the Inland Empire Chapter to the circle.

The Okanagan, Columbia-Willamette, Pacific Northwest, and the Inland Empire Chapter’s have all come together to join The Tour. Four clubs, Four Weeks, Four Great Shows. We are all excited about making the tour and enjoying our boats and our friends. As a newbie to the boating world, (I grew up in the flatlands of West Texas) I was amazed to find that so many of the people that we have come to meet within the various chapters we continue to see again and again and find that the friendship goes beyond the summer shows. We had to extend our Christmas card list to many people, of various parts of the country, but that we all have a love of the water and the Classic boat. We are all excited to also have the International Annual Meeting ACBS to be held here in our city of Coeur d’Alene in 2002. We received a call from John Harvey, the immediate past president of ACBS, just as we received our Charter asking if we would like to host the Annual meeting in 2002 and we were elated. What an honor for a brand new chapter and I know the rest of the world will enjoy our area as much as we do.”

Chris Knapton