Every boat tells a story. For Smith Mountain Lake resident Tony Cusumano, that story dates back 34 years, when he first purchased a 1962 Cruisers, Inc. runabout. The boat served Cusumano and his family well for 18 years, mostly for fishing and water skiing in Long Island Sound near their New York home.
But times change. The waters got more crowded and Cusumano found himself too busy at work as a project manager for Grumman Aerospace Corp. to use the boat. Rather than see it collect dust in the garage, he gave the boat to the son of a friend.
Fast-forward 11 years to 1997. Cusumano, having retired to Smith Mountain Lake with his wife Marilyn, was in need of help fixing a fishing rod. He headed to Big Ron’s Tackle Shop at Waterwheel Marina and when he got there, he couldn’t believe his eyes. There sat a boat identical to the 1962 model he had given up 11 years before. And it had a “For Sale” sign on it.
“I came home and said, “Marilyn, jeepers, I found our old boat.” said Cusumano of the white, 16-foot Model 202 Seafarer. “We went back down to look at it and she said, “OK, that will be your birthday present.”
Not long after, Cusumano came across a trailer identical to the one he used with his first boat and bought that, too. “I just think maybe it was meant to be.”
Swapping stories is just one reason why classic and antique boating enthusiasts gather this year at Mariners Landing, 1037 Whitetail Drive, Huddleston, VA 24104 for the Antique & Classic Boat Show. This year, more than 50 vessels are expected to be on display Sept. 16 – 17. The event is open to the public Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. While the event is free, donations will be accepted for this year’s featured charity.
The show, now in its 21st year, is presented by the Smith Mountain Lake Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. It includes cruisers, mahogany hulls, utilities, outboards, runabouts and canoes. Most are locally owned, but many boating enthusiasts make the trip to SML from surrounding states.
The group is hoping to organize some changes for this year’s event, Cusumano said. One idea is to have all the boats run their engines at the same time twice a day. The other is to have different boats run every 10 minutes so spectators can see them in action. Cusumano said both ideas would depend on the water level and weather conditions.
“We’re hoping to make it a little more interesting for the public,” he said.
The show will also include vendors with crafts and nautical items, food and drink, and activities for kids.
For more information on the boat show, contact SMLRCC at 540.721.1203 or visit www.woodenboats.net.