Dealers celebrate milestones at Smoker Craft dealer meeting

By Craig Ritchie
Thu Sep 5 2013, 11:08 AM
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Almost 390 people representing 207 dealerships attended the event

Almost 390 people representing 207 dealerships broke out the champagne at the Smoker Craft Inc dealer meeting as the Indiana, USA-based company – manufacturer of the Starcraft, Smoker Craft, Sylvan and Sun Chaser boat brands – celebrated a trio of brand longevity milestones.

In welcoming the dealers, president Doug Smoker noted that the 2014 model year will mark the 110th anniversary of Starcraft boats, the 90th anniversary for the Smoker Craft company, and the 50th anniversary of Smoker Craft producing aluminium boats.

To mark the milestones the company introduced a number of new models in its Starcraft and Smoker Craft lines, as well as additional new models in its popular Sylvan and Sun Chaser pontoon brands.

“We’re very proud to be able to celebrate these important milestones with our dealers,” said Smoker Craft SVP of marketing, Peter Barrett. “For four generations our family-owned business has worked closely with our dealer network to make boating a part of life for families everywhere. We’re very proud of that heritage, and we look forward to building new relationships as we move forward into 2014.”

Dealers at the event enjoyed the opportunity to examine a total of 154 different boat models displayed on dry land and in the water at nearby Lake Wawasee. New aluminium fishing models for 2014 included an all-new Starcraft 176 Starfish with a huge front casting deck, offering elbow room for multiple anglers plus enormous interior storage space, as well as a special Anniversary Edition of Smoker Craft’s popular 172 Ultima model featuring unique paint and interior treatments, unique seats and a snap-in Sea Weave floor coverings.

Smoker Craft Inc also showed a number of new pontoon models in its Sylvan and Sun Chaser lines. The all-new Sylvan S-series, featuring RPT tubes, an optional wakeboard towers and a sporty, aggressive look, consists of 23ft and 25ft models built with watersports in mind, as evidenced by their extended rear platforms and high horsepower capacities. Dealers driving the new models at the dealer meeting’s on-water facility topped 50mph in test runs. Enhancements to 2014 Sun Chaser models include all-new designs featuring elegantly formed D-rail construction details in the external fencing.

The dealer meeting also witnessed renewed interest in fibreglass runabouts, highlighted by an all-new Starcraft 1918 Limited I/O model that was available for in-water evaluations and sea trials. While fibreglass runabout sales throughout North America continue to lag behind historic levels, renewed interest in the category – sparked in part by the carryover Starcraft SCX models introduced in the past two years – continues to spread.

While the majority of dealers in attendance were based in the US and Canada, a growing number of dealers from Russia, Sweden, The Netherlands and Australia were on hand to view the 2014 product line and learn of the company’s business objectives. Barrett notes that the company continues to actively grow its export business, and will be represented at the upcoming Paris and Düsseldorf boat shows.