Outsiders might not consider Colorado a boater’s paradise, but locals will tell you differently. Colorado’s abundant reservoirs create a mecca of on-water fun. And the Wild West is where it’s at.
“Grand Junction is a fabulous place,” says Ron Richardson, the new owner of Sundance Marine, the local Sea Ray dealer. “It has recreational opportunities in all directions. You’ve got mountains, desserts. You’ve got Blue Mesa, Flaming Gorge and Lake Powell.”
The perfect way to explore the region is via Sea Ray, explains Ron. He unhitches a 270 SLX from the dock on Highline Lake. “I like Sea Ray for their quality, their craftsmanship and the fact that they stand behind their products,” he adds of the Brunswick-owned boat brand.
Highline Lake State Park rests just a short drive northwest of Grand Junction. It’s a smaller lake, suited for sportier boats, but the 270 SLX holds Ron’s large crew of wife and six kids—and sometimes a few tagalongs. The lake plays perfect host when the family’s in need of some fast and furious fun.
Today, Ron’s wife, Susan, takes charge, reminding the kids to put on their PFDs. “[Our youngest] is the princess of the family,” Ron notes of his little girl, “a princess who likes to waterski.” Ron and Susan’s three adult children are off in different corners of the country, either earning degrees or starting careers of their own. “They’re all great,” Ron says of his kids. “They keep track of me.”
Naturally, when everyone gets together, they boat. “It’s great family time,” Ron says. “In my opinion, there is nothing better than being on the water,” he adds. “It’s so soothing and relaxing and it’s also a good way to spend time with friends. Today, friend and colleague Kurt Weythman, Sundance Marine’s general manager, and his family join the Richardsons for a little shop talk and a whole lot of fun.
Kurt and his wife, Mandy—onboard a 280 Sundeck—have brought along their three daughters to tube, wakeboard and raft up with the Richardsons. “For our family, it’s all about the activities,” Kurt says. “Even anchoring out and jumping off the swim platform is an event. But for Mandy and me, it’s our relaxation time with no cell phones or worries. We always enjoy seeing our girls with the smiles on their faces that boating brings.”
Kurt—who has worked at Sundance for 9 years—holds an extreme bias for Sea Rays, but that’s because, like Ron, Kurt’s been acquainted with the boats since childhood. “My father sold Sea Rays for 18 years before I ever got into the business,” he explains. “The lines of a Sea Ray are distinct—and they always have been.”
While the Weythman girls certainly enjoy a good Sea Ray ride, their grins widen when they all pile on the tube. “Boating is the greatest family investment that can be made,” he says, looking back for the thumbs up sign. Not far off, the Richardsons put on their own display of watersports prowess.
Eventually, the kids on both boats finally admit exhaustion and climb back onboard their respective Sea Rays. Ron and Kurt maneuver their boats closer for a raft up. “It’s great to be able to make late afternoon plans for boating,” says Kurt, raving about Highline’s proximity to Grand Junction. “The facilities are always clean, and Park Manager Alan Martinez has a great staff. He is a Sea Ray owner too, by the way,” adds Kurt.
That’s right, Kurt has been busy selling Sea Rays to just about everyone. As a walker of the walk himself, Kurt has no trouble convincing customers to take the plunge. “The most important point to me, and what makes it easy to represent Sea Ray,” he explains, “is the quality of the fit and finish. Sea Ray has been a great partner to this store. The support they provide their dealers is like no other manufacturer, and that support finds its way to our customers through us.”
Kurt and Ron might have a lot to do with the amount of Sea Rays on the water in the area, but the Wild West does some lifestyle selling of its own. “The climate of the high desert provides for all types of recreation: hiking, biking and fishing—in both the lakes and rivers,” Kurt says. “In the winter months, we’re minutes away from some of the greatest big game hunting grounds, snowmobile trails and snow ski resorts.” And if that’s not enough of a sell …
Kurt adds, “All of the snow in the winter is mostly at the higher elevations. That means water for us at Lake Powell, The Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa Reservoir and closer lakes like Vega, Rifle Gap and Highline.” Wow. Sea Ray boating all year round? That’s pretty grand indeed.