(From NOOSY NOTES AND HAPHAZARD HAPPENINGS,
by Don McCausland, from the Forsyth Independent, 1961)
Last Sunday Don Herndon exposed some heretofore unsunburned skin to
the broiling rays of Old Sol.
He took a spill while water skiing,
and unknown to him, his swim trunks were forced down to a point
where, had they remained so, he would have ended up with a
He made the shocking discovery when he started to climb into the
boat after finishing his ride. He is reported to have remarked that
it was a “good thing I noticed that before I got back to shore.”
What he didn’t realize or know at that time was that he had
already made a number of passes up and down the river on the skis in
what must have appeared as a scanty scanty sunsuit.
Well, Don, it’s nothing that a good stout pair of suspenders
won’t prevent happening in the future.
Don & Georgie Herndon
LOCAL BOATERS ORGANIZE CLUB
AT JULY MEETING
(from the Forsyth Independent, 1961)
The first meeting of the Forsyth Boat Club July 24 saw the
election of Adolph Tallent as commodore, Pete Schiffer, vice
commodore; Paul Schiffer, chairman of the membership committee; Mrs.
Adolph Tallent, secretary-treasurer; Don Herndon, chairman of the
program and attendance committee. At the present time there are 13
The president viewed accomplishments of the group as follows:
“There is a boat dock in the water which is used by both swimmers
and sun bathers as well as boaters. There is a cement slab for
launching boats without getting stuck. This has been useful for
tourists who have been observed washing their cars while they take a
“Speaking for the club as a group, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank H. K. Fillner for his donated legal services in
forming this organization. I also thank Don Herndon for the use of
his shop and equipment and the material which he donated. Anyone in
the surrounding area who would like to join the club can do so by
attending the meetings or contacting the treasurer. Our next project
will be to level off a larger area for campers and picnickers and the
installation of two restrooms.”
The president also remarked that “some people have not been very
cooperative, and we would appreciate it if those persons using the
area would please use the trash cans, as somebody has to clean up
the mess and nobody likes this job. Also, broken glass is dangerous,
especially in the river.”
1961-62 River Rats
The monthly meeting of the “River Rats” more commonly known as
the Forsyth Boat Club was held last Wednesday at the Elk Cafe with
15 members present.
Discussion was held on a proposed trip on Tongue River Reservoir
the weekend of July 7 and 8. It is hoped that all members will be
able to make this overnite trip. From what I’ve found out the lake
is full and fishing good. A barbecue will be held at approximately 9
o’clock Saturday night, after all boaters are at the lake. Tom
Pettigrew has agreed to take care of preparing the beef.
The mighty Yellowstone is still too high for good boating and
skiing but by next weekend and by the Fourth the grounds should have
dried up and the river dropped somewhat.
At this point the members of the club would like to give a vote
of thanks to Gladys Schiffer and her 4-H Club for the wonderful job
of cleaning up the cans and glass that some mis-guided person or
persons threw over the area at the river. Also for cutting the weeds
that were getting so high you could hardly see. I think they might
have cut an asparagus shoot I had my eye on but maybe it will come
up next year. Anyway it is better without the weeds.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank the
Rosebud-Treasure Wildlife Assn. for their donation of $25. Believe
me, fellows, it will be put to good use. Thanks again.
Anyone wanting to venture to Hebgen Lake for some good fishing
and water skiing get in touch with “Never Start” Clark (pictured
at right). The family
have just returned from there and report a good time.
Remember July 7-8, the weekend of the trip to Tongue River. Let’s
see everyone there for a weekend of fun.
Boating news this week will center mostly on our trip to Tongue
According to reports this reporter has had, all members are
planning to make the excursion. I’ve been informed that at least one
member, Cartwrights, will leave Friday night so when the rest of us
working people get there everything should be in readiness. At least
we can blame them if they haven’t picked out a good camping spot.
I don’t know if it has been discussed or not but I think it would
be a good idea if they would mark the turnoff with a placard or red
flag and also some distinguishing marks along the trail. Coming in
at night like some of us will be doing could be very confusing.
Maybe Marilyn would set on the road and wave a lantern.
area at Tongue River Reservoir was only used for one
summer in 1961 by the Forsyth boaters before beavers cut
all the trees down. This area is farther "upstream" on
the lake than the current developed camping areas.
One of the most important things to take is a big, big can of
mosquito lotion. If they’re anything like they are around here you
should take two cans.
Make sure your trailer lights are working properly since there
will be some night driving. There’s nothing more disgusting than to
turn your lights on and find you have a burned out bulb or a broken
wire. A safety chain is a must too, so be sure to check it before
you leave. It it rains a tarp would come in handy. Ice might be a
problem if its a hot day but there is one family going into Sheridan
Sunday morn and be able to bring back a few cakes.
There’s just two days till Saturday so let’s get busy and we’ll
see you all at the lake.
It was dust and more dust, rough roads and more rough roads,
noisy kids, flat tires, aching muscles from water skiing,
indigestion from too much beer and beans and sunburned backs for
young and old, but we made it over and back from Tongue River
reservoir with everybody getting home okay.
We arrived at the camping spot Herndons and Cartwrights had
picked out at 9:30 Saturday evening after following the well marked
trail of red flags and beer cans. Then the wild confusion of getting
tents up, sleeping bags out, boats in the water and kids fed began.
The boat club furnished steaks and hamburgers for everyone with
Tom Pettigrew doing the cooking, serving and pouring of coffee.
The next morning everyone got up early, everyone but me, that is,
if you can consider 6:30 a.m. late. Some went fishing, others
boating and skiing with the rest of the day spent in the same
A few interesting happenings should be mentioned here. We
understand that Don Herndon is trying to
go skiing the hard way
these days. Georgie had the boat in position, Don was all ready with
tow rope in hand, life belt on and ready to yell “Hit it,” when he
discovered that he had forgotten his skis in all the excitement of
going for a ride. We would have liked to see what would have
happened if Georgie had actually taken off with poor old Don hanging
on for dear life, without his skis.
Earline Pettigrew was having trouble getting her kids to the
bathroom. This one poor little fellow really had to go so Earline
grabbed a daughter by mistake and took off for the bushes. I don’t
know if the little guy ever made it or not but he sure was dancing
around for awhile.
Pete Schiffer was doing a fine job of staying on top of his
plywood saucer, that is, every 20 feet
or so he was doing good.
I’m sure everyone will agree that they had a good time and that
we should try to make the trip again
in the near future. An extra day would help though, so let’s plan on
Members of the Boat Club were well separated this past Sunday.
Herndons, Pettigrews and Cartwrights went down the river to
Miles City with the Miles City Boat Club. Art Kamhoot ventured out
to Cole’s and reports he managed not to fall once skiing. Your
reporter and the Clark’s spent the afternoon at their old berth on
Pier 9 at the bridge.
The muddy Yellowstone took its toll of propellers Sunday, with
practically everyone getting theirs bent. On the trip to Miles, one
person completely lost his. They reached Miles about 6 o’clock with
a stop made at Schiffer’s where they picnicked and skied. Schiffers
were there skiing.
There was a good number at Hysham boating at Cole’s Sunday, but
as at every other place the water was cold, muddy and swift.
The monthly meeting of the “River Rats” was held July 18 at the
Elk Cafe with 12 members present. The meeting was spent discussing
changing the direction of travel of all boats also how the
devil we were going to get all that sand off the boat ramp. The
mighty Yellowstone deposited
about 12” of silt in the slot that the cars back down.
Art Kamhoot gave us a color slide show on the World’s Fair at
Seattle. He had some interesting shots of a water ski show which
went to prove that our club has a lot to learn in the way of water
skiing. He also had some beautiful shots of Flathead Lake.
A work party was held Friday evening at the river with a large
group turning out. Yours truly managed to slip out of too much work.
Time was spent anchoring the dock at its permanent place, removing
the sand from the ramp and also painting of the one outhouse that
hadn’t been painted. “Rock” Cartwright says that he’s available to
anyone who wants their outhouse painted now that he has experience
in that line. A word of caution though, he’s awful extravagant with
The Yellowstone is finally on its way down now and should be
clearing shortly. A person will have to be careful for awhile and
feel the river out for the changing sand bars.
I wasn’t present at the river last Sunday but I imagine the day
went like this — Schiffers would be the first boat in, with Pete
still practicing on the round disc—Cartwrights would be there early
too and I bet Rock got stuck at least once. Don Herndon was probably
trying to perfect his ski-less ski act.
||Virgil Boardman and Jim Clark
boat is Bruce Blakesley's homebuilt 14' boat
boat is Jim Clark's Larson Lapliner.
Jim Clark no doubt spent the afternoon getting his Merc started —Kamhoot
would be trying out the new single ski that I hope he scratches up
so I can buy it at a reduced price — Tom Pettigrew
would be there with his big “75” pulling the arms off some poor
unsuspecting skier like Harry
Borer.—The rest of the ones I’ve forgotten were probably there too
tearing around skiing and swimming with Commodore Tallent keeping a watchful eye out for improving
With this I close for this week and point my boat for the big lakes
of Western Montana, where I can blow the silt out of my engine and
get some wide open boating.
It was a quiet Sunday at Pier 9 with only three boats present. I
imagine the muddy water scared most people away. A person would
think the river would clear up one of these days but the way it
appears now it will be Christmas before we have some resemblance of
the clear water we should have.
I must tell you about a swell place to boat, ski and fish for
those who want to spend about 7 hours driving, and a wonderful drive
it is up the Gallatin River from Bozeman to Hebgen Lake. There you
will find ample campgrounds, plenty of cabin camps, docking areas,
everything you would want. Joe Lewis and his wife Katie have a swell
place on the lake with cabins, docks, grocery store, gas, fishing
tackle and everything one would need.
Fishing is good with even yours truly catching a few. Mike Clark
caught his limit in about 4 hours one day and Bobby Hecht caught a
dandy from the shore but had troubles with it shrinking. It’s too
lake isn’t a little closer so a person could frequent the place more
I don’t believe there ever has been a list of members
published, so we’ll list them this week. The following families:
Pete Schiffer, Paul Schiffer, Don Herndon, Adolph Tallent, Allen
Wakefield, Bob Martinek, Cecil Kalness, Jim Clark (pictured with
Ellen at right), Malcolm Cartwright,
Tom Pettigrew, Art Kamhoot,
Morris Cole, Harry Borer, Roger Clauson, Art Gregory, Rich Howard,
Al Cole, Bruce Blakesley,
plus about 1500 kids of the above named families.
Pier 9 was busy Sunday with plenty of boats and skiers present.
The afternoon looked at first like
it might be rather nasty but as the day went on it proved to be one
of the nicest Sundays we've had.
I believe that finally the Yellowstone is going to drop down to
its normal level and we hope it will
stay that way. It has signs of clearing also.
A word now about the fine job of skiing being done by the younger
set of “River Rats”. Mike Clark looks like a professional on the
double skis this summer and is doing an equally good job on the
single. By next year he will no doubt outshine his dad, of course
Jim is getting up in years so you can’t expect too much from an “Old
Karen Kamhoot puts on a nice performance also and has shown a lot
of improvement these past few weeks. Give her another year and she
will be good enough to ski with the Tommy Bartlett Show in Cypress
Linda Cartwright has learned to ski this summer and with a little
more practice she will be hard to compete with.
Hats off to the young Pettigrew kids, Peggy and Pete. Although
Peggy never made it up when she tried it Sunday she’s a game girl
and we look for her to be skiing well in a short time. Her brother
Pete has made it up and was skiing all over the river like he’d had
years of practice.
Another newcomer to skiing this year is Greg Cartwright and
although he hasn’t managed to conquer the “boards” he should be
given credit for trying.
To all the other kids that I’ve missed seeing ski or have
forgotten about, keep up the good work and by all means keep the
sport alive because you're the future “River Rats.”
Another week has passed and we draw closer to the end of another
boating season. The summer passes so fast one hardly realizes there
has been any summer at all.
Last Sundays boating was done on one of the hottest days I think
we’ve had all year and we had a fair turnout with five boats in the
water. Next week being a two day holiday should find a lot of
boaters out; let’s hope it's a nice weekend for it.
L-R: Mike Clark, Greg Cartwright, Malcolm "Rock" Cartwright,
Sheila Blakesley, Marilyn Cartwright. In our boat: Brenda
and Diane Blakesley.
The white boat belonged to the
Reading in this week’s Time Magazine I ran across an article
which might be of interest to some people. The article was called
“Fun in the Sun”, and this is a word for word reprint.
“What is America’s favorite outdoor sport? The answer, from a
report to the President and Congress just released by the Outdoor
Recreation Resources Review Commission: taking a drive in the car,
Second favorite sport: walking. Least popular of 24 activities
Other items: The higher the income and the more education, the
greater the extent of outdoor activity.
Professional people spend the most time in outdoor recreation; farm
workers the least. Summer activity in the South is about a quarter
less than in the rest of the U. S. -- understandably.
About 90% of all Americans engage in some kind of outdoor
recreation in the course of the year.”
With “Old Man Winter” robbing us of our last weekend of boating
looks like it’s getting close to the time when we’ll be putting the
wraps on the boats for another year. There were numerous projects we
had planned, like a sunshade on the bank for people to gather
under, and another dock to be used by skiers, but somehow, probably
because of the unusually high water all summer we just never got the
jobs done. Of course there’s always next year. We’ll probably end up
being the best
“next year” club that there is.
The Herndons and Pettigrews were the only families that I know
who took advantage of the long
weekend. They drove to Hebgen Lake on Saturday, returning Monday.
Don reports a lot better weather there than we had here, and also
said fishing was good, the proof I have yet to see.
With the cold weather coming we “River Rats” are going to have to
start watching our thermometers. A freeze up in your motor can
be disastrous and the cost of repairs next summer when a person
realizes his unit has frozen up can stand your hair on end.
Another part of your outfit to watch is the battery. A storage
battery with a full charge, i.e., a specific gravity reading of
1.260, will not freeze even at an extreme temperature of say 60
degrees F. However a discharged battery with specific gravity,
reading of 1.110 may be ruined by freezing at plus 16 degrees F.
Play it safe and keep the battery fully charged and preferably
stored in a cool dry place.
For anyone who doesn’t know— there are 7,175,000 boat owners in
the U.S. this year. That's quite a bunch of River Rats I'd say. The
average outlay for a boat, motor and trailer is approximately $2200,
and for my money there is no less expensive nor more healthful and
enjoyable way to use one's recreational time than afloat.
(After a particularly wet weekend, the following was the
entire River Rats column for the week)
Solly, me no writie, weekend too wettee.
Well, the River Rats were able to squeak in another Sunday of
boating, but no skiing, at least not at “Pier 9,” as the water was
just a little on the cool side.
There will be another “River
Rat” in the pack this fall. The
new owner of a 14’ Lone Star with
40 horses, pushing her is Bill
Storm. Welcome aboard Bill.
Anyone following the America’s Cup Races with the 12 meter sloop
Gretel from Australia and the Weatherly from the States will find
that both boats have won a race. The cup that goes to the winner has
been held by the United States for over 100 years. The winner of
best out of seven races takes home the trophy.
Did you know that just a short six years ago the largest outboard
engine on the market was a Mercury Mark 55, 40 H.P. Johnson and
Evinrude follow this up with a top of 30 H.P. What’s in store for
Boating at “Pier 9” was quiet Sunday with four boats running in
a smooth, clear Yellowstone river. The water has taken a long time
clearing but has finally made the grade, but almost too late.
Skiing was limited to two hearty fools who waited 'til sundown
before making a couple of quick swings down the course. Why we
didn’t do it while the sun was high I’ll never know. It wasn’t bad
though, except for the bugs. Next week we’ll need “Bug Blinders.”
I saw Tuesday night one of the fastest and shortest boxing matches
fought so I want to tell you about one of the fastest water skiers
in the country today. His name is Butch Peterson, hails from
California and has recorded a top speed of 106 miles per hour on the
“Boards”. As fantastic as it sounds speed runs in excess of 90 mph.
have been made since 1960.
If any of the local boys want to try this high speed skiing, all
that is required is a motor of from 700-1000 horsepower; plus a
skier that has skill, stamina, and few flabby muscles, also a
balanced combination of special equipment and style.
hearty fools launched their boats this past Sunday with high winds
and cold water in store for them all afternoon. It appears the
boating season is fast coming to a close.
Last Thursday afternoon Commodore Tallent, Don Herndon and Tom
Pettigrew extended the concrete boat ramp approximately 30 ft. for a
vastly improved approach to the river. The extra concrete will be
well above the high water mark that we are always confronted with
during the June rise.
Also last Thursday Charles Palmer did a neat job of clearing
brush and leveling dirt at “Pier 9”. It really improves the area.
With these added improvements, and with more in the planning,
Forsyth will have quite a boating marina.
Did you know that a hollow ball, available at any dime store,
makes an excellent hitch cover. Cut a.
slot 2 inches long in the ball. Then cut away a small portion of the
rubber on each side of the slot, just enough so you can force or
wedge the cover down over the hitch-ball. Drop a small dab of grease
inside the ball and you’ll never be bothered with a rusty hitch-ball
and your trailer hitch won’t squeak when attached to the ball. Also,
if you would accidently hit your leg on the hitch-ball it might
cushion the blow—maybe.
Forsyth Boat Club Has No-host Party
(from the Forsyth Independent, sometime in 1962)
The Forsyth Boat Club met Saturday evening at the Jersey Lily in
Ingomar for a no-host party. The violin and guitar furnished music
for the evening of dancing.
Decorations featured a boat mural by Maxine Seward. The
inscription read, “Welcome to the Boat Club,” and “USS Dry Land.”
Present were Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Blakesley, Mr. and Mrs. Don
Herndon, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Pettigrew and their guests of Billings and
Shelby, Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Cartwright, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Clark, Mr.
and Mrs. Adolph Tallent and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Schiffer.
Boating isn't always just fun and games...several people
have lost their lives in the Mighty Yellowstone near Forsyth over
the years, usually due to carelessness or lack of respect for the
river. This article appeared in the Billings Gazette in the early
SEARCHERS FAIL TO FIND BODIES
(from The Billings Gazette)
FORSYTH (AP) — The bodies of two Minnesota men remained lost in
the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana Sunday night. The lone
survivor of a boating accident Saturday, Ted Koenen, 31, of St.
Paul, watched from the river bank but was too upset by the
experience to help with the search.
Lost in the river after their craft broke apart going over an
irrigation diversion dam at the edge of Forsyth were Herb Peterson,
30, and Jerry Mabry, 32, both of St. Paul. Koenen was able to float
away from the powerful undercurrent below the two-to three- foot dam
after giving temporary aid to one of his companions.
The men were in Montana hunting for moss agates. They searched
the Yellowstone successfully last year with the same river craft —
three rubber rafts lashed together with boards and ropes and powered
with an outboard motor.
Sheriff Andrew Schulenberg said eight boats with drags covered
three miles of river below the dam. Another six boats went 14 miles
downstream in another futile effort. Search efforts would continue
every day for several days, Schulenberg said. Members of the Forsyth
Boat Club volunteered services and equipment Sunday.