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Michigan Crew Comes Together for Ryan’s Last Ride


The Ryan’s Last Ride raft-up honoring Ryan Stafford last weekend on Lake Charlevoix was quite moving. Photos courtesy Bob Mathers

In recognition of one of their greatest boating friends who died unexpectedly in July, nearly 20 Northern Michigan-based boaters got together last weekend at Horton Bay on Lake Charlevoix—Ryan Stafford’s favorite spot on the beautiful lake—to honor their late powerboat confidant.

A former police officer, Stafford, who owned a 42-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats V-bottom before selling it recently to purchase his construction company, Wildcat Construction in Manton, died of a heart attack at 41. He is survived by his wife, Amy, their daughters, Morgan and Chloe, his parents, Dan and Sherry Stafford of Cadillac, and his siblings Kurt (Anne) Stafford of Bloomfield Hills and Karey Scholten (Pete Scholten) of Charlevoix.

“We had a 17-boat raft off last Saturday for a memorial service we called Ryan’s Last Ride,” said Bob Mathers, a well-known performance boater who owns Bob Mathers Ford in Boyne City, Mich. “It was a pretty cool service for a powerboat guy—it was definitely moving. Amy brought some ashes and sprinkled them with our dinghy behind the boats. We played the Cole Swindle song “You Should Be Here” as she did that.

“Kevin Kaczan and a group of boats came all the way from Traverse City,” he continued. “The Michigan Ohio Performance Boat Association even had boats there. It was one of those days I’m sure I’ll never forget.”