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New Saddle Up Owners Enjoy Eye-Opening Summer

For Shane and Vicki Franks of Benton Harbor, Mich., this summer, which officially ended yesterday, was one they will never forget. Not only was it their first one with a performance boat—and not just any performance boat, the incredible Statement Marine 42 Ultimate V-bottom Saddle Up, which was formerly owned by the late Anthony and Tammy Reece of Kentucky—it was their first time visiting a couple of the country’s coolest boating destinations, Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.

Michigan boaters Shane and Vicki Franks (below) have enjoyed running their Statement Marine 42 Ultimate powered by twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines this summer. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

And just last weekend, the couple set out on a new adventure and drove their boat across Lake Michigan to pay a visit to the Windy City—venturing more than 100 miles from St. Joseph to Chicago and back. During the trip, the Franks even entered the locks between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River and cruised the river in the attention-getting, bright-green boat, which is powered by twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with the boat this summer and we’ve met so many cool people in the process,” said Shane Franks, who owns Greenspan Construction. “We did Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Cumberland and the Exotic Run in Traverse City, Mich., and we’re thinking about taking it down to Florida in the winter. I’m just not sure I want to put the boat in saltwater. The boat is a work of art and I want to keep as nice as possible.

“Taking it to Chicago last weekend was fun,” he added. “It was a nice day on our side of the lake and about halfway across we ran into 3- to 5-footers that made the run a little more challenging. From that point on it was pretty rough all the way to Chicago, but the boat handled it well. On the way back, the lake laid down some and was pretty flat for most of the ride. We’d never done that trip and I don’t think it will be the last time we do it.”

Franks picked up the boat in 2019 and put about 16 hours on it before opting to have Mike Holford and the team at CK Performance Marine in Nunica, Mich., go through the boat’s No. 6 drives for preventive maintenance during the winter. He also enlisted Craig Ellis and company at Appearance Products in Grand Haven, Mich., to produce a new interior for the 42-footer, which he said turned out great.

“The interior wasn’t in bad condition—there were a few small tears, but the material was impossible to get so we decided to redo it, altogether” Franks explained. “Appearance did a good job with it—the new look definitely updated the boat.”

In the process of purchasing the boat from the Reece family, which took almost a year to accomplish according to Franks, the couple got to know Tammy Reece’s daughter, Hailey.

“We’ve bonded with Hailey—she’s like an adopted daughter now,” Franks said. “She went out on the boat with us at Lake Cumberland a couple of weeks ago. We weren’t familiar with the lake so it was great to have her with us. That was a very fun trip and a real eye-opener. We knew the boat was well known, but taking it to Cumberland was something else. There were people cheering for us when we idled through the giant raft-up at Harmon Creek and there were even people crying when they saw the boat. I swear every DJ and person with a megaphone was hollering ‘Saddle Up!’

“Everything we’ve been told about Anthony and Tammy is true—they were incredible individuals who spread joy to so many people,” he continued. “I know Anthony was super particular with how he kept the boat and I’m going to do the same thing out of respect to him. I believe he’s looking down on it and is happy to see how well we’re taking care of it.”

Check out the slideshow above for more images of Saddle Up in action this summer. Photos by Pete Boden and courtesy Shane Franks

Franks admitted he wasn’t in the market for a go-fast boat and that he was looking at cruisers before coming across the Statement, which boasts an air-conditioned cabin that the Franks have enjoyed staying overnight in.

Franks added that Nick Buis, who owns Statement Marine in St. Petersburg, Fla., has been very helpful in the process.

“From the day we started looking at the boat, Nick has provided a lot of input and answered a lot of questions,” Franks said. “He’s been a great asset and I’m pretty certain he loves seeing the boat back on the water. Anthony and Tammy were his friends, not just clients.”

One of the most unexpected things to happen to the Franks since purchasing the boat was the notoriety they’ve received since posting a video that has been viewed millions of times of them running 100-plus mph and getting passed by the Franks’ good friend, Alex Pratt, in his Good Boy Vodka MTI catamaran.

“I can’t believe how many people saw that video,” Shane Franks said. “Before that video, Vicki had less than 100 followers on TikTok—now she has more than 15,000.”

It’s safe to say the couple’s eyes have been opened by the performance boat community and the one-of-a-kind boat that they now possess and plan to take extra special care of for as long as they own it.

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