If you’re lucky enough to be part of this year’s Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in Louisiana, there’s a good chance you’ll spot a relatively new and hard-to-miss green, blue, white and black Statement Marine 380 Open center console dubbed EZ Money. Based on the name of the 38-footer, which is powered by triple Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard engines, you might reasonably conclude that the owner is a guy celebrating a fortune he didn’t have to work hard to amass.
EZ Money will be hard to miss during the 2017 Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in early May.
You’d be half right and dead wrong. Without question, 39-year-old Jeff Babineaux of Lake Charles, La., is celebrating his good fortune with EZ Money, which he took delivery of in January. But none of it came easy—not even close. The self-made Babineaux started his commercial construction business from the ground up, and with his business partner he branched out and opened Planet Fitness health club locations in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi—and they’re opening more in Texas.
So why call the Statement 380 EZ Money?
“That was my brother’s nickname when we used to rodeo together when we were young—he was a lot better than I was, so he got the name ‘Easy Money’ on the circuit,” said Babineaux. “He died in a car accident nine years ago. He was my best friend. My last boat was a 36-foot Concept and I called it EZ Money. So when I bought this boat, of course I called it EZ Money.
“My brother and I bought our first boat together,” he continued. “We were partners in it. It cost $3,000 and it was all we could do to each scrape up $1,500. It was a piece of junk. We were almost embarrassed to be seen in it, but we loved being on the water so much. We used to say that one day we’ll get some money somehow, buy a big boat and call it EZ Money.”
For a closer look at Babeneaux’s beauty, check out the slideshow above.
Babineaux “went all out,” in the words of Statement Marine’s Nick Buis, with the 38-footer. In addition to ordering the boat with a 30-speaker stereo system and a black Alcantara interior, he put $50,000 into its paintjob, which was handled by Mark Morris of Visual Imagination in Pelicular, Mo.
“We definitely held nothing back,” Babineaux said, then laughed. “As for the money, it definitely wasn’t easy to make. I started my company wearing a tool belt. I started from nothing.
“I’m just grateful for where I am now,” he added.