Summer 2017: “World-Class Boats Built in Small-Town Kansas” Sneak Peek!

World-Class Boats Built in Small-Town Kansas
Cobalt Boats in Neodesha celebrates nearly 50 years in the marine industry

When it came time for Casey Lair to buy a boat, the choice was clear.

In fact, he says, there really wasn’t much of a choice to be made at all.

“We had bought a lake house at Table Rock, and I just assumed that if I was going to have a boat, Cobalt is supposed to be the best boat made – and it’s made in Neodesha,” says Casey, who’s lived and worked in Neodesha for 32 years. “So that’s what I needed to have.”

Photo courtesy of Cobalt Boats

Seven years and two boats later, Casey is a Cobalt Boats devotee. And he’s in good company: Tens of thousands of people across the country (and the world, for that matter) own a Cobalt luxury boat, all of which are built – by hand – by folks in Neodesha. Today, just shy of its 50th anniversary, Cobalt Boats has developed a reputation for building the best of the best in the marine industry, having received multiple awards for customer satisfaction from J.D. Power & Associates and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

“We build as good a quality boat that’s built anywhere in the industry, right in Neodesha,” says Pack St. Clair, Cobalt’s founder. “To me, it’s what makes the business fun. We’ve been able to have success from a small town in Kansas where not many people expect to find a boat manufacturing company…”

Want to keep reading about Cobalt Boats? Check out the summer issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you

Summer 2017: “Who is the Catfish Capital?” Sneak Peek!

Who is the Catfish Capital?
Burlington or Chetopa? We’re breaking down these Southeast Kansas towns’ long-running catfish-catching rivalry

“My God, it’s gone!”

Fifty-one years ago, Burlington’s beloved Catfish Capital of the World trophy had been stolen on Mayor Charles S. Foster’s watch, and he wasn’t happy. According to a December 1966 article in the city newspaper The Daily Republican, “The mayor could see no reason that this Christmas season, when the hearts of all are filled with love and good will, that anyone would stoop to such a dastardly deed as stealing.”

Photo courtesy of the Coffey County Historical Museum in Burlington

Mayor Foster might not have understood it, but he surely thought he knew who was responsible for it: Chetopa. The battle between the two towns to decide which was the rightful Catfish Capital of the World had been raging for most of 1966, and now with the mysterious disappearance of that trophy, it was showing no signs of quitting.

But how did Burlington and Chetopa, more than 100 miles apart, find themselves in this catfish-catching rivalry in the first place? Let’s start from the beginning…

Want to keep reading about the Catfish Capital of the World contest between Burlington and Chetopa? Check out the summer issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.