The saga of The Larry Don continues.

The saga of The Larry Don continues.

The good news is that, so far, it isn’t headed for the scrap heap. The less than good news is that it’s still partially submerged, pulled half way out of the water several hundred yards back into a cove out of sight from the general public. What’s going to happen next is up in the air. 

The iconic piece of Lake of the Ozarks history inexplicably sank in about 18 feet of water at its winter mooring location at Beavers at the Dam. As rumors began to circulate that the owners of the boat ― also the owners of Beavers ― were going to sell the former party and excursion boat for salvage, a “Save the Larry Don” campaign erupted. 

Johnny Alles, who lives on Horseshoe Bend, was quick to respond and became a one-man effort to keep the Larry Don from the scrap pile. He stood alone most of one day back in late February, holding signs that urged the owners to Save the Larry Don and Don’t Let Them Scrap the Larry Don. While several people stopped or honked their support, no one chose to join him. 

“I’ve grown to appreciate the value of the Larry Don,” Alles said at the time.

There was a brief surge of protest and concern on Facebook along with rumors that a group was forming to spearhead the boat’s salvation. 

The concern has dwindled, but owners are aware of the historic and nostalgic value of the boat.

The boat’s future is up in the air. Plans are to pull the boat out soon but Beavers is interested in listening to people’s ideas about what to do. 

With the tourist and boating season set to begin soon, the owners decided to move The Larry Don from docks at Beavers where it could present a safety or health hazard. An attempt to float the boat failed, so The Larry Don had to be raised with the help of adjacent barges and then “floated” farther back in the cove.

Iguana Watersports, Horseshoe Bend Dock and Rip Rap, Brent Batchelier, employees at Dock Works, Mid-America Docks, TowBoat US, Tim McNitt with Atlantis Diving have been credited with assisting in taking care of the icon. 

Good old American ingenuity and collaboration were needed to move the estimated 200,000-pound Larry Don out around the docks, into the cove and to its temporary resting point toward the back of the cove.

A barge was put on each side of the boat, with cradle straps and cable run under the Larry Don. The straps connected to the barges were delicately winched up to raise the boat. There was concern the boat would nose dive back into the lake, or flip over, but the expert care taken by the barge operators and workers kept that from happening.

It was “nostalgic” as The Larry Don moved slowly through the water. One of the barges used by Iguana Watersports was from the original fairy boat that moved vehicles from one side of the lake to the other. The barge on the other side from Horseshoe Bend Dock and Rip Rap was from the old Barge Restaurant that was so popular back in the 1970s-90s at the 7-mile marker before it sank. Another barge involved has been around the lake for decades.

So now, it’s up to the lake community to decide the fate of the Captain Larry Don, which hosted many “remember-when” parties and events in its heyday.