In a LOTO Pain
by , 08-11-2008 at 02:42 AM (33745 Views)
July 8: While teaching our youngest son, Drew, how dangerous it was to climb up the side
of our waterfall, I fell, broke my toe, tore the bottom of my foot and sprained my
tendon — an accident that would cause me no end of grief over the following weeks.
July 10: I limped through the airport in Vegas to board a flight to St. Louis. I met up with
JW and Earl there and then drove to Wentzville, Mo., for our morning appointment
with MTI owner Randy Scism. Marci Fortner, who had accompanied me on the flight, met up
with one of her friends, Mindy McCormick who lives in Wentzville. They went out on the
town. Earl and I worked on our laptops until 2 a.m.
July 11: I jammed my swollen left foot into a tennis shoe so that I didn’t look like a beach
bum when showing up at MTI’s door for the first time.
MTI’s new facilities, which they have been at for four years as of this November, sit on more
than seven acres. The 45,000-square-foot building warehouses some of the finest molds
and talent in the industry.
In Randy’s office, I noticed that he was using a couple of the latest Macintosh computers, so
giving him a tour of our website was a breeze. He was able to see the online magazine,
which featured Michael Craig in his 44’ MTI called Hammertime. JW took the mic, and Earl
During his interview, Randy spoke about his 20-year background in performance boating, which
began with his purchase of a 20’ Hydrostream. This eventually led to him to going
overseas to Dubai and heading up the Victory Team Racing crew in Dubai, where they
compiled many wins and a UIM Class 1 World Championship in 1999.
Randy has created some of the most visually stunning and best-handling boats built, many of
which have elaborately themed paint jobs. Many of his boats are built for clients with seemingly
unlimited budgets; among a few of the more incredible works of art MTI has created are the
famous Batman boat, Ferrari boat, Speed Racer and Bud Light.
Each year at Miami, MTI debuts a new themed boat. Next February, MTI will unveil another
phenomenal-looking machine with a sports car motif. The crew was in the middle of building
it, and Randy asked that we not release any up-close photography that would spoil the surprise.
However, I was permitted to shoot a wide-angle view to give you a general idea.
Randy discussed his building techniques and what he does to make each and every MTI unique.
MTI builds a variety of both race and pleasure boats. The current models in their lineup
start at 36’ and work their way up from to a 40’, 42’, 44’ and 48’. The latest model is the new
55’ SuperCat. Randy explained the process of stretching the 55’ while maintaining a proper center
of gravity and strength in the process.
The 55’ monster we stumbled across was being built with four 1075SCi Mercury motors with
#6 drives. There is $600,000 in motors and drives alone, not including the hull, interior or
stereo. This will go out the door well above $1.5 million.
JW marveled at the sheer amount of cubic-inch power that was sitting beneath him.
He and Randy were positively dwarfed while standing across the engine hatch area on this behemoth.
Randy discussed with us the importance of not only the colors of the boat, but the type of
paint used. They use a variety of candy colors and pearlescents to give the boat its magical
appearance once out on the water.
Their paint shop is large enough to paint the largest boat they build, as well as all the other
Randy took us out back to show us the latest “tilt” trailer that MTI recently designed and
commissioned Heritage Trailers to custom build for MTI for their 36’-40’ hulls however a larger
version is coming. The trailer is an $85,000 option.
In the rigging area, they had two boats being worked on. One was an old race boat that was
being upgraded and the other was a boat that we had seen a drawing of in the paint shop.
We then went through the interior shop, where they were working on several projects for
both the Catagious boat, as well as one of the other MTIs in the shop.
We wrapped up our tour in the R&D center where they were working on several programs
to perfect the latest MTI projects, including the new trailer and 55’ Cat.
By now I couldn’t walk anymore, due to my broken foot, and hobbled to the car. Randy and
his wife Cherell were very nice and gave us a couple of hats and shirts for the girls. I
kept the old-school orange hat, which I thought was really “sick."
If there is a mad scientist behind the scenes at MTI, it is Gary Stray of Supercat Rigging, who
has a shop a 15 minutes away in Moscow Mills. Gary is an intregal part of MTI, even though
his shop is separate from Randy’s. Gary fabricates many of the custom creations and parts
implemented into the various themed boats. There is nothing the talented designer can’t make.
On this particular day, he was out of town so Sean Hanlon gave us a tour. We ran across a new
MTI that is being built with the Looney Tunes characters.
Gary had the dash section out of the boat where he was creating a steering column based
on the Tasmanian Devil.
It is astounding what Gary is able to create.
Many of the characters have related functions in operating the boat. They were also
working on a top-secret drive setup for a new MTI race boat, which we were again asked
to only show a side angle of the boat as to not reveal any of the engineering modifications
that are being incorporated to hopefully make this a champion.
While JW spent a couple hours going through the facilities, I stayed in the office as I could no
We left and began the 2.5-hour drive to Lake of the Ozarks for the Midwestboatparty poker
run. The girls followed in Mindy’s car. As a local, Mindy was supposedly familiar with the
area, as she and Marci Fortner had both visited Lake of the Ozarks before. While en route,
Mindy’s car blew a tire. We circled a couple of times, trying to find them despite bad directions
from Marci. Eventually, though, they were offered assistance after showing a little thigh on
the side of the highway. It was just as well, as none of us really wanted to get dirty. We drove
on to the Inn at the Grand Glaize in Osage Beach. The girls ended up getting a new tire and
driving two hours out of their way before figuring out they were almost to the next state
before turning around. As we checked into the hotel, my foot was excruciatingly painful and
more than double its normal size. We went to dinner at a Steak n Shake, which is a well-
established chain in the Midwest.
JW bought me a walking cane at Wal-Mart for the event the following day.
July 12: By now, I was in big trouble. I hobbled to the shower to get ready for the event.
I didn’t want to disappoint JW and I didn’t want to miss out on the action. But I simply could
not walk at all. So I stayed in my room while the team went to the event.
until 3 p.m. and then began working on my blog and watched Walk the Line in my room.
JW and the team returned at around 6 p.m. and we went to dinner. Even with the cane, I could
hardly walk. JW downloaded some pics from the event that he had taken.
After dinner, we went to meet Jeff Huebner and Ed Champion who put on the event. They were
very friendly and I met the owners that shuffled our crew around. We stayed for an hour
and then went home. I took several Loritab and went to sleep.
July 13: The drive back to St. Louis was long and painful. Earl had to carry my bags to security.
I hobbled through the St. Louis airport, where they offered me a wheelchair. I deferred,
but requested one in Vegas. Riding in the wheelchair through McCarran Airport was an embarrassing
experience. But thank God I did, because the monorail was shut down and it would have seemed
like a painful death march.