A Week in the Life of Ralph Stokley

Editor’s note: Our blog editor asked Ralph Stokley what his week was going to look like and when he might be able to squeeze in another “Tip of the Week” video for social media. Here’s his response:


You asked me for a chance to get together and make a new video. I’m happy to do so.  Here is what my week looks like.

Saturday June 2nd. Up at 5:55 a.m. Go to work at 7 and pick up customer’s boat that we serviced and detailed. Take to Herrington Lake for 8 a.m. launch with customer. Drop off his trailer and go back to work at 9 a.m. and open the store. Make sure that all of Saturday’s new delivery boats are ready or getting ready for new customer pick-up. Make sure service boats that are promised are done and ready to go. Have one of the boats ready for next week’s In Water Boat Show on Lake Cumberland. Leave at 2 p.m. to take 28’ Cobalt down to Cumberland in preparation for next week’s show. Drop boat off. Head over to Jamestown Marina on Lake Cumberland for 5 p.m. demo ride in 27’ Cobalt R7 surf boat, meet a very nice family and take them out to learn about surfing.  The Dad gets up as well as his son. Very successful at surfing. 7 p.m. head back to Lexington for dinner with Cecile. 9:30 p.m. Sorry it’s so late, Honey.

Sunday June 3 In the morning I’m heading to the airport for 11:17 a.m. flight to Chicago and then connecting to Springfield, Missouri, for a dealer council meeting at Tracker Marine. We will be discussing future Suntracker and Regency pontoon boats for the future. Dealer input and Customer input is very important to Tracker. Dinner meeting on Sunday night.

Monday June 4 6 a.m breakfast and then meeting begins at 7:30 a.m., then most of the day meeting with the Tracker executives, designers, sales team, engineers and quality team. I only get to go to Tracker Headquarters — “Base Camp” in Tracker-speak — once a year or so. It’s great to see so many of my friends from “Base” and to make a few new new ones, too. We will review the current lineup and make suggestions for future models and new features. 12 noon working lunch and continue meeting. Session ends at 2 p.m. I’m then off to the airport in Springfield and on a 4:22 flight to Chicago and then back to Lexington. Land at 10:59 p.m. Cecile will pick me up at the airport. “Sorry it’s so late, Honey “

Then to bed.

Tuesday June 5 5:55 a.m. Up and eat breakfast and back at work at 7 a.m. First day of our work week. Answer emails and re-order boats sold from the last 2 days. Most 2 productive hours of my day are before we open. Open store at 9 am. Take phone calls, service and otherwise. 12 noon eat lunch on the run, usually leftovers; Cecile is good about cooking extras so I have lunch for the week. Lunch can be fast or take an hour depending on volume of business and calls at lunch time. 1 p.m. meeting with our Yamaha Jet Boat sales representative, James. Discuss our current sales and any issues that he can help us with. Make sure to be at the Yamaha dealer meeting in the fall. He will check our CSI “Customer Satisfaction Index.” How happy are our new boat owners? I expect 100 percent. It tends to be that or close to it.

At 6 p.m. close, we will stay to finish with any customers still in the store. Tends to happen more this time of year, but we are happy to do so. Finish paperwork and emails for day. Usually get done at 7-7:30 p.m. Head to the gym for workout. Done by 8:30. Head home for late dinner. 9:00. Sorry, Honey. Spend last hour of day with Cecile and go to bed at 11. Read for a few and I’m gone.

Wednesday June 6 5:55 a.m. alarm goes off and I’m downstairs to breakfast. To work again by 7. Same deal as yesterday: new people and maybe meet some new friends as new customers or will definitely talk to many current customers during the day. I will make sure the mechanics have all of the work they need to work on for the day. I am the service manager, too. Make sure that all of this week’s new boats get rigged and cleaned for customer pickup. Make sure we have a Delivery Captain ready to do the customers’ new boat orientations with them. We try to not do deliveries at 9 a.m. but we can schedule as many as 1 per hour in a day. Saturday’s are that way a lot. But Wednesday’s don’t have that many. Work, take phone calls, etc. I had a nice compliment from a customer this spring. He said that it is refreshing to call our store and ask for me and he never gets the interrogation. Who is this? May I ask why you need Mr Stokley? What is the nature of your business? Can someone else talk to you? Are you sure that you really know Ralph? What is his favorite pizza? And, well, we all know the drill. Leah answers the phone and says please hold and I’ll get him. That was a nice thing for him to say about me. I always did what my Dad did, answer the phone and deal with whatever is on the other end, good or bad, in the best way that I can. Close at 6 leave about 7:00 or 7:30. If it’s not raining I will eat dinner and maybe mow the lawn. Done at dark, I hope. 9:15 take shower and see Cecile, sorry, Honey, that it’s so late. Bed 10:30-11:00.

Thursday June 7 5:55-7:00 you know the drill by now. Make sure the last 3 boats are ready to go to the In the Water Boat Show for the weekend. Work till 6 p.m.-7 p.m., hook to a boat and have Jack Stokley hook to another one and we’re off to Cumberland, 2 hours for those of you not from around here. Be at the lake by 9ish. Cecile, Jack and I will stay at the Lake for the weekend In the Water Boat Show.

Friday June 8 I will have someone bring one more boat down to the lake, Kody or Dustin probably. Jack and I will start over to Jamestown Marine and launch the 3 boats we have down at the lake. We will drive them across the lake to State Dock for the 3 Day boat show. We will get the boat that is brought down to the lake and put it in the water plus our boat from our boat lift and transfer all 5 of the to the show. Remember that the only way back is by water so we will drive 2 boats over but have to bring one back each time as a ferry. This makes the whole process very slow. We also have to park the trailers in the trailer parking lot. About 1 hour per boat. Also we have to pack everything in the boats that we need at the show. Brochures, signs, paper work, tape, pens and whatever we need.   We make a list and keep it from year to year but we always seem to forget something:( show starts at 2:00 Central time, 3:00 our time and goes till 7, 8 our time. We will cover up all of the boats and then Jack and I will get back in a boat and cross the lake back to Jamestown Marina. Grab some dinner at 9ish. Go see Cecile and Buffett. Sorry, Honey.

Saturday June 9 go to the marina get the boat, cross the lake. Uncover the boats and have a boat show. Demo rides and what not.  I think it’s going to be a hot one today. “So close to the lake but can’t take a swim.” Eat a burger from the marina for lunch. Make some new friends, see lots of customers from years past. Hopefully sell some boats.

Show is over at 6.

May take a boat ride. I hope Cecile will go with us.

I do this all day but I still love going out on the boat about as well as any activity that I can do in a day. You get that, right? If you did not you would not even be reading this. Especially this long into this long report of my week. You must be a boat nut like me, right?

Sunday is a good one. We get to sleep in — the show does not start until 11a.m.

Go to Jamestown, get on boat, ride to State Dock Show and work the show until 4. Then we move all 5 boats back to Jamestown and load 4 of them on trailers, hook them to trucks, Jack, Neil, Kody or Tim will come down to tow one, and I will tow one. We should be back to work by 8 p.m. So sorry, Cecile!!!!!

Monday I get a day off, I’ll probably go to the lake. I must be crazy.