TODAY’S BOAT BUYER: Ranger Z19 Comanche

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Don and Jamie Cooper have been enjoying their 24-foot Tracker pontoon "party barge" for three years, but it wasn't efficient for fishing, which is Jamie Cooper's passion. So, in March, the couple bought a Ranger Z19 Comanche from Angler's Port Marine of Warsaw, Mo.

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"Ranger is the best boat you can buy," says Jamie Cooper. "It's great for fishing and it's got plenty of room for us and our two children."

The couple was looking at all types of vessels at the Kansas City Mid-America Boat Show, which was held in February, when they saw the Ranger on display at the Angler's Port Marine display. Jamie Cooper, 31, says they found the red-and-white trim, sturdy fishing platform and powerful engine attractive for their boating needs.

"We made the deal at the show, but then we bought the boat at the dealership," says Don Cooper, who manages a branch of an electric machine company. "It's a little more than we wanted to spend, but it's exactly what we wanted."

Jamie Cooper says they started looking for a boat about six weeks prior to the show and decided to pay cash to avoid financing. The boat retails at $35,000, fully loaded with electronics and a 2-stroke 200-hp Mercury outboard, according to the dealership.

"They had a few incentives; they provided a swim ladder for our kids to get in and out of the boat," says Don Cooper. "We also got about $500 worth of Ranger gear and clothing, as well as a couple of fishing lures."

Don Cooper says they did go back and forth on the price, but managed to come to a number everyone could agree upon.

"There are lots of Ranger dealers near us, but we picked this one because they were very friendly and close to the lake," says Jamie Cooper. "I remember the first time we took the boat out and we hit a stump and our prop got messed up and they met us on the water and towed us back."

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The dealer, Dennis Morgan, says his company's policy is to make sure their customers get the proper support they need before and after the sale.

"It's part of what we do," says Morgan. "If there's something we can do for our customers, we do it."

As for the future of the economy, Don Cooper believes it will be a slow turnaround, but people who are passionate about boating will still go out and do it. He compares it to another of his hobbies - flying airplanes.

"The people that still want to do it will still have them; it's the same way with boats," he says.

— Elizabeth Ellis

l.ellis@soundingspub.com

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