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SeaArk celebrates 50 years in business

Celebrating 50 years in business this year, SeaArk Boats will kick off its Golden Anniversary Celebration next week at its annual dealer meeting in Branson, Mo.

Attendees will commemorate the occasion, and all dealers will be given a golden plaque for their stores recognizing them as an authorized dealer of SeaArk Boats.

The family is also planning a community-wide celebration Sept. 18 in Monticello, Ark. All members of the community, former employees, vendors, dealers and customers are invited. A short ceremony will take place at the SeaArk Marine plant followed by plant tours at both SeaArk Marine and SeaArk Boat facilities.

The 50th anniversary celebration will conclude in New Orleans at the International Workboat Show in December.

Zach McClendon Jr., along with his father, Zach McClendon Sr. and another local businessman, Norris Judkins, started MonArk Boat Co. in May 1958.

MonArk Boat eventually grew to include a large recreational division that offered aluminum and fiberglass boats and manufactured a range of products such as ski boats, pontoons, houseboats, sailboats, canoes and bass boats in addition to the basic jon boat that is still built today. Soon after inception, MonArk was asked to build a boat with a small cabin for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and, with this new product, the workboat division was born.

In 1988, the Mercury powerboat division of Brunswick purchased the recreational division of MonArk Boat Co. and, along with it, the MonArk name. McClendon retained the Workboat side of the company and renamed it SeaArk Marine.

After a four-year non-compete agreement with Brunswick expired in 1992, Zach McClendon once again started building recreational products under the name SeaArk Boats. The company focused on building all-welded, heavy duty, aluminum hunting and fishing boats and today has more than100 dealers across the United States.

McClendon's children now run the day-to-day operations of the companies. His son, John McClendon, serves as president of SeaArk Marine and daughter, Robin McClendon, is president of SeaArk Boats. Zach McClendon, at 72, is still active in the business serving as chairman of the board for both companies and assisting with new product development and problem-solving consulting.

"I can't believe 50 years have passed since we built the first 12-foot jon boat," he said in a statement. "I am tremendously proud of these two companies and the family of employees that have helped shape our success."

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