The Incredible Cask Of Kinley Clapp And The Kuttawa Cannonball Run

The Incredible Cask Of Kinley Clapp And The Kuttawa Cannonball Run

A pair of proud Kuttawa, Ky., locals, David and Kim Clapp live year-round in the rural town with their 13-year-old son, Kinley. On weekends when weather allows, they run their Sunsation Boats 32 CCX center console on their home-waters of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. They love their time on the water almost—key word—as much as their hometown.

Built by 13-year-old Kuttawa resident Kinley Clapp, this bourbon barrel fetched $7,000 in last night’s auction.

Like all of the participants at the eighth annual Kuttawa Cannonball Run this weekend, the Clapps didn’t get much boating time. Friday’s flawless weather for the lunch run and raft-up at Prizer Point Marina couldn’t hold up—as forecasted early in the week—for Saturday’s main event, a 120-mile roundtrip lunch run to the Breakers Marina in Tennessee. Wind and rain were the order of the day. Saturday’s lunch run and raft-up got the axe.

But that didn’t matter much to the Clapps, who have participated in all eight Kuttawa happenings.

“This event has been a huge asset for the community,” said David Clapp.

Added his wife, Kim, “It’s been a blessing to our sheriff’s department, rescue squad and the boy and girls ranch program.”

That lesson is not lost on Kinley Clapp, despite his tender age. In fact, he even built an item for the Saturday night auction—the Kuttawa Cannonball Run’s real main event led by auctioneer Nolan Ferris.

“I made a bourbon barrel,” Clapp explained to a curious reporter. “It has two shelves for your bourbon bottles or anything else you want to put on them. And it has lights underneath it so you can see what you’re doing at night.”

(From left) Miles, Ferris, Hoefling and Martin took a risk and went forward with the live auction, and the gamble paid off.

Asked if would also supply the requisite spirits, he laughed. “Uh, no sir,” he said. “They have to get their own.”

Though Clapp wouldn’t mind following his folks into the Sunsation owners family, he’d prefer something other than a center console.

“I want an outboard cat, just any outboard cat,” he said and grinned. “I just really like outboard cats.”

Clapp’s bourbon barrel fetched $7,800. That made it the biggest-ticket item during the auction, which is the Kuttawa Cannonball Run’s real main event. The winning bidder?

Terry Martin, who organizes the event with Jeff Hoefling and Stephen Miles.

The precise final total isn’t in yet, but Hoefling estimates it at approximately $84,000. Though the auction has brought in more money in recent years, it did so with two to three times the numbers of bidders. Once they learned that Saturday’s on-water events were canceled, most participants departed. Concerned about maximizing fundraising, the organizers even planned to move the auction to an online platform rather than go with live format, and simply let the folks remaining play out their poker card hands.

Friday’s lunch run to Prizer Point Marina and the raft-up that followed were the only boating action of the weekend during the Kuttawa Cannonball Run. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Like those who stuck around to catch the one and only Nolan Ferris auction show, they were glad they were glad they didn’t

“It was unbelievable and a spur the moment decision,” said Hoefling. “Nolan looked at Terry and me and said, “Let’s do it.”

Ferris and his wife, Kim, own and operate a small summer resort in Upstate New York. The Kuttawa event couldn’t happen at a worse time for the couple as being there means giving up three precious prep days for the season. And yet while Kim Ferris can’t always be there, Nolan Ferris refuses to miss it.

“It’s all about the people and their hospitality—that’s what makes Kuttawa so special,” he said. “And when I say ‘hospitality,’ I’m not just talking about Jeff Hoefling, Terry Martin and Stephen Miles, their volunteers, the participants and the staff a Hu-B’s restaurant in Kuttawa Harbor. Every time I go into a store here, heck, every time I get gas or get a chicken sandwich, the people are like, ‘Thank you for being here, we really appreciate you, have a great time.’ The entire event is just incredible.”

Even when most of it gets rained out.

Kim, Kinley and David Clapp are proof positive that charity starts at home.

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