Story by Sarah Naron
HENDERSON – As a 30-year-old in 1980, Ken Hale knew that if he wanted to achieve his goal of owning and operating his own business, he needed to go out and make it happen.
“I looked around at many different things, and I found this little sleeper company and thought I could do something with it,” Hale explained.
The company to which Hale referred was Boatcycle, Inc., which was started in 1954 by Sam and Corrine Dearmond in their family garage. In addition to founding the organization, Sam also designed, constructed, and obtained a patent for the Boatcycle, an early version of the present-day trolling motor.
From its humble beginnings, Boatcycle – operated by Hale along with his wife, Molly, and their son and daughter-in-law, Kirk and Rachel – has grown to enjoy success as the state of Texas’s largest supplier of aquaculture products.
“Here in Northeast Texas, we are just covered up by many, many lakes,” Hale pointed out. “We’re really in the center of some of the best fishing areas that you can have. Plus, in East Texas – where we predominantly get the majority of the rain here in the state – every county has numerous farm ponds. In Rusk County alone – and I’m sure this is the case in practically every other county in the state – there’s over 2,000 farm ponds.”
Each individual farm pond, of course, comes along with the need to be properly taken care of in order to serve the landowner.
“Just having a hole of water usually causes problems to start developing, and you need to take care of it,” Hale said. “Our business is aimed at helping private homeowners who have property with ponds and lakes to meet those needs when they come up.”
Typically, Hale explained, landowners searching for assistance with their bodies of water first contact their county’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent.
“They’ll visit with him a few minutes, and many, many times, he will then refer them onto us for a deeper analysis as far as what needs to be done,” Hale said. “The agents all know that we don’t do it just to sell product. Many times, we visit with people without ever selling anything. But we do give them the information they need, and everyone is always so appreciative of that.”
The company also supplies live tilapia and has been doing so since 1996.
“Texas A&M had sent researchers to the Philippines to learn what they could about tilapia, because the United States was kind of behind what everybody else in the world was already doing,” Hale shared. “It’s widely known as a food fish; it has grown to become the fifth most popular food fish.”
As the research gathered by Texas A&M concluded, tilapia are also extremely beneficial in the management of private lakes and ponds in three specific areas.
“One was vegetation control, another was mosquito suppression, and the other was forage for the growth of bass and catfish,” Hale explained.
In addition to aiding pond and lake owners, Boat Cycle is also available to lend a helping hand to landowners in search of an efficient means of combating the overwhelming population of feral hogs. The company is a supplier of the BoarBuster, a trapping system developed through research from The Noble Research Institute of Ardmore, OK.
For more information on Boatcycle, visit www.boatcycle.com or call 903-657-3791, 903-657-6873, or toll free at 800-333-9154.
Boatcylce’s warehouse is located at 219 N. Van Buren in Henderson, while the company’s retail store is at 213 N. Van Buren.