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Greetings And Happy New Year To All Of Our 1995 Customers

As another year flies by, we'd like to take this opportunity to share with our guests all the memorable moments - the ups and downs - of our year here at Black Oak. We do this every year to fix in our minds just what we accomplished, where we are going, and to remind ourselves what a large part our guests always play in the satisfaction we feel in what we do.

Articles

     Some Improvements During The Year
     Celebrities, Congratulations, and Thanks
     New For 1996...Black Oak Inn
     While You're Staying With Us...
     A Better Route To Get Here
     "Best" List of Area Restaurants
     From Our Guests - Chocolate Eclair Desert
     Discount Policies
     Off-Season Rates
     Annual Black Oak Fishing Contest
     Something New

This completes our 11th year here at Black Oak Resort. Some of our guests have been with us since that first year in 1985. Each year we've tried to make our resort even better for you and your families. This year was no different in that respect, but to our disappointment, we didn't get as far along with plans for the lodge as we'd have liked. More on that later. But first, here's our year as it happened.

We started off the year with car troubles while up in Chicago for the Sports Show. We had to delay our departure four days while waiting for our car to be fixed (blown head gasket). This was not good when we needed to hang out by the phone after the show, the time when most people are calling for reservations.

We made it home OK, but then the engine light started going on. Betty took it to the Ford dealer, who found that there was little or no oil pressure. Since the car is a 1983, they told us that we should basically drive the thing until it blows up.

Well, that didn't sit right with us, plus they wanted too much money to replace the engine. So, Michael found a mechanic at Gainesville, Missouri, who would install a rebuilt engine for around $1,300. The mechanic had a good reputation, but a long waiting list, so we got the car back in April.

Come to find out, the problem with our car was that the last person to work on the engine back in Chicago had left a shop rag in the engine, which was blocking the oil pressure. Not a precipitous start for the year. At this point we were out over $2,000 on the car. But it runs! We have decided that we need to get a newer car, maybe in 1996. Remember, this is our newest vehicle!

Betty was also very sick from something she picked up in Chicago, finally threw in the towel and saw a doctor. After two weeks on antibiotics, she was doing fine. Betty had never taken antibiotics before, so she must have been really sick.

We had our work cut out for us this year. It proved to be one of our harder years due mainly to water problems. First, our holding tank sprang a leak, so we had to replace it. Because our guests are without water while the repair operations are underway, this can be very stressful for all!

The next water emergency was on July 3, during the heat of summer and a fast moving summer storm. We heard a lightning strike, there was just a sprinkling of rain, and the next thing we knew, our guests were inquiring about the low water pressure. Believe it or not, lightning had struck our well pump and had fried it!

So, we were into the Fourth of July holiday with no water and a fat chance of finding a supply store open or a well man to work on a holiday. But, then, Bud came through for us. He had repaired our pump a few years back, and came quickly to our assistance. Talk about luck! Bud came home to lunch and got our message from his wife. He picked up a pump and came on out. Within hours, we had water.

Since the pump was still under warranty, we were out only a service call. We made sure Bud was given a BIG BONUS for saving our skins.

On a personal level, this was also a year of loss. Michael's mother passed away November 9 at the age of 85. She had been in a Catholic nursing home for about a year when she died. We made the trip to Chicago for her funeral. We are grateful to Kristi for making it possible for us to both be able to go.

As for our three dogs: our Siberian, Kala, will be 11, and we expect to have her many years since the vet says this breed is long-lived; our dear Golden Lab, Herbie, just turned 10, and has the energy of a puppy, maybe due to his long daily walks on Ozark Isle with Betty; our junkyard dog, Grant, is 9, and although overweight, is still in excellent health.

Our cats number 11. Two of the females are spayed, and the rest need to be. Please send donations!

Michael is still Oakland's Fire Chief, and Betty is finishing up her term on the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce Board.

Our plans for the lodge move slowly ahead. We want to make great strides this winter, because once the tourist season starts, we can't spare any more time to plan. The bank loan looks encouraging although we won't get final approval until the job is bid. We have selected our architect. Construction may be underway when we see you next, but the job won't be finished until late '96 or early '97. Experience has taught us that we must do a thorough job up front on a project of this size. So, please be patient. We know the wait will be worthwhile.

We'd like to thank all our guests for another successful year, and for all the wonderful memories of good times we had. We look forward to seeing you all in '96. We will again be at the Chicagoland Sport Show at O'Hare Expo Center January 26 through February 4 (Booth 822). We hope to see you there.

We made some improvements during the year:

     Purchased a Mag-17 bass boat, which has a 60 hp motor and a 4 hp kicker motor for trolling, plus a paper graph, trolling motor, live well, and tape player. (This is a very nice fishing boat!)

     Added clock radios in all cabins.

     Added bedroom nightstands in all deluxe cabins.

     Added two new queen sleeper sofas in Cabin 6. (Our nonsmoking, no pet cabin!)

     Added a deck onto Cabin 3. (All cabins have decks now, except for Cabin 9!)

     Added two storage lockers on the dock. Added New No-Smoking, No Pets Cabins -Since designating one "No Smoking" and one "No Smoking - No Pets" cabin, we have had no problem filling them. Depending upon demand, we may add more in the future, but we'll leave it the same for '96.

Celebrities, Congratulations, and Thanks

One of our "regulars" here at Black Oak now qualifies for inclusion in our Celebrity Hall-of-Fame. He's Bill Zeman of Roanoke, Illinois. As coach of the Roanoke-Benson Rockets baseball team, he took his team all the way to the State Championships. They became Illinois Class A High School State Champions for 1995. They were also distinguished by being the first undefeated team to win this honor with a 30-0 record. Bill was inducted into the Illinois Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in February, and had the distinction of being the youngest inductee. Bill has also been named 1995's "Coach of the Year" by the Illinois High School Coaches Association. We're proud of you, Bill. Congratulations!

Also, our reigning celebrity, Rodney Poynter, deserves special mention again. He was instrumental in our community getting its newest fire truck. Michael had heard about this truck for sale near Lemont, Illinois. He called upon Rodney to do the legwork for him since it would have required a trip up there otherwise. You can't buy a used truck sight unseen! Rodney not only took the time right before his vacation to make a trip out to Lemont to talk to the department and see the truck - he also test drove it, and brought his brother-in-law along to videotape it for us. Then he brought the tape with him for his vacation with us in September. Rodney said the truck was a steal, and he was right. Everybody loves the truck, Rodney, and you're now an honorary Oakland/Promise Land volunteer firefighter. Thanks again!

Thanks are also in order for the very talented and artistic Renee Bozek. When Betty asked her to make us a poster for our fishing contest, little did we know what a beautiful poster we'd get. She did a great design, even incorporating our logo with its actual colors, and adding one of the best jumping bass I've seen. The sign is all laminated and reusable each year, just with a change of the removable cards for the year, and the details of each fish category. We've received many compliments on it. Thanks so much for all the time this must have taken, Renee!

Congratulations also to the very first guest we ever had. Karen Vogel has been coming here ever since we opened, and this past November she married her longtime love, David Yenzer. They honeymooned with us over the Thanksgiving holidays. We're very happy for them. Betty still has a few other couples she's working on to get them to the altar, but this is her first success. Congratulations and much happiness to you two!

New For 1996...Black Oak Inn

We made a major purchase in 1995; we bought Hi-View Motel, which is about a half-mile west of us on 202. You may be asking "why?". For three reasons:

One, we get lots of calls for short stays which we usually don't take here at the resort. This way we have a place for those who want only two or three day stays with us.

Two, many of our guests would like for other friends or family to be down at the same time they are here, and we're usually booked pretty solid throughout the busiest tourist months. This way, there is a place for these people to stay that lives up to our standards.

Three, during the peak tourist months, there is a definite shortage of quality accommodations in our area.

In other words, it was the perfect add-on to our resort business. We do not plan to market it as a resort, but as an inn (Black Oak Inn, to be exact), totally separate from our resort. The rooms are like a motel, but with kitchenettes and full baths. Each room has two double beds. One has an extra room with two twin beds. The rates will be reasonable. We expect that this purchase will not have any impact on our plans for a lodge, since we expect it will basically pay for itself. The financing was quite creative, with us not having to put hardly anything down.

While You're Staying With Us...

Although most of our guests are perfectly content to spend as much time as they can right here at the resort, I always recommend some extra activities that are particularly memorable and enjoyable. While you are staying with us, I recommend that you try at least one of these:

A trip along the White River on the White River Railway. This is our newest tourist attraction, and has been given a thumbs-up by many of our guests. The trips are round trip from Flippin to Calico Rock and back, following the course of the White River. They have just added a dining car, which is being catered by the 178 Club, one of the area's finest restaurants.

Try a massage. Arrangements can be made for groups of two or more to have a massage therapist come to our resort and do your massage right here. What a lovely way to pamper yourself while you're vacationing.

A float trip along the White River. Whether you fish is up to you, but the scenery is breathtaking, the water is cool and crystal clear, the shore lunches are scrumptious, the fishing is always lively, and most days you'll get your limit of trout. These trout are the best tasting you'll ever experience. It is possible to combine the White River float one way and the White River Railway trip the other way. Or, you can take a very long float of up to 80 miles if you choose not to fish. We can recommend the best guides for a guaranteed great experience! We'll be happy to make reservations for you. These trips cost about $185 for two for an all-day float, but we guarantee, it's worth every penny.

A Better Route To Get Here

For those of you coming from Illinois to get here, we have found what we think is a better way to get around St. Louis than on I-55. Take the south end bypass around St. Louis instead of the 270 Bypass. Take I-55 to 255. Take 255 South to 270 Bypass. Take 270 to I-44 West. This is not as congested and is shorter than the 270 Bypass and takes less time. It's only five miles longer than going straight through the city.

"Best" List of Area Restaurants

Best Appetizer Potato Skins, 178 Club, Bull Shoals
Best View Gaston's, overlooking the White River
Best Steaks The Top Kat, State Line in Missouri
Best Buffet The Front Porch, Yellville
Bamboo Garden, Mountain Home
Best Seafood 178 Club, Bull Shoals
Fred's Fish House, Mountain Home
Best Hamburger The Back Forty, Mountain Home
Top Kat, State Line in Missouri
Best Night Atmosphere Chelsea's, Mountain Home
Best Day Atmosphere Kathy's Tea Room, Mountain Home
Best Oriental Bamboo Garden, Mountain Home
Best Value European House, Mountain Home
Newest Restaurants Winham's Country Buffet, Mountain Home
Dining Car on the White River Railway
Newest Fast Food Burger King, Mountain Home
Best Salad Chelsea's, Mountain Home
Best Prime Rib 178 Club, Bull Shoals (Saturdays)
Best Fast Food McDonald's, (also no smoking) Mountain Home

From Our Guests

Our cookouts give us a chance to try out everybody's star recipes. This year again produced lots of winners. The one that we had the most requests for was from a Texan, Gloria Sears. It's an easy dessert with the authentic taste of chocolate eclairs. Don't let the ingredients fool you. It tastes exactly like the real thing. A real winner!

Chocolate Eclair Dessert
by Gloria Sears

     Graham crackers
     2 3-oz. pkgs. vanilla pudding
           (Gloria uses French Vanilla)
     8 oz. Cool-Whip
     1 can milk chocolate frosting

Layer bottom of 13" x 9" pan with graham crackers. Mix pudding according to directions on package; stir in Cool-Whip with the pudding. Pour over graham crackers. Frost enough graham crackers to cover the pudding mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (Better if left overnight.)

Discount Policies

We offer several types of discounts for our guests.

Repeat Customer Discount. We offer a 10% cabin discount to returning guests on subsequent stays with us. This discount applies to any confirmed reservation WITH DEPOSIT RECEIVED BY JANUARY 20. Reservation must be for three or more days. This discount is our way of showing our appreciation to you for the greatest compliment we can receive: Someone who likes what we have to offer and comes back over and over.

Referral Discount. We also offer a referral discount to our REPEAT customers. Whenever we receive a reservation of three or more days from a new customer who was referred to us by you, 10% of that new customer's cabin stay will be discounted off your next stay. Word-of-mouth recommendations are the best free advertising we can get, and we want to pass the savings on to you.

Off-Season Rates

Our off-season begins November 1 and continues through March 15. Come see us after the crowd has left and treat yourself to the most peaceful vacation ever.

Weather is mild here year 'round, and you can still enjoy the outdoors minus most of the tourists.

We offer 25% off our regular rates at this time on stays of 3 days or more. No other discounts apply.

We also offer 10% AARP discounts during October.

1995 Results: Annual Black Oak Fishing Contest

This year, the most exciting fishing event was probably the White Bass that Mike Huddleston caught in June. Our whites keep getting bigger and bigger, with records falling all the time. The last four years the winning white was in the four pound range. This year, the biggest white ever caught here at Black Oak was 5 pounds 1 ounce, which is close to the state record of 5 pounds 4 ounces. When we weighed it on our scale it weighed more than the state record, so we immediately called Game & Fish. They told us we should bring it in to their office for an official weight. Mike and Marcia Huddleston did everything in their power to keep it alive so it would not lose ounces. But, after so much time was lost, it officially weighed only 5 pounds 1 ounce. But we know it was really a state record. Congratulations, Mike! By the way, the biggest whites statistically are caught in June.

The fish were bigger this year in four categories (Largemouth, Kentucky, White, and Walleye). The crappie weren't as big as last year, but we had a great bumper crop of crappie during April. Looking back, the biggest crappie were caught in April in six of the past nine years. So if it's crappie you really are after, I'd suggest an April fishing trip.

Again, seven of the category winners were from our home state of Illinois. They win big every year. Our only winning woman also qualifies in the children's category. Ten-year-old Emily Dessent landed the largest Walleye, beating out her dad, Bob, who has won before. Also, 11-year-old Eric Immke did what his dad, Bill, is still trying to do. He won for biggest rainbow. Another previous winner, Todd Eckert, won this time in two categories. Jasper Tavolacci won this year, but last year his wife Susan won with a much bigger brown trout. A hollow victory, eh Jasper?

Category winners were caught in every month from March through July, and again in October.

Notice also that downrigging is a great way to get your kids interested in fishing. I'll bet that Eric Immke and Emily Dessent will be more than willing to go fishing next year.

All contest winners will receive an additional 10% cabin discount on their next stay with us, plus a Black Oak cap or T-shirt. Winners names will also be immortalized on a plaque at Black Oak Resort.

Congratulations, winners!

Largemouth Bass
6 lb. 3 oz.
Dale Wade
Farmington, MO
October 6, 2 a.m.
Green Gitzit
Night-Fishing
Full Moon
Smallmouth Bass
3 lb. 14 oz.
Todd Eckert
Waukegan, IL
May 11
Minnow
Trolling
Kentucky Bass
3 lb. 10 oz.
Phil Golladay
Saunemin, IL
March 21, 3 p.m.
White/Chrome-Tail
Berkeley Power Grub
Partly sunny, warm
33 feet
Walleye
7 lb. 4 oz.
Emily Dessent
Age 10
Schaumburg, IL
July 12, 7:30 a.m.
Pink & Silver Northport Nailer
Downrigger, 65 feet
Crappie
1 lb. 14 oz.
David Churchill
Walkerton, IN
April 16
Smoke & Silver Grub
Evening, sunny
Brown Trout
4 lbs.
Jasper Tavolacci
Elk Grove Village, IL
June 28
Live Worm
White River
Rainbow Trout
3 lb. 7 oz.
Eric Immke
Age 11
Saunemin, IL
July 19, 7 a.m.
Purple & Chrome Pro King,
Clear
Downrigger, 65 ft.
White Bass
5 lb. 1 oz.
20" Long, 16" Girth
Mike Huddleston
Elgin, IL
June 21, 8 a.m.
Silver Hula-Grub
Clear, Calm, Hot
Channel Catfish (Blue)
12 lb. 12 oz.
Todd Eckert
Waukegan, IL
May 8
Live Minnow
Limb-Lining

As we welcome you back in 1996, look forward to something new at Black Oak!

Number one on our agenda is putting all our time and energy in getting the lodge built. We're still planning on putting in a dining room, private club, entertainment theater, fireplace, workout facility, pool table, laundry facility, gift shop, reservation desk, and, most importantly, "living quarters."

We also hope to have a kenneling facility and an observatory.

New also in 1996:

A new larger motor (60 hp) for our 28-foot pontoon.

Two 25" TVs with remote for Cabins 6 and 7. New heat pump/air conditioner for Cabin 5.

On our wish list is a newer car, a new computer, and a fax machine.

We're also considering new small satellite dishes in each deluxe cabin.

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Black Oak Resort • P.O. Box 100 • Oakland, Arkansas 72661 • Phone: (870) 431-8363

 

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