It's not just every day that someone in town turns 100 and since we not only have that happening, and we happen to have a nearly 100 year old who is the last Captain of a Great Lakes steamer ship who's berthed in Muskegon and is older than the Titanic, with still not a single leak in her hull...well, it's going to have to be the "worst surprise party" in the world.
Captain Bob Priefer began his time on board the Milwaukee Clipper fresh out of high school as a dishwasher. From the most humble beginnings come some amazing people right? Bob was the boss right up until the ship sailed it's last voyage and still today at 99 spends time as a volunteer on the ship telling the history and sparking the imagination of those young and old who come to take the tour of what it was like once upon a time to sail in luxury on the Great Lakes. Even at his advanced age, Bob's wit and wisdom are still right on point while it might not be his season for winning foot races any more.
One of those who was inspired by the Clipper is Brock Johnson. In advancing the visit to Muskegon Tonight Live with the Captain on July 28th at 7:30 at Burl and Sprig, we met Brock and began setting the pieces into motion. Showing up to meet Brock, it would seem history is repeating itself. Brock began asking about working on the Milwaukee Clipper when he was 12. When he was 14, they figured out he wasn't going away, so....he became the "soda jerk" at the ice cream shop. At 18, quite impressively he's the Webmaster, Volunteer Coordinator, Tour Guide, Historian....this guy is a walking encyclopedia of all things Milwaukee Clipper and of all the young people we come across....one to keep a keen eye on. Sharp and driven!
Brock gave us a little time to talk about the ship, where it's at as far as the restoration and hopes to find a permanent spot in Downtown Muskegon. At Grand Trunk, it's only a temporary location, once a permanent spot is secured, work can begin in earnest on restoration with grants and historical preservation funding. We also talk about Captain Priefer and his upcoming visit. He will be joining us this Thursday at Burl and Sprig for the "Worst kept secret surprise party" ever. Tickets are free and you can CLICK HERE to get them. Hey, if nothing else, enjoy the free cake from Corrine's Cakes and Catering.
It's an enlightening conversation with a remarkably sharp guest. Take a listen.
We've got a couple pieces of serious history here, both steeped in dignity in their own way. To come and help celebrate a century of life with Bob isn't something that comes along every day. To learn more about the incredibly deep history of a ship that's outlasted even the most "unsinkable" ship the world has ever seen that just happens to be sitting here in Muskegon and open for tours Thursday through Sunday is an opportunity that happens in only one place. The Milwaukee Clipper has even given us a limited supply of collectable historic gifts to pass out at the show when Bob is on hand! We hope to see you at Burl and Sprig Thursday! CLICK HERE for the free reserved tickets. Our thanks to Brock and Captain Bob for the amazing opportunity.