- With the push of a button and the whining of a winch, John Wendt singlehandedly symbolizes the end of a season.
"You see the changing of the leaves, I just love being out here every day," Wendt said.
Wednt hauls boats for Shoeder's RV & Marine in Rhinelander. Starting in September, he loads up fishing boats, pontoons, and jet skis and puts them away for the season.
"The weather's been nice, everybody doesn't want to put their boats away yet," Wendt said. "But as soon as the weather starts turning, that's when it'll hit the fan."
Monday, weather in the mid-80s could tempt some people to delay his work an extra week. But Connie Anderson didn't want to risk waiting to call Wendt to get her pontoon off Crescent Lake.
"This could be July," Anderson said. "No, no, it's time. The dock is coming in on Monday, so I've gotta have the boat off."
Wendt has only pulled about 30 boats off the water this fall. But he also covers a radius of more than an hour from Rhinelander, which means there's plenty of stops to make.
"The more boats you pull in in a day, the faster your day goes and that's what I like," Wendt said.
Shoeder's stores dozens of boats of all sizes in a garage on Lincoln Street. Wendt says there's a system to make sure people can get their boats out whenever they need them come spring.
"It's a little science, but after you do it once or twice, you get to moving big boats, little boats around, it all just falls into place," Wendt said.
It's a repetitive, but rewarding process for Wendt, who says he enjoys getting to see the same customers each season. He may personify a changing season, but Wendt knows the calendar will turn before you know it.
"[The boats] are their babies, [so people often tell me] 'Man, take care of my baby, we'll see ya in the spring,'" Wendt said.
After boats are stored and shrink-wrapped this fall, Wendt will unload snowmobiles that sat in storage all summer.
Written By: Lane Kimble