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On the shoulders of giants in South Carolina

My Cowboys & Indians The summer tour story series should begin last Kuttawa Cannonball Run weekend. Kiran Pinisetti, a fine gentleman of Indian descent, brought the cleverly named DCB Performance Marine M37R catamaran he co-owns with semi-retired dairy farmer Kelly O'Hara of upstate New York from his home in Bloomington, Indiana, to the eighth annual Kentucky event.

Kiran and Jessica Pinisetti hosted three guests on their catamaran Cowboy & Indian DCB M37R yesterday.

Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on how you look at such things), O'Hara's sister was getting married that weekend, so he couldn't make it to Kuttawa.

But even if he had, it wouldn't have mattered. Wind and rain cancelled Saturday's main event.

Last Sunday afternoon I was back on the West Coast. Next stop: Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the first Bago Big Bet event June 20-24 on Lake Winnebago, where Pinisetti officially the starting signal for the Cowboys & Indians Tour in 37-foot boat.

At least that was the plan.

Tony Chiaramonte of the DCB said: “This kind of hospitality is a lost art.”

Four days and two convincing text messages later from Pinisetti and mega-moderator Chuck Stark from South Carolina, I was on the outbound flight back across the country to Greenville. And so Cowboys & Indians The tour began yesterday on Lake Hartwell. DCB Vice President Tony Chiaramonte and his 14-year-old son Ashton joined Pinisetti, his wife Jessica and this reporter for a day on the 37-foot catamaran.

Everyone is in town today to participate in the 15th annual Lake Hartwell Charity Run benefiting Meals On Wheels-Anderson. As of last night, 130 boats had registered for the event. Organizers expect another 10 to 15 registrations this morning.

But I'll only get to see the early part of today's fun, as I have an obligation tonight with my family at Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. My flight from Anderson – courtesy of Air Stark – is at 2 p.m. I had planned to take a commercial flight from Greenville to Springfield, Missouri, early this morning, but Stark, of course, had other plans.

After their own event – ​​the Kuttawa Cannonball Run – was canceled last Saturday due to rain, Stephen and Heather Miles were ready to run in their 34-foot MTI catamaran.

Yesterday's casual lunchtime run – let's call it Stark-A-Palooza – has become a tradition among the invited friends of its namesake, including Mike and Angela Goldbaugh from Alabama, BRP Marine Custom owner Chad Shutter and his wife Ashley from North Carolina, Stephen Miles from Kentucky and his wife Heather, Jack Gladke and his friend Joe Loquetara from New York, and a whole host of people I now call the new Friends I didn't have 36 hours ago.

Most of them are staying at Chuck and Shannon's sprawling waterfront property this weekend. Every room in their house is occupied, as is a coach and two trailers in a huge warehouse on the property.

In fact, I am writing this story from the coach, my accommodation for the last two nights.

Powerboat trips are like Forrest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates, so our day on the water began with troubleshooting a water pressure issue on one of the new Mercury Racing 1100 engines that power Goldbaugh's 2014 Pure Platinum Series Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran, and ended with Miles calling in a diver to retrieve Goldbaugh's iPhone, which he dropped in 60 feet of water at the docks during our second stop of the day.

For Kiran and Jessica Pinisetti, today’s Lake Hartwell Charity Run is one of the few events they have run together in Cowboys & Indians. Both lead busy lives. Kiran is a serial entrepreneur with several businesses running. Jessica is a well-known horse rider who runs the couple's horse breeding business.

Shannon Stark enjoyed – as best she could – her first ride in Crypto, the 43-foot V-bottom from Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats that her husband purchased in late 2023.

Although they have spent little time together on the 37-foot boat, they function as if they have been sailing side by side for years. They make it look easy.

“I hope to do more events with Kiran this summer,” said Jessica, who was there with her husband when the catamaran made its debut at the launch of the Mercury Racing 500R outboard in Charleston, South Carolina, last June. “That would be great if we could schedule it between horse shows and boating events.”

“I'm glad to have Jessica here,” Kiran added, then giggled. “We were in Kuttawa last week and ran at Kentucky Lake on Friday. Jessica rode all the way back and the MTI guys had a hard time keeping up with us.”

In a quiet moment that afternoon, Pinisetti and I admired the DCB creation he shares with O'Hara. The ride was perfect, the boat itself a piece of performance art. Pinisetti, who is naturally soft-spoken, could hardly contain his gratitude not only for the boat but for his own good fortune.

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would own something like this,” he said.

Live music was just part of the good stuff last night.

Just before 7pm last night, the group hopped into Stark's MTI V-42 center console and headed to the Lake Hartwell Charity Run welcome party at the waterfront Green Pond Amphitheater. We stayed until only an orange glow of sunshine was visible on the horizon, then returned to Stark's house where we were greeted by a live band and an endless stack of pizzas.

Chiaramonte and I are both native Californians, and when I asked him last night if he had ever been treated more kindly in our home state, he laughed.

“Dude, this kind of hospitality is an art,” he said. “It's unreal.”

A few minutes later, Stark took me aside.

“What do you think, Trulio, are you having fun?” he asked, then laughed. “Do you need something? You're in the south now, and we're not always the best hosts. We just expect you to treat our home as your own and serve yourself.”

Chuck Stark (center) takes care of his guests.

I've never heard Southern hospitality described like that before, but there's a grain of truth in it, at least in Chuck and Shannon Stark's style. When they tell you their home is your home, it's not an excuse. They mean it.

I have been at home for the past two days because, to paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, I have had the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants.

And giants, as you know, have huge hearts.

Yesterday ended as it began – perfectly.

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Anna Harden

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