Water temperature: creek arms 79 degrees; main channel 81 degrees
Water clarity: fairly clear
Catch ratings by species: black bass, 6; white bass 4
What's next for TMR?
The fishing camp idea was great, but things change. If you want to survive you have to make changes. The fishing was what would provide our income, but in 1960 Table Rock became the hot new fishing lake and later Beaver, then Truman and several lakes in the south. It was also the time when folks who fished started buying boats and trailers and would go any distance for good fishing.
In 1962 we decided we had to make a change if we wanted to survive, and with that thought the fishing camp concept was out. What should we do was a question of all new territory for the Cook family. Our first move was to build housekeeping cottages and a residence for Nadine (and me), and that would become the office for the new resort. The larger cottages had cooking facilities, a screened porch and two bedrooms. We hoped this would encourage more families to come and stay longer than a weekend in the motel. In 1969 we decided it was time to upgrade our small 10-unit motel. Starting after that season, we tore down the motel that had replaced the one that burned.
By spring 1970 we were ready with some of what would be our new 20-unit two-story motel with an apartment on the north end for Polly and Cookie. The next move was to invest in pontoon and ski boats and more employees to help take care of the new equipment. The changes started working slowly at first, but each year we could see we had made the right move at the right time. With boat ownership increasing by leaps and bounds, a service department was also needed, and boat sales followed. But the big change was building dock stalls for vacationers who brought their own boats with them and also stalls for folks who wanted to leave their boats for the entire season.
It didn't take us long to realize the value of customers who returned often and told their friends about the resort. We had also outgrown our original office dock. So in 1973 we built a much larger and more functional office dock where fishing tackle was only a small part of the sales. T-shirts, water skis and related items took up most of the room. On the other end of the new dock we had a large service shop with an inside stall for service plus a bigger outside work stall with a monorail to move the motors inside the new shop. Paddle boats became a common sight as we had several for rent, and we were the first in the area to rent jet skis.
In 1976 we opened Fork Cook RV Park, and again the start was slow, but today we have more than 80 sites rented year round. Another big improvement was the large pool and two lighted tennis courts we built in the new RV park for the use of all resort guests. Through this entire time we were building more and bigger docks to accommodate the bigger boats; that process has never stopped, and today we have a total well over 200 stalls and counting.
In the early 1980s Nadine and I thought it was time to advertise in Springfield, with its continued growth and Table Rock becoming crowded. We had a good customer who sold advertising for KTTS radio station, and it was a popular station for the area. It was expensive, or so we though, but the results were unbelievable. That's when our business changed forever, because KTTS covered more than 100 miles in every direction. We were well known by fishermen, but the advertising brought families who camped and who also rented our boats, pontoons and motel rooms for short stays. In 1983 we moved out of our home at the south end of the motel and made a large rental unit that would accommodate up to 16 people. In 1993 we bought the Lakeview Restaurant and changed the name to Cookie’s: A Place to Eat. The restaurant had been subleased and owned by 10 different families over its life, but we thought it was time to incorporate it into the resort.
In 2007 we thought it was time for something a little more upscale, and we built Otter Creek at the water's edge. It has been very popular.
P.S.: I have rambled on enough for this year, and the summer season is a busy time, so I will end the weekly newscast for 2014 and hope to see everybody at our new bigger and better fireworks show this Saturday.