Who Dat gonna win Flotilla?

Published 12:14 am Sunday, July 8, 2012

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — The Rev. Louis Sklar blesses a boat with holy water before the start of the 20th annual flotilla boat parade Saturday afternoon on Lake St. John.

LAKE ST. JOHN — The winners of the Lake St. John Flotilla used their die-hard Who Dat Nation team spirit to propel their boat past the competition at Saturday’s annual water parade.

The double-decker “Saints Bounty Hunters” boat, decorated by Kathy Rowzee, Kristi Cook and Jillian Cook, blasted music as it passed the judges’ pier with a huge Saints flag waving in the wind. A wanted poster of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a “Free Payton” poster in support of Saints head coach Sean Payton hung from the side of the boat.

For photos of the boats, click here.

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The Saints boat took the top prize as the overall winner, but Wyatt Craig’s Duck Dynasty boat was a crowd favorite and came in first place in the large craft category.

The Duck Dynasty boat, a tribute to the A&E reality show of the same name, was covered in brush and duck decoys, and the boat’s passengers were decked out in camouflage as they wailed on duck calls as they passed the crowd and judges’ pier.

“They went all out,” said Jason McGehee, who said he has been coming to the flotilla with his family for years.

Carly Delaney smiled and waved as the Duck Dynasty boat passed the 11-year-old while she was swimming near the pier.

“It was my favorite,” she said.

McGehee said he was also a fan of the three boats covered in dozens of red Solo cups, a tribute to Toby Keith’s song “Red Solo Cup.”

Mike Pace and Richard Criswell’s “Proceed to Party” red Solo cup-themed boat took home second place.

Ryan Paul’s “Jersey Shore” boat came in third place.

The Rev. Louis Sklar of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ferriday stood atop the Steckler pier and sprinkled holy water on passing boats and reminded flotilla-goers to attend mass today.

Sklar is in the sixth year of blessing the boats at the flotilla and said the blessings prayed over the boats for safety and enjoyment extend past the flotilla weekend into the entire summer.

“The blessings are prayed so that all can have a very safe time at the lake and enjoy a wonderful summer,” he said.

Sklar said the flotilla is an event that brings the community and families together for a fun-filled weekend, which is exactly the reason Dale Steckler said she looks forward to the flotilla each year.

Steckler’s family hosts the blessing of the boats from their two-story pier each year. Steckler said the flotilla brings her family together in the best way.

“The best part is that my family gathers here every year for (the flotilla),” she said. “But it’s not just my family, it seems to bring families together all along the lake and the community, too.”

Other winners include:

Small craft

•First place: Casey Person, “Tiki Tour of Lake St. John

•Second place: Ed Godfrey, “Simple”

•Third place: Shane Echols, “In the Good Ol’ Summertime”

Flotilla organizer Donna Maroon said Saturday’s storm after the competition postponed final tallying of scores.

She said winners of the patriotic, non-patriotic and pier competitions will be announced today.