Morehead City faces Bismarck in Battle of the Motorboaters

Image of Morehead City Motorboaters logo the Coastal Plain League's Morehead City Marlins will use on Friday, July 28.

The Morehead City Marlins of the Coastal Plain League and the Bismarck Larks of the Northwoods League are changing their team names for one night only.

Each will be known as the Motorboaters.

The name celebrates The Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament in Morehead City, while Bismarck celebrates pontooning down the Missouri River.

When the two team owners found out someone else had the same idea for a rebrand, they decided to see whether motorboating fast on the open ocean or a lazy trip down a river is superior.

The teams will hold their Motorboaters nights this weekend—Bismarck on July 27 and Morehead City on July 28, and each team will donate 10% of the proceeds of t-shirt sales celebrating their form of motorboating (Built for Speed in Morehead City, Built for Comfort in Bismarck) to the North Carolina Coastal Federation  and the North Dakota Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in the 1st annual “Battle of the Motorboaters.”

For the Marlins, The Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament, a prominent event in Carteret County, drew attention as it brought boaters from around the world to Morehead City in pursuit of the largest marlin and its grand cash prize.

“It was in discussions about this event with my baseball operations team that the idea of the “Morehead City Motorboaters” came to life,” said Buddy Bengel, Owner of the Morehead City Marlins.

Meanwhile, 1,793 miles away in Bismarck, Larks’ owner John Boillinger was having similar thoughts: How to get his community, team and fans excited about summertime, the vast lake and river boating community in the region, and of course, baseball.

“We have a similar, but different summertime atmosphere here in Bismarck,” added Bollinger. “Our version of motorboating is a laid-back afternoon pontooning down the Missouri River or local lake. Families, friends, and neighbors gather on the water, creating a sense of community not just here but across the entire country.”

As each team went through their branding exercises, each developed captivating graphics, compelling story lines, and carefully planned launch strategies.

However, a few days into their respective launches, without knowing the other even existed, each owner received distressing news about the “other Motorboaters.” Initial concerns and thoughts of legal action arose. Amidst uncertainty, the two owners trepidatiously got on a video call, which revealed a surprising and inspiring connection.

“We just think this will be so much fun for our respective fans. What motorboating means to Morehead City is fast, loud, big, and charismatic. We motorboat on the ocean and can’t wait to show those river/lake motorboaters who’s boss,” said Bengel.