50 Years of Bull Shoals

50 years ago the Stieren and Gerard families started going to Bull Shoals lake and camping at Pontiac Cove the week after Father’s Day. My family is not directly connected to either the Stierens or the Gerards, but some of our friends who are invited us to join them for the week many years ago. If our calculations are correct, my family (mom, dad, brother, and me) have been going to Bull Shoals for 22 years. I haven’t been there all of the 22 years but I have been there most of them.


It’s a camping experience that is hard to explain. Yes, we have your typical things like tents, campers, boats, and camp fires, but we have so much more! Every year we stay at the Pontiac Cove Campgrounds. My family stays in tents on a non-electric site, but many families have campers and stay on electric sites. The campground also has air conditioned bathrooms and real showers. There is even a restaurant called Just Jackies.

One thing that makes this camping experience unique is the amount of people that come. This year was the 50th year, so there were more people than usual but look at this picture.


Now I don’t know everyone in this picture, but I know about half. Mostly everyone on the left side is part of the group that my family goes with. That’s a lot of people! The campground even made a special sign for us this year.


Another special part of this camping experience is dinner time. Each night one or two families cook for everybody. This year’s meals included rib night, chicken night, taco night, and pulled pork/spaghetti night. We eat like kings while camping. At night there are plenty of other things to do like play cards and make s’mores, and we even have a yearly washer tournament complete with singing the National Anthem.


The lake is beautiful and generally not very busy. I think I only saw a handful of other boats that weren’t with out group throughout the whole week. We spend our days hanging out in the water or on a boat tubing and skiing. In the evening we usually go out for a sunset cruise. The sunsets over the water are beautiful and different each night. Every year I take so many pictures of them, so sorry for so many pictures!

This year I had the chance to try paddleboarding. It was fun, but not something I would enjoy doing all of the time.


This was the first year that I have gone since I really became a runner. So, on 3 mornings I decided to go for a run. It’s about 3 miles to run to the Arkansas border and back, so no long runs, but I got in a few miles nonetheless. We were very lucky to have cool weather this year which made for very enjoyable runs. The runs were also very peaceful since they were on a small road with little to no traffic around. There are even some cute sights along the way.

I’m glad I was able to make it for the 50th anniversary this year. It was a pretty amazing week.


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