Roger Bourget is no stranger to the magazine cover. The founder of Bourget Bike Works, Inc.,in Pheonix, he's had his creations splashes across newstands the world over. Ironworks, Quick Throttle, Hot Bike, Biker and Easyriders have all featured Bourget's highly-acclaimed masterpieces.
Now a new, rather unlikely, publication can be added to that list; Houseboat Magazine. In preparation for the photo shoot for this article, Bourget and his wife Brigitte brought one of his bikes--actually his bike--out to Lake Pleasant Marina from their home in Glendale, Arizona.
"That was my birthday present" Bourget points out to a group of admirers at the marina. "Brigette had that built for me." Brigette, who runs the business end of things at Bourget Bike Works, quickly adds, "And I managed to keep it a surprise, too...until I let the cat out of the bag because I couldn't take it anymore." Who can blame her? Even to the untrained eye, it's easy to tell that Bourget's motorcycles are something out of the ordinary--far beyond the appearance and performance of a Harley-style production model. With the exception of the drive-train components, everything on a Bourget--the frame, the wheels, the brakes, the seat, everything--is crafted at his shop. Primarily custom-built, the bikes also come with a price tag starting at $38,000--if you can even get on the waiting list that is currently three years long.
"Our business is really strong," Bourget says. "Two years ago we were only doing two bikes a week. Now we're doing 10 a week, and I need to be doing 20 a week. I just bought four acres across the street, and we're building a 36,000 square foot facility that we'll be able to run about 1,200 a year out of. "We're not the biggest company, but we're probably one of the top three bikes in the aftermarket. Quality-wise we're voted the best"
While it's obvious that Bourget knows what he's doing when it comes to land transportation, he seems equally at home on the water. He worked at Sea Ray for 10 years at their plant in Pheonix, and he currently owns three power boats which he proudly proclaims, "can run over a 120 miles per hour." Then there are the jet ski's, of course. "I am like a boat nut," Roger admits. "You could say he has a small navy", Brigette seconds. And when Admiral Bourget went looking for a flagship, he settled on a 17-by-65-foot Destination Yacht.
The couple had previously owned a Destination, but the Bourgets have three daughters--Autumn, 19, Tiffany, 12, and Brandy, 11--so they figured they needed a little more living and playing space. They ordered their new boat in November 1999 and had it delivered to Lake Pleasant in March last year. "We really didn't have any problems with the other boat, it was a good boat," Roger says. "But it was small and the two youngest girls didn't really have a bedroom, so we decided to upgrade." As one might expect, the Bourgets "pretty much laid out the whole boat." They made the bar longer, had ceiling fans put into all the bedrooms and added on the first jet ski ramp that Destination had ever done. The most noticeable addition, however, was an extra refrigerator to suit Brigette's needs. While Roger has a "small navy," she likes to buy for a "small army." "I am a grocery nut," she says.
Although it's not likely to do 120 mph like its sister craft, the Bourget's Destination Yacht will outrace most other houseboats in the marina thanks to a pair of MerCruiser 90's which Roger proudly points out are the "biggest ones they offered." But most days the Bourgets go to Lake Pleasant to get away from the stress of work, and the only speed that matters is how fast they can get from their front door to the marina. Thanks to a stern-view camera, they can relax up front while Tiffany and Brandy play on the slide and in the water. And although Roger is known for his hot rodding, even he enjoys cruising up to Humbug Cove, tying up and "just hanging out." "We have a very busy schedule during the week, so normally we don't make it out until Saturday morning and leave Sunday around 5 or 6 o'clock," Brigette says. "But we're just 20 minutes away from the house, and even though you've been gone just two days, you feel like you've been far away."
Like all houseboats, the Bourgets' vessel had to have a couple of things taken care of following delivery, but Roger says he's very pleased with the post-purchase service that Destination Yachts provided. "There was nothing major, but the stuff that went wrong they jumped right on, got it done and we didn't have to haggle with them about it. We're very happy. We'd order another one." The Bourgets aren't likely to order it by name, however.
A year and a half after purchasing their boat, they still haven't given their current vessel a name, certainly a rarity in the houseboating world where many people come up with a moniker for their boat long before they even buy it. Instead, Roger has chosen to take the John Wayne approach to providing names: a dog is named Dog, and a houseboat..."We just call it The Houseboat," Roger says. "Is that bad? We've just got so many damn boats." As for that latest cover photo, even though Houseboat Magazine is no Easyriders, Bourget was still excited that he, his wife and two of his favorite toys,--which shall remain nameless--are going to be on the front. "That'd be great," he says. "I'd love to see it."
by Jeff Hunter