To small business owners Stuart and Kristina Litjens, the decision to support a firefighter charity was deeply personal. While growing their business, Boulder Boats, over the past decade and a half, they have developed relationships with a community of firefighters and know the hardships they can go through.

“We have a lot of friends and customers who are firefighters and our community of boaters – and water sports specifically – is very tight knit,” Stuart says.

So when the San Bernardino Fire Department lost one of its own, John Ruppert, during the summer of 2016, the Litjens family wanted to help even more. Ruppert passed away in a freak accident while working on his house boat, leaving behind a wife and children.

“It was a story that hit close to home with us. We’ve got small children as well. We definitely feel for the families,” Stuart says, who knew Ruppert through their shared passion for wakeboarding.

Several firefighters including, John Roberts, Paul Nelson, Dane Jackson and Brett Davis introduced Stuart and his wife to the Widows & Orphans fund. They knew it would be the best way to help other families such as Ruppert’s through tough times.

Boulder Boats donates wakeboarding package:

For a special auction at the 2017 LAFD Invitational, the charity’s annual golf tournament, Boulder Boats is donating a day to remember: a half day watersports experience for up to five people at a lake near Visalia California. The group will spend four hours on a new wakeboard boat equipped with the latest gear and a wakeboarding instructor and captain.
“We will take a family out on the lake, we supply the boat, fuel, drinks, snacks and all the equipment and everything,” describes Stuart, who says the package is for anyone who might enjoy a day out in the sun with friends or family. “Whether they are experienced boaters or out for the first time, we’ll teach them what they need to know.”

The money raised by auctioning the wakeboarding package will go straight to Widows & Orphans and will go a long way toward helping those in need. The 2017 tournament is taking place September 25 at Mountain Gate Country Club in Los Angeles, California. The boating package alone is expected to bring in more than $1,000.

Boulder Boats is a full service dealership in California, Nevada and Arizona.

Boulder Boats has locations in Henderson, Nevada and Mesa, Arizona and just opened up a third store in Visalia, California, between Fresno and Bakersfield.

“It’s kind of tucked out of the way, but it’s a nice little town,” Stuart explains. “We have a lot of really high-end, top-end boats, but we also have a large used market.”

The family-owned company has made a big impact in the water sports community since they opened in 2004, hosting the Western Regional Wakeboard Championship and the Malibu Rider Experience in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Stuart says all his stores are full service dealerships that specialize in helping boating enthusiasts and newbies. His sales associates are prepared to give advice to experienced boaters or those shopping for their first boat. And, they’ve even been known to help a new customer take their boat out on the water for the first time. That educational culture has created a loyal customer base.

“We have a lot of firefighter customers. It’s great because of their schedule and they’re active. A lot of firefighters love to be out on the water,” he says.

That’s one reason Stuart feels proud to donate a special day so a family can make memories to remember for years to come.

“That experience provides more value than a number on a page,” Stuart said. The fact the money will go to a great cause makes the deal even better.

Check out all that Boulder Boats has to offer by visiting the web site at

By Kate Cagle