WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — In May, 2022, we brought you a story about a local man, who found an old sailboat high in the attic of Birds of a Feather in Downtown Wichita Falls.
After restoring the nearly century-old sailboat, he gained some recognition from a show he’s been watching most of his life. Texas Country Reporter came to town and did a feature piece on Jim Loudermilk, and his old racing sailboat, Play Baby.
“Nothing like that would ever happen to me, I’ll never get my five minutes of fame,” Loudermilk said.
Jim Loudermilk has watched Texas Country Reporter for 50 years and said he never in his wildest dreams thought he’d be a part of the show.
“Back when I heard they were coming to town for the Wichita Falls for the symphony and I sent him a quick little email saying that I found a boat in the attic and a little bit of a background story and it wasn’t any time at all before bob Phillips reached out and said I want to do your story, I want to meet with yall when I’m up here,” Loudermilk said.
And that’s exactly what they did.
He took Bob Phillips and his wife Kelli up to the attic where he originally found Play Baby.
“And they took some film of that [the boat] and I think they were amazed by just that it has been sitting up upstairs since 1942,” said Loudermilk. “It’s never been used never been restored, and how it got up there we still don’t know.”.
Loudermilk hopes by grabbing the attention of the longest syndicated running show in the state, their piece grabs the attention of someone interested in Play Baby.
“I’ve started my next wooden boat project so I’m running out of room so if I don’t know, I’d like to find somebody that would enjoy it and use it like it’s supposed to or display it whether a donation or sell I don’t know yet but I’d rather sell it than donate it but a donation isn’t out of the question if a museum or a sailing group would really like it,” Loudermilk said.
And although Play Baby has been restored since May, she’s only sailed once so far.
“I found out real quick that even as light as the wind was that day I’m glad I had an experienced crew member helping me because it is a very sporty boat,” said Loudermilk. “It’s kind of like putting me in a corvette, it’s just a little too sporty for somebody my age and mobility if you will.”
And who knows, maybe one day, Play Baby will set sail once again.
You can catch the episode on Play Baby on Texas Country Reporter this Sunday on KFDX after our 10 o’clock newscast.