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It all began in 1950 when hunting and fishing enthusiast C. R. ‘Dutch’ Youker opened a small sporting goods store at Monroe and First Street in downtown Harlingen, Texas. It didn’t take long for the business aspect to overwhelm the fun aspect of hunting and fishing for “Dutch” and he soon passed the little store to his son and daughter-in-law R.D. ‘Bob’ and Betty Youker. From 1951 until 1986 The Sportsman grew to locations in McAllen and San Benito in addition to the main location in Harlingen.
In 1952 Bob decided to sell boats and Evinrude outboard motors from the San Benito location. In addition to a popular wood hull boat called the ‘Yellow Jacket’, he became the number three dealer to handle a new boat called ‘Glastron’. This up and coming boat manufacturer was on the cutting edge of using a new material called ‘fiberglass’. Glastron Boat Company eventually became an international boat builder.
The third generation of Youkers joined the company in 1972. After graduating from The University of Texas in Austin with a marketing degree, C. R. ‘Rob’ Youker took over the helm at the San Benito location. The success of the company has been based on the core principals of trust, quality, credibility and integrity in the pursuit of excellence in customer service. The Sportsman has been recognized by Boating Industry magazine as one of the top 100 marine dealerships in North America. Even more impressive, The Sportsman is one of only a handful of dealerships in North America that has been selected 9 consecutive years and is the only exclusive shallow water boating specialist among the Top 100. The Sportsman is honored to be one of a select few marine certified dealerships in Texas.