Capt. Tray Hudgens rode bulls in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association for three years and spent 32 years commuting three hours a day to a corporate job. He’s also a tiki hut dinner cruise captain, boat rental operator and private charter captain who loves helping people on the water. Now the U.S. Coast Guard-licensed Hudgens is on his way to his next chapter in life with his opening of TowBoatUS Lake Granbury, Texas, a 24/7 on-water towing service for recreational boaters that is part of the nationwide TowBoatUS fleet with more than 600 response vessels.
“I’m just a plain and simple guy who loves people,” says Hudgens, who, after retiring from the corporate job as a safety trainer two years ago, knew he wanted his next career to be on the water. “The dread of going to work is now a thing of the past!” says Hudgens with gusto. “I’m here to help anybody I can. I like making new friends.”
Most requests for local on-water assistance are for engine failures and striking submerged objects – often pecan tree stumps that remain just below the surface after the 33-mile-long lake was created by damming the Brazos River in 1969.
Joining Hudgens at the new company is his wife, LaDonna, who he proudly says knows more about boat maintenance and repair than he does, knowledge gained from years working at local boat dealerships. “She also handles the business end and is the backbone of our company,” he adds.
The company homeports its 19-foot red response vessel in Granbury.