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Houston Boat Show hasn't forsaken its roots
Published in 1-1-2015
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When the doors of Sam Houston Coliseum opened on a winter day in 1956, members of a small organization of Houston-area businesses built around recreational boating and fishing held their collective breath, wondering if anyone would come downtown, pay a couple of dollars to attend their "Houston Boat Show" and spend time in what was, when you got right down to it, an oversize showroom of new boats, motors, marine equipment and fishing gear. Giving boaters and anglers an opportunity to see and touch, compare prices and features, and talk with experts about the newest technological advancements in boats and motors and fishing gear, especially during what passes for Texas boating/fishing "slow season," held great appeal and utility. Lovell is executive director of the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston, the local trade group of about 130 marine-related businesses behind the annual boating/fishing/camping-related consumer extravaganza most folks, including Lovell, simply call "The Boat Show." While it has moved location a couple of times (Coliseum, Astrodome, Astrohall, and now, NRG Center) and has grown even faster than Houston (from about an acre in 1956 to 16 acres this year) and expanded its scope to include campers and other recreational vehicles, it has, at its heart, the same kind of attraction to Houston-area boaters and anglers and campers as it did in 1956. "It's a great opportunity to see all the new technology in the marine industry - everything from boat hulls, motors, electronics, fishing tackle - and RVs, get answers from experts and factory reps to any questions you have, and even book a fishing trip," Lovell said of what has become the largest indoor boat show in the nation, one of the oldest and, at 10 days, one of the longest-running. The show takes advantage of the assembled talent to offer attendees a chance to gain insights through a daily seriesof seminars on freshwater and saltwater fishing, boating equipment, boating skills, camping and recreational vehicles, and related topics from fishing guides, boat and motor experts, and other knowledgeable speakers.