What the heck were people doing inside Bartle Hall on a Saturday afternoon when outside it was sunny and close to 60 degrees — in January?
“I wouldn’t be here,” said Sally Hollingsworth of Pleasant Hill, Mo., looking around at the activity near her booth. “I’d be at the lake.”
But when you’re the Fishy Girl of Fishy Girl Jewelry — yes, items made from lures and so forth too cute to be wasted on fish — you’d better be where the customers are. That was at the Kansas City Boat & Sportshow, which continues Sunday (kansascitysportshow.com).
For some of us, a boat show in the winter is just an excuse to picture ourselves doing something in shorts and a T-shirt. Like getting on the water in one of the many gleaming boats on display.
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“Buying a boat isn’t as painful as you might think!” declared a sign by one modest fishing vessel, which went on to say that monthly payments for “entry-level boats” can be less than $250.
Teresa Reeves of Marshall, Mo., was on stroller duty while her boyfriend was somewhere checking out fishing lures. They do a lot of camping, hunting and fishing, she said, and were planning to look over some of the new boats.
But there was plenty of nonboat stuff to do and gawk at, too.
The Gypsy Rose “pirate ship,” which included a slide for kids, boasted a big skull on its front end and an Illinois license plate. On closer inspection, it seemed to be more of a bus.
Before the start of a dock dogs show, one pooch jumped in the water but had trouble getting out. Finally a couple of two-legged types reached in and boosted the dog up a ramp, which prompted applause from onlookers.
Rochelle Pruett of Lee’s Summit said the dog act is one of her favorites. Otherwise, she enjoys the people-watching.
Pruett was at the show with her husband, 17-year-old daughter and some out-of-town family.
In one corner of the floor, an “outdoor cooking classroom” promised demonstrations on filleting and cooking Asian carp. Two stars of the show were laid out on a table up front, looking like they hadn’t had the best day.
Jimmy Ross of Louisburg, Kan., was walking around gnawing on homemade jerky. What kind? Elk. Or maybe bison or venison. It came from a 12-piece variety pack.
So how was it?
“Tough,” Ross said. But good flavor.
His brother, Travis Ross of Olathe, said he thought the show had fewer equipment vendors and more boats and outfitters than in the past. Instead of paying someone for a guided sporting excursion, “I’d rather go fishing on my own,” Travis Ross said.
Little kids and their parents lined up with poles around a rectangular pool to try landing rainbow trout — no, not for supper. It was catch and release.
Few, however, seemed to be having much luck. Even indoors, the trout probably aren’t fooled by winters that feel like summer.