Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cruising the Northwest Sportsman Show

A couple of weeks ago the Northwest Sportsman Show was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  This is the area's largest outdoor sports show featuring fishing, hunting, camping, and vacationing.  I like to make 2 trips to the show, usually on the first day to get a jump on the crowds and again on the weekend with my brother.  This years show was probably the smallest I have seen in 20 years.  The economy has really taken a toll on the recreational business, especially the marine and RV industries.  As well consolidations and bankruptcies have changed the landscape of what choices consumers have today.  Case in point has been the changes in ownership of Lund and Crestliner boats.  Brunswick Corporation controls both companies and owns Mercury Marine.  Today if you buy one of these boats it is almost guaranteed to come with a Mercury outboard and if you want something else, it is going to cost you.  Skeeter Boats have been owned by Yamaha Corporation for a while now and it is the same thing.  They come pre rigged with a Yamaha or if you want something else the price just changed.   Of course this is the strategy for companies to garner greater market share for their products.  Unfortunately it leaves companies like Honda, Evinrude, and Suzuki a more limited market for their motors.  I do think that the consumers suffer however in this down market, it might be the only way to survive.  The bankruptcy of Genmar (owned Ranger, Stratus, and a number of high end glass boats) and the fact of Warrior Boats vanishing off the face of the earth makes one wonder how bad it really is.

The good news is that I have high hopes my brother Steve is about ready to part with some of his money (word has it he still has the first nickel he made!) and contribute to a recovering economy by purchasing a new boat that he so deserves.  We were looking at a new Lund Pro Guide 1825 with a 90 hp Mercury 4 stroke, dual trolling motors, wave whackers, a custom cover, a Lowrance HDS7 sonar/GPS unit, and a very nice trailer with spare.  I was taken back by the price however it is comparable to competitive boats out there today.  I really hope he does something for himself being just 18 months younger, it's about time Steve fishes in luxury.  Because I am picking on him, he is my featured picture at the start of this post holding a rather large Pink Salmon caught in the Kenai River.

The Sportshow is also time to renew our friendship with Ken and Judy Marlow of Marlow's on the Kenai (see my Alaska links on my sidebar).  We have stayed them many times during our trips to Alaska and have fished often with their son Neil out of Seward.  Judy always has a jar or two of smoked canned salmon to give us at the show, an absolutely wonderful treat.  The  picture is of their resort which sits on the Kenai River just east of Soldotna.  We always get the cabin in the middle and we are always treated like royality by these two wonderful people.   Of course I forgot once again to bring my Leech Lake Knife with me to the show.  They will sharpen it like new for a ridiculous fee of $2.oo.  It still is pretty sharp and I will just have to try and remember to bring it next year.  The Sportshow is a great time to get updated on the latest technologies.  Companies like Lowrance, Hummingbird, LakeMaster, and Garmin have their latest in depth finder/GPS/mapping technologies on display.  One reason I like to go on the first night is the crowds are smaller and one has more time to discuss these new products with the factory reps.  It's also good to see my boat dealer, Frankie's Marine of Chisago City, displaying the latest boats.  Being the largest Ranger Dealer in the United States, Frankie and his wife Deb run a first class dealership.  I am already looking forward to next years show as there is something magical for me when I attend. 


Anonymous said...

Hey, I recognize that spot on the Kenai. Very popular. By the way, nice expression on your brother's face. Must've been his 90th pink without a silver moving through.

Off to the Rainy tomorrow.


Dave Anderson said...


You have read that look correctly! Good luck as I hear they are really hitting on the Rainy. My friend was there last Friday/Saturday and caught many in hte 26 - 30 inches. Good luck

Jeff King said...

How come they call it the 'North West' sportsmans show?... I kind of figure that Seattle is the North West and Minnesotta is like...north.. ah...middle. Just wondering...How ya feelin any way?

NeenahPete said...

Jeff - I suppose that show is always Northwest of somewhere.

Dave - If that was you, Dewey and me in that Lund photo I would be the guy in the middle reaching for a Leinies. That's what he's doing isn't it?

Dave Anderson said...


At one time, Minnesota was the great Northwest! Look at all the great companies with that label (although all have changed their name for maybe the same reasons you mention!) Northwestern National Bank (Wells Fargo), Northwest Airlines (Delta), and Northwestern National Life (Reliastar), and of course the motto from Schmidt Beer a Minnesota original............The brew that grew with the great Northwest.


Certainaly our cooler would have to be that big!

Dewey said...

Pete - I'm assuming Mr. Anderson would be driving the boat so I'd be in front smoking a cigar the size of Rhode Island...

Dave Anderson said...


That's a big damn cigar!