For Ron Proch, it’s tradition, to come to the Mid-America Boat Show at Cleveland’s I-X Center each year, to have a beer and see the latest trends. Last year, he bought a boat. This year he’s buying a Hobie Mirage Eclipse, a sort of paddle board you can peddle like an elliptical machine at the gym.
For Curtis Templeton, who moved from Iowa to Huron two years ago, the show is a chance to seriously shop.
“Our house is within a quarter mile of the lake, and we haven’t been able to access what the lake has to offer,” said Templeton. “I want to take my kids on the water when I get off work. There’s 3 trillion gallons of natural resources that I don’t now take advantage of.”
Everything at the boat show — the oldest and largest in Ohio — is geared at taking advantage of the water.
Like a three-seater Sea-Doo that can go from 0 to 65 mph in four seconds flat. And a Tahoe tritoon (that’s a flat-bottom boat with three pontoons instead of two) that candle the rough waves of Lake Erie, no problem. A 43-foot Azimut Atlantis with a garage you can store a dinghy in. And a sparkly black-and-red Warrior 2090 never before shown at a boat show east of Chicago.
The I-X Center is also stuffed with kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, representatives from marinas, boat clubs, yacht clubs and resort communities across Ohio’s North Coast. You can even get fishing tips, drive a remote-control boat or ride a personal watercraft in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources simulator. (You have to wear a lifejacket, though ODNR turned off the spray and wind this weekend.)
“This time of year, people have had enough,” Marine Max boat salesman Josh Northrup said. “They’re ready to count down to spring, and boating. I know I am.”
They were ready Thursday evening to sip beer and wine, wander around with their summer friends, get a cup of lobster bisque from the Boardwalk at the Put-in-Bay Pavilion and ogle at the impressively shiny vessels.
Templeton was checking out a World Cat from Catawba Moorings, a boat show debut posted at $199,900. He liked the fishability of the 29-foot dual console. His wife was more practical. “I’m sure I did not talk her into that one because it doesn’t have sleeping quarters.”
RocktheLake will be at the boat show every day. Come find us! Or follow along with live updates on Facebook.