By Alicia Lacy
Killeen Daily Herald
Boating, fishing and watercraft enthusiasts, and even those new to the world of boats and fishing will fill the Bell County Expo Center for the 2010 Central Texas Boat Show this weekend.
For 35 years, the event has brought boat dealers and fishing experts to Belton, with the turnout expected to be up for this year's event, which runs today through Sunday.
Rick Smith, president of Central Texas Marine Dealers, Inc., said 5,000 to 6,000 people usually attend the annual event, but he anticipates more due to the weather.
"When there's inclement weather, people usually go to indoor events," Smith said.
After six months of planning, this year's show will bring more than 20 exhibitors from across the state. Four area marine dealers also will bring smaller watercraft to much larger party boats to the center this weekend.
The list of events includes Kid-Fish. During all three days, for $2 youngsters are able to learn more about fishing and handling fish and conservation while fishing in a large aquarium stocked with channel catfish.
Smith said the pole and bait are provided, and the catfish are released.
For more avid fishers, the 10th annual TuffMan Championship Bass Tournament will pit some of the most experienced anglers against each other early Saturday morning on Stillhouse Hollow Lake to see who can catch the heaviest bass.
Smith said there are already 122 fisherman signed up to participate, with the winning team receiving $10,000.
Following the weigh-in under the center's dome Saturday afternoon, Smith said the fish will be taken back to the lake and released.
Saturday, fishermen can learn a few tips from professional bass angler Keith Combs during one of his two seminars and Tommy Tidwell, who specializes in crappie fishing. Admission to the seminars is included with admission to the show.
For the first time in the event's 35-year history, the Scott & White Mobile Blood Center will be at the show from noon to 6 p.m. today. All donors will receive a free T-shirt and a VIP pass for the boat show.
"There is a strong need for blood donations and this is a great opportunity to put the two together," Smith said.
Contact Alicia Lacy at email@example.com or (254) 501-7559.
If you go
When: Today from noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Bell County Expo Center, 301 West Loop 121, Belton
Cost: Adult $5; children 12 and younger free if accompanied by a paid adult.
Today: free admission to all active-duty military and dependants with ID.
Keith Combs Bass Fishing Seminar: Saturday, 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m.
Tommy Tidwell Crappie Fishing Seminar: Saturday, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.