On Wednesday morning, would-be vendors and show-goers were informed by the staff of the Central Texas Marine Association that the Central Texas Boat and Outdoor Show, scheduled for Jan. 22-24 would be postponed indefinitely due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
This would have been the 45th annual event in the show’s history.
Rick Smith, CTMA member and owner of Marine Outlet in Temple, one of the show’s legacy sponsors, on Wednesday said, “No future date has yet been determined. I’m very disappointed, to say the least.
“We felt the postponement was the best thing to do for the safety of our community.”
In an effort to inform the outdoor enthusiasts reading this column about what awaited them at the boat show, I had reached out to numerous vendors, asking them about why they planned to attend the show, and about any specials they would be running.
To their credit, each of the following let me know they would continue to honor the specials they intended to reveal at the show, despite the show’s indefinite postponement.
Marty McIntyre, owner of GarQuest Adventures, a bowfishing guide service, looked forward to the show because each year he has been able to give those unacquainted with bowfishing a little taste of it by coaching them to draw a bow and hit a floating fish target placed in a pool of water just below the elevated deck of his bowfishing boat.
McIntyre will continue to honor the show special he had begun publicizing, which is a bowfishing trip on either Belton or Stillhouse Hollow lakes for two participants for the price of $150 (normally $100 per person).
James Taylor, owner of Anything Fiberglass, a fiberglass repair shop located off FM 439 in Belton, has also chosen to offer his show special despite the postponement.
His company is offering 15% off their boat restoration service, which consists of sanding and buffing the hull as well as the application of two coats of wax and cleaning of the trailer. They are also offering 15% off of their labor rate on fiberglass and/or mechanical repairs.
Marine Outlet, located on the southbound I-35 frontage road in Temple, will stand by their show special, a G3 Suncatcher 16-foot Fish-N-Fun pontoon boat powered by a Yamaha four-Stroke, fuel-injected, 60-horsepower outboard.
These boats come standard with Bluetooth stereo, a bimini top, a drop-down boarding ladder, a custom console, folding fishing seats and an aerated livewell. The drive-on trailer comes with wind guides and a spare tire. This package is priced at $24,995, with financing available through Yamaha.
Josh and Randi Bingham of Bingham Marine on FM 439 in Belton got quite creative.
They decided if they could not go to the boat show, they would bring the boat show to them.
They are now planning their first-ever on-location boat show, at which they will unveil their new line of pontoon boats.
The Binghams will host several other vendors on site, as well as a food truck. They will be giving away $500 worth of boating accessories to those attending and completing a raffle entry.
Bingham Marine offers private boat showings for those calling ahead to reserve a time.
Dean Thompson of Tightlines Fishing Tackle on Business 190 in Killeen is offering 15% off of all tackle items in stock from Monday through the end of the month. They are also offering $1,000 off orders for all in-stock boats over that same time frame.
One other entity impacted significantly by this postponement is the Tuff-Man bass tournament series. Tuff-Man was set to hold both of the weigh-ins for their two-day series championship under the dome at the Bell County Expo Center. The series anticipated a large crowd, complete with professional bass angler Frank Talley as the master of ceremonies.
According to Dean Thompson, “We will be doing the weigh-ins at the lake at each event and then try and schedule an awards ceremony at a later date, to be determined.”
These weigh-ins will be open to the public on Jan. 23 and 24.