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Show definitely will float your boat



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Updated: January 14, 2014 10:58PM

Skipper Buds will bring five bigger boats to the Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show this week at McCormick Place North.

‘‘It is good to see those bigger brands coming back,’’ show manager Keith Ogulnick said. ‘‘Beginning to be a little bit of a demand for them.’’

The big boat, the dream boat, will be a Prestige Jeanneau (Booth 3620). Skipper Buds is Booth 3648. The show runs Thursday through Monday because of Martin Luther King Day.

It sounds as though there will be more of a sense of excess, which makes the show such a draw. Boating as an industry is beginning to pull out of the recession.

While big, fancy boats are the dreams, reality will be seen in the plethora of pontoons on the floor.

Another indication of the shifting market is the 14 percent increase in the sales of ski and wakeboard boats, which says something about the staying power of the ‘‘rock-and-rock lifestyle.’’

As a veteran show manager, Ogulnick knows enough to keep the staples but also to bring in new things. I usually do one visit by myself and one with my family. My favorite stop is the display of classic boats. For the family, it is walking through the big boats, doing scuba and riding the rollers (giant hamster wheels on water).

As to the new, I have no desire to see John Godwin of ‘‘Duck Dynasty’’ (1-5 p.m. Sunday), though I fall in the demographic that makes the TV show overlap with the boat show.

But I am curious to hear Greg Behm of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, who will present regularly on one-tank trips for Chicago-area RVers.

And I always enjoy the game of trying to figure out how boat sales are going. It’s like sitting at a poker table or asking a buddy for his morel spot.


Canada geese pushed out by the heavy weather a week ago are back, making for a wild finish to goose hunting. Goose hunting in the north zone ends Thursday.

† Deer hunting in Illinois ends Sunday. It appears harvest in the bowhunting season, which began Oct. 1,
will end up short of last year. The IDNR has stopped sending official harvest updates after the uproar about the historic 25 percent decline in harvest by firearm hunters. The second late-winter antlerless and CWD seasons are Friday through Sunday.

Places and faces

Jim ‘‘The Crappie Professor’’ Kopjo will speak about ice fishing to the South Side Muskie Hawks. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Vince’s Pizzeria and Restaurant. . . . As preparation for the next Conservation Congress, the IDNR has a survey (it takes about five minutes) at I recommend making your voice heard.

Stray cast

Cubs mascot Clark brings to mind trout ponds at outdoors shows or, more truly, the hybrid of red-bellied dace and finescale dace (you can look it up).

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