Area anglers and water sport enthusiasts poured into the Fargodome this weekend to snag an up-close-and-personal peek at some of the boating world's latest craft models and equipment. But those who attended the weekend's Red River Valley Boat Show faced some interesting twists.
Rather than sporting the regular bells and whistles known to unite a boater with the waves, many of this year's vendors embraced the unconventional side of water travel and dazzled visitors with a number of new and innovative designs. Needless to say, many of the slight, yet evident, changes have created a noticeable buzz at the Fargodome.
A number of innovations succeeded in turning heads at the event. Some were odd enough to crack a laugh or two.
One of the unique products displayed was the Green Solutions "Versa Rod," which is essentially a 23-inch casting rod. And according to local distributor Scott Flage, it has many advantages that outweigh those of the traditional fishing rod.
In the heat of Saturday's mad rush, Flage jumped around his table as a curious line of anglers stepped up to get a closer look at the metallic contraption.
"It helps the average angler that likes to pack," Flage announced to people as they approached his booth and asked questions.
According to Flage, the rod's solid, coiled design provides strong torque for anglers on the go. Also, its light weight and miniature size make it easier for fishermen to travel without the worry of the rod taking up too much space. Flage said the rod has the same casting capabilities as many regular-sized fishing rods.
Like many distributors at the boat show, Flage had the ambition to fill a void for area fishermen, and he wanted to make their outdoor endeavors a little easier. After years of watching area kids struggle while carrying fishing rods on their bicycles, the salesman wanted to help by providing an accessory that does not hinder the operation of small vehicles.
Another popular attraction at the show was J & K Marine's double-decker pontoon. In addition to the boat's spacious capacity, intrigued crowds observed the elongated slide that bends down over the side of the rig and into the water.
According to show manager Barry Cenaiko, it's abstract products like these that have more and more people coming back to the Fargodome. He believes last year's attendance was lower because of harsh weather conditions. Additionally, some show-goers have had to consider area flooding when purchasing water gear. This weekend, however, he expects the turnout to be more promising - 8,000 to 9,000.
"We're on track this year," Cenaiko said. "People are getting accustomed to the threat of a flood."
Cenaiko also said he is excited to bring the Red River Valley Sportsmen's Show back to Fargo in March.
Cenaiko Productions Inc. also hosts shows in Sioux Falls, S.D., St. Cloud, Minn., and St. Paul. This year, they featured seminars with fishing experts Kelley Cirks and Jason Mitchell. And similar to previous years, people can enjoy live trout fishing throughout the day.
The Fargodome's three-day show, which launched Friday morning, is scheduled to run through today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.