Show gives boaters a peek at dreams

Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club boat show hits Centennial Hall this weekend

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2003

Weekend warriors, recreational fishermen and island hoppers will have a chance this weekend to see the newest gear for water sports.

The Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club Boat and Sports Show will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Centennial Hall.

"It's a fund-raiser, and it's a good community event, too," said Bud Jaeger, the show chairman. The club charges $5 for a weekend pass the show, which will feature new boats, trailers, fishing gear, diving equipment, cellular phones and presentations from the Coast Guard on water safety and boating regulations.

"It's similar to the Seattle boat show but of course it's smaller in scale," Jaeger said.

Willie's Marine, a local boat shop, will showcase several new boats, including five Bayliners, several aluminum and fiberglass Lunds, and Alumawelds, a popular mid-size boat, said Willie Harris, owner of the store.

"This kind of kicks off our season," he said. "Right before the boat show people start getting ready to get out on the water."

Willie's Marine also will feature trailers and boating accessories. Harris plans to sell his boats and equipment at "boat show pricing," he said.

"We bring stuff in at good prices to get things moving at the show," he said. "It's gone both ways, but it's usually a good selling weekend for us."

Alaska Ship Chandlers also will sell boats at low prices at the show, said Pete Bernstein, the store's manager.

"I think all boat dealers do," he said. He'll showcase a 22-foot C-Dory, an outboard-powered cabin boat, as well as several Lowe and Bayrunner skiffs, Suzuki and Tohatsu outboard motors, and some inflatable boats.

Lon Matheny, who bought a boat at the show four years ago, is volunteering for the first time this year as set-up chairman. He said the show will feature much more than things to buy.

"You can buy a boat, you can go to a demonstration on fly fishing, you can do a video fishing game ... all kinds of things," Matheny said. He, other Rotary volunteers and the vendors began setting up for the show Wednesday morning.

One of those vendors will be Gordon Shepro of Alliance Chiropractic Health. He's had a booth at the show for the last five years, and always picks up new customers at the event, he said.

"When they go out and bounce on their boat, their skiff, and hit a big wave, it can cause problems," Shepro said. He will offer a free posture analysis at the show, and will sell back and neck cushions for boats that can prevent injuries in rough seas.

"I use it myself," he said. "It helps keep the curve of the back while they're traveling."

Other booth holders include the National Weather Service, several banks, the United Fisherman of Alaska, Northern Marine Insurance, the Alaska Seafood Co., Channel Dive and the Nugget Alaskan Outfitter.

Vendors paid $300 to $400 per booth, depending on where in Centennial Hall the booth is located. The hall will be nearly full of vendors, said Matheny.

"I believe we have it all locked up except for just a couple of booth areas," he said.

Several businesses have donated prizes for a raffle that will be held for all who attend the show, Jaeger said. Alaska Air donated two round trip-tickets for two to Seattle, Princess Cruises donated a trip for two to the Mexican Riviera, Wings of Alaska donated a trip for two to any of the airline's destinations, TEMSCO Helicopters and ERA Helicopters donated glacier tours for two and Air North donated a round trip for two to Whitehorse.

The drawing for the large prizes will be held at the end of the show, but the winner doesn't have to be present to win. Smaller prizes will be given away throughout the weekend, Jaeger said.

The Glacier Valley Rotary Club usually raises $20,000 from the event, Jaeger said.

"This is our major fund-raiser," he said. "The money that we raise from the boat dealers and selling of booth spaces pretty much pays for the hall rental and advertising. Our money is made from the selling of tickets."

The club will use the money to fund numerous charitable programs locally and internationally.

"The Rotary is involved in Rotary Riverside Park in the Valley," Jaeger said. "We've contributed several thousand dollars to put in swings and slides and a paved track all the way around it. We also do a lot with foreign exchange students both inbound and outbound."

The club provides scholarships for local high school students to study and live in foreign countries. It also helps foreign students come to study in Juneau, and many members act as host families for these students, he said.

"We also paid for and erected the 9/11 memorial flag at Riverside Rotary Park, and have assisted for the last few years where we purchase winter boots for children and adults and not only distribute them locally but we ship them to out-of-town areas."

The show will be at Centennial Hall from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The $5 pass is valid the whole weekend.

Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.



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