EXPO: Never A Better Time to Buy

Published in the March 2011 Issue March 2011 Ask The Expert Brady L. Kay

For years the National Houseboat Expo has been known throughout the industry as the only place to view all the top builders together, walk through some of the most beautiful houseboats around, as well as find unique deals and incentives to buy. For 2011, it just got even better.

No one is exactly sure how the tradition got started, but at some point blasting the horn became the preferred method of announcing that you just bought a houseboat at the Expo. But during the three-day event that kicks off March 18 at the Kentucky Fair & Expo Center in Louisville, Ky., you might be able to do more than just toot the horn. While sounding the horn at the show can be the ultimate thrill for the new houseboat owner on that day, how does winning a fully loaded Hurricane deck boat valued at over $70K sound?

For the first time ever, those who purchase either a showboat or place an order for a custom-built houseboat during the Expo will be eligible to win. It's called the Ultimate Kickback and it includes the Hurricane Sundeck 2400 deck boat from Godfrey Marine, a Yamaha F200TXR engine, Trailmaster Trailer and it even comes with a wakeboard tower and Thunder & Lightning Sound System. Now that's a kickback!

Not that you need the extra incentive to buy since these manufacturers will be offering special deals and show pricing, but how nice would it be to buy a houseboat and then win a deck boat! Every major houseboat manufacturer will be represented to meet your inland lake, ICW, and river houseboating needs as well as custom-built vessels in a variety of price ranges. Come tour the latest and see just what these builders have been up to lately.

Houseboat Only

And unlike other boat shows that can include everything from four-wheelers to RVs, the National Houseboat Expo specifically caters to our niche. If it's houseboat related, it will be at our show and these houseboat-specific vendors will be on hand to showcase the latest in aftermarket products, accessories, services, gear and more. This is the place to discover what's new for the year and to find that aftermarket product you've been looking for to eliminate a problem, enhance your experience or just make your season a little easier.

Boat Giveaway

After a successful All Hands On Deck poker run last year where the winning hand walked away with a brand new Qwest pontoon boat package valued at over $20K, we're going to do it again! We're giving away a Qwest LS 7518 XRE Cruise pontoon boat from Apex Marine, complete with an Evinrude 60 DSLII engine as well as a Yacht Club bunk trailer as our top poker run prize. It all kicks off on Friday, and then at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon we'll announce the top five hands. Those finalists will face off on the table an hour later to determine our top winner. The best hand wins the Qwest pontoon, while the other four at the table will take home some great prizes as well.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, attendees can purchase a pack of five tickets from the Poker Run booth for $20 a hand or $100 for five. You then take each of these tickets to the five designated booth stops located throughout the venue to exchange for a playing card-all sealed in individual envelopes. Then just return these five envelopes to the Poker Run booth, where the cards will then be opened and a poker hand will be revealed. The top five hands for Friday and Saturday will be eligible to win the Qwest pontoon boat from Apex Marine.

And Much More

Returning again this year is our competitive Boardz N Bagz cornhole tournament, hosted by Bluegrass Cornhole Company. A large section of the venue will be sectioned off for the tournament on Saturday, but you can toss a few bags with for fun before or after if you'd like to give it a try. Sign up online for this tournament and a chance to walk away with a nice cash prize.

There will also be more seminars, our Houseboater Of The Year presentation at 4 p.m. on Saturday, as well as our Proud Crowd and Spirit Award. The Proud Crowd Trophy-that is awarded to the marina that best demonstrates houseboating spirit and unity-was awarded last year to Cave Springs Marina at Lake Cumberland for the second year in a row. The loud and proud group brought 46 members to the Expo, while Green River Marina in Campbellsville, Ky., came in a close second, with 39 members. Will Cave Springs win it again or will there be a new marina crowned? Stay tuned!

The Dan McKain Spirit Award, named after longtime field editor Dan McKain, who passed away in 2008, will be awarded to the individual, couple or group that best displays the same spirit and passion that our friend Dan McKain showed throughout his life.

See You Soon

The Expo Center is conveniently located just five minutes from the Louisville International Airport. Exhibitor updates as well as other information can be found at www.houseboatexpo.com.

The National Houseboat Expo is presented by Houseboat magazine. Mark your calendars today and we'll see you at the biggest houseboat show in the world!

Proud Crowd 

Call it unity, call it tradition or simply call it a coincidence that marina members like to show up wearing the same shirt to the Expo each year. Whatever it is, we're looking for the marina that brought the most fellow dock mates to our National Houseboat Expo and sign up sheets will once again be at the Houseboat magazine booth. Stop by and make sure you're name is on the list.

On Saturday afternoon, March 19, we'll award the coveted Proud Crowd trophy at the booth as well as take group photos of all the marinas that entered. So even if your marina doesn't win out Proud Crowd trophy, we still want to take your marina group photo following the presentation.

If you're not in the running for the marina award, but you're looking for some recognition, stop by our booth as well. The 2011 Dan McKain Spirit Award will go to the individual, couple or group that reflects the true houseboating spirit while at our show so don't be afraid to show off that enthusiasm and houseboating spirit!

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