Maestro and I took part in the 2010 Ottawa Boat and Sportsman Show by exhibiting over the four days and providing daily seminars on the Great Outdoor Seminar Stage. Over 24,000 people attended the Show and interest in the Blind Fishing Boat initiative was extraordinary, and the seminars featuring tips on feeling the bite went over extremely well. The Show was topped-off with a gala fund raiser for Big Jim, which was attended by industry reps and fishers alike, and hosted by Bob Izumi and Dave Mercer – great job!
The Fund Raising Gala featured silent and live auctions of fishing merchandise and guided fishing adventures all donated for the event. Topping the list was a 3-day fishing adventure in northern Ontario with Bob Izumi and Big Jim himself. Stories from Bob I. and Dave M. about adventures on the water with Big Jim were excellent – and a little racy to say the least! The Gala raised just over $53,000 – a resounding endorsement of just how strongly the heart of the Canadian fishing community beats.
I started the Show with a 5-minute interview live on A Channel TV, and a follow-up commitment to take the morning show’s host out for a morning of fishing, which will be aired live on TV. Interviews with Metro Ottawa magazine and Algonquin College’s news paper complemented the pre-show publicity generated by the Sportsman Show’s website and Ottawa Sun paper, along with a mention in the Sun’s “Outdoor Guy” weekly column.
The Show itself was steady during Thursday and Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were barn burners. Maestro and I barely had a chance to grab a bite to eat. People, young and old, were fascinated by the electronics and various devices on display on my table; making it by far one of the most popular exhibits, according to my neighbours. The kids love pulling on the line setting off the audible bite alarm and winning a sample of braille with a short explanation. The Mira Guide Dog School donation box also faired well.
Quite a number of visitors to the Blind Fishing Boat booth asked how they might get involved as a volunteer. At the same time, I spoke with a number of fishers with vision loss who were wondering if there was a better way to meet sighted fishers who have open seats in their boats. To this end, I committed to explore the idea of establishing a “hooking up” sort of service, akin to match-making.
Next stop, the Toronto Sportsman Show!