Published February 14, 2013, 12:00 AM

For young and old alike, dreams of the water at Duluth boat show

Nathan Loraas sat with his grandfather on one of the big pontoons Wednesday night on the floor of the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel & RV Show at the DECC.

By: Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune

Nathan Loraas sat with his grandfather on one of the big pontoons Wednesday night on the floor of the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel & RV Show at the DECC.

The 7-year-old from Duluth leafed through a glossy brochure as Dennis Meyer tried to keep up with his chatter.

“Party boat,” Loraas said.

“You see, those are hard to get on a trailer,” Meyer said.

And if Grandpa had been totally honest, the $70,000 price tag was a bit out of reach.

The annual show is a chance to catch up on the latest equipment, and Meyer had his eye on aluminum fishing-rod holders. He said the show is a way to get ideas on what he needs on the lake, and those holders look like the way to go.

“I’m in the market for that,” Meyer said. “Being here means it’s time to start thinking about getting ready.”

He’s rebuilding a 1985 Crestliner, gutting out its rotted interior. He has four other boats, including a sail boat and the classic Lund.

He’s got nothing as large as the big-ticket behemoths at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center show that runs through Sunday. The show is as much fantasy as reality with the showcase boats.

“This is a boat you can see yourself driving in,” Meyer said. He laughed and said that’s about all he will do — imagine.

His wife, Margaret, was in charge of Nathan’s 5-year-old sister, Hannah. They were a few exhibition spaces away when Hannah said she wanted a balloon. That meant a trip to the cafeteria, where Cheri Merri Muffin holds court making balloon animals.

Hannah rattled off her favorites at the show, which is being held along with the Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic for the fourth year.

“Birdies.”

“Animals.”

And then a “thank you” to Cheri for her balloon poodle.

“And one for my brother?” Hannah asked.

Cheri whipped up a sword and the pair were off to find the boys.

The Hansen brothers from Hermantown were all about the engines on the pontoons.

“There’s tons of boats and tons of horsepower,” 7-year-old Peyton Hansen said as his 9-year-old brother, Preston, nodded his head emphatically.

Parents Bryan and Shalee bought a used 16-foot Lund last year, a practical move given all the gleam at the boat show.

The two boys love boats, Shalee said. The couple once owned a cabin and pontoon but gave them up, and now they’re happy to use Grandpa’s lake digs or a wide range of lakes in the area.

“I spent more time working on the place than enjoying it,” Bryan said. “Now we keep the boat in the garage and head out on the weekends.”

“Don’t touch any buttons, boys,” Shalee said as she held the family baby, Mila.

The two brothers were crawling all over the pontoons and still talking about the big engines.

Asked if price mattered in deciding which boat he liked best, Preston gave a quick “no.”

His father responded the way many visitors will at the boat show.

“It doesn’t cost anything to dream,” Bryan Hansen said.

If you go
What:
Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel & RV Show and Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic at the DECC.
When: 5 to 10 p.m. today; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: $9 for adults, $6 for ages 6-17 and free for younger children.

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