OVERLAND PARK, Mo. — Lake of the Ozarks marine dealers saw record crowds on two of the four days at this year's Overland Park Boat Show, and total attendance numbers were bigger than they have been in nearly 15 years.
The boat show, held from Jan. 28–31, brought a total of 8,436 people, according to Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association (LOMDA) Director Mike Kenagy. That's a 13% increase over 2020's show and makes 2021 the third-best attended LOMDA show since the event has been held in Overland Park. Kenagy noted the total attendance numbers have not been this high since 2005–2007.
Thursday and Saturday saw record-high numbers: Thursday is typically the lowest attendance day of the show, but was up by 25% compared with 2020 and the day's grand total of 904 attendees was a new record. Vendors at the show were buzzing about the surprisingly high number of people on the first day. Then on Saturday, attendance was up by 21% from last year, with a total of 4,563 attendees: another all-time record for the show since it came to Overland Park.
The show's setup walks attendees along two lengthy corridors of marine-related vendors' booths, from docks to boat lifts, insurance to magazines. Many of those vendors reported running short on—or completely out of—the giveaway items they brought, thanks to nearly 1,000 more attendees than they saw in 2020.
It was Lake of the Ozarks electrician contractor Catalyst Electric's first-ever LOMDA boat show, and co-owner Seth Agnew says it was well-worth attending. Catalyst's Grizzly Cooler giveaway got more than 600 signup and introduced plenty of Lake of the Ozarks dock owners to their brand. "It’s face to face, talk to people, see our name," Agnew said. "It builds some credibility."
Dan Joseph, GM at Yacht Club Powersports, agreed it was an excellent show, saying SeaDoo sales were up compared with 2020.
Kelly Koch, Sales Manager at MarineMax Missouri, in Lake Ozark, said they exceeded sales in both units and dollars, compared with 2020. The trend in boat-buying this year is tritoons and bowriders, Koch said. He calls the bowrider "the perfect Lake of the Ozarks boat." MarineMax's most popular bowriders are the 350SLX and 400SLX. Koch explained, "The bowriders are evolving into bigger and bigger sizes... the 40’ bowrider is the ideal boat. People want day-boats and that’s what it is."
Charlie Noland of Poly Lift Boat Lifts said they too had seen strong sales at the show. From dealers who help customers place a Poly Lift order after buying a boat, to customers who decide it's time for an upgrade, the Poly Lift sales team stayed busy for pretty much the entire four-day event.
After the stunning economic boom at the Lake in 2020, a strong 2021 might show the Lake of the Ozarks has reached a "new normal" that keeps businesses busier than ever.
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