Workers from American Motorsports, as well as volunteers from The Alexander City Rescue Squad, Alabama Marine Police, Boys and Girls Club and United Way, pose for a photo on a pontoon boat on Monday. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Boat show benefits economy, local organizations

Published 11:45am Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Although there are still a few days remaining in the first ever American Motorsports boat show, organizers are already thinking about bringing the event back next year.

“I think people are responding well,” said Donna Arthur with American Motorsports. “Friday I was shocked – it was our first day, and I didn’t anticipate a lot of traffic. But I think all around, I have been pleased with the turnout.”

Arthur said the company traditionally travels to the Birmingham boat show every year but wanted to change things up.

“(Deano Vopal and I) were talking about going to Birmingham or whether we wanted to keep it local,” Arthur said. “When we go up there, however, all the proceeds and money goes to Birmingham.”

Deano and Donna both decided it would be a great idea to keep the show local in an attempt to help the local economy.

Although a boat show has a clear purpose – showcasing and selling boats – Donna said the event has been about more than that.

“We are here to sell boats, but we are also here for the community,” Arthur said.

Local community groups had booths set up at the event, which also featured plenty of activities for children. Groups like the Boys and Girls Club of the Lake Martin Area were on hand selling boat parts donated by American Motorsports.

“I am pleased that the Boys and Girls Club has managed to reap some of the benefits,” Arthur said.

In addition to raising money for community groups, Arthur said they have had some buyers.

“We have had people coming from all over,” Arthur said. “We had one customer that had just been to the Atlanta boat show, but they came here and ended up buying a boat.”

Arthur said they hope to see the event grow next year, perhaps including live music and more fundraisers for local groups. The key, however, will be to keep the fun-feel that marked this year’s event.

“I have been to all the Birmingham shows, but to me, this had a family reunion type of feel,” Arthur said.