Jim Morris
Jim Morris

Jim Morris has worked for newspapers, radio, television and various Websites for more than 47 years. He has been a writer, an editor, an editorial writer and a columnist. For 23 years, Morris worked for the Troy Daily News as sports editor, managing editor and executive editor. In 1994 he began working at the Dayton Daily News as an outdoor sports columnist and night sports desk editor. He retired from the DDN in January of 2010 and is now a freelance writer with his own Website for outdoors stories.

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It’s here, it’s gone. The only consistent thing about the annual Dayton outdoor/boat show is its inconsistency.

Just when it appeared there was some stability in Dayton’s outdoor/boat shows … the rug gets pulled out again. Simply stated, there will be no Dayton outdoor show in 2017.

Although the 2016 show, the Dayton All-American Outdoor Expo, held March 4-6, was called a success by promoter Rob Lynch of Fairfield, the 2017 show, scheduled for Feb. 10-12 at the Airport Expo Center, was called off a few weeks ago, according to Lynch.

“It turned out we were too close to the Cincinnati show (Jan. 13-15 and 18-22) and the Indianapolis Show (Feb. 17-26). My big box guys (large exhibitors) couldn’t make it work on the dates we had in Dayton. And they’re the guys who pay the bills,” said Lynch.

Lynch said he had a large number of small exhibitors signed up for 2017, but couldn’t get enough commitments from the large space users.

“It looks like we’ll be looking at some dates in March of 2018 for the next Dayton outdoors show,’’ Lynch added. “Right now they’re trying to clear some space in the schedule for the Dayton Convention Center.”

He said there is no space for the outdoor show in March of 2017 at the convention center.

Lynch continues to promote the Cincinnati-Dayton RV Super Show, scheduled for Feb 2-5 at the Expo Center. He now works as VP/general manager for a company called GS Media and Events.

The Dayton Airport Expo Center at 3900 McCauley Drive officially closed for good on June 30, 2016, to be used as a storage facility by the airport. There were three exceptions, however: the All-American Outdoor Expo, the RV Super Show and Miami Valley HomeWorld (Feb. 16-19). The latter two remain on the Expo Center schedule.

“I’m sorry there won’t be a Dayton show in 2017,” said Mike Choate, owner of Eagle Creek Marine on Poe Avenue in north Dayton. “A show the size of Dayton is what we can afford. But it has to make sense for us and the customers. If we were the only boat dealer at the show, it wouldn’t be right. The customer would feel cheated.”

The cancellation of the outdoor show is just the latest in the annual debacle that has often been the Dayton outdoor/boat show. Two years ago it was called off about three weeks prior to its scheduled opening. It has gone through four different promoters, two of which have shown up at different times over the last 10-15 year period.

One year, Dayton had three shows at the convention center, the expo center and the recently shuttered Hara Arena. In fact, Hara hosted the Miami Valley Boat Show for many years and it probably had the most stability of any Dayton show until the newer rival venues opened and the recession took over. Many of those Hara shows included the popular Jim Robey Journal Herald Fishing Safari.

“Unfortunately, there will not be a sports show in 2017,” Lynch said, “but they’re looking at dates for a 2018 show and I would be running that one.”

Don’t be surprised if someone decides to put on an outdoor sports/boat show somewhere in the Dayton area during March of 2017. Where? Troy’s remodeled Hobart Arena comes to mind. Or perhaps the Roberts Center near Wilmington. Or maybe they will – miraculously – find some space in the schedule at the Dayton Convention Center.

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