Sportshow has people looking forward to warmer weather

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Hawkeye Downs was filled with people dressed for the winter on Saturday, but they all had their minds on warmer weather at the 41st annual Cedar Rapids Sportshow.

"Most people are just excited to be out here and looking at boats and pretending it's spring for a little while," said Ben Patience, a salesperson with Coralville Lake Marina.

Warm temperatures mean good business for Coralville Lake Marina, but Patience said this time of year can be surprisingly busy for them.

"I have lots of people that are looking now just because they want to have that boat when the weather's nice," he said. "They don't want to be looking for a boat when the weather's nice."

Most of the 60-plus vendors at the show this weekend are from Iowa, but not everyone.

"We come all the way from South Africa, but this is our first time in Iowa," said Daniel Strydom of Data Safaris.

Strydom's introduction to the Hawkeye State hasn't been so warm.

“It’s cold," he said. "We haven’t been out that much, but it’s really, really cold.”

Sportshow organizers said they expected thousands of people to come through this weekend, with many of them stocking up on new equipment.

The event also includes seminars from people like Steve Miller, who fishes on the National Walleye Tour and lives in Marion.

"This is my local crowd," he said. "Traveling the tour all over the country, I love coming back here."

Miller said he too is looking a few months ahead.

"This time of the year, your mindset is still about spring and summer fishing, so this is about as close as we can get to getting that little bit of excitement."

The Cedar Rapids Sportshow wraps up Sunday, running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hawkeye Downs.