The 3rd Annual Ohio Cichlid Association Extravaganza was held recently on the weekend of Nov. 21-23 with more than two hundred registrants in attendance. This was a three-day Cichlid and Scavenger event that included a fish show, fish talks, manufacturers' displays, a dry goods auction and a fish auction. The event was a tremendous success and the best Extravaganza to date.
The weekend kicked on Friday afternoon with registration and the opening of the fish room. After things settled down a bit and after the dinner hour, the first of five presentations was given to the large crowd in attendance. The first speaker was none other than the infamous Charlie Grimes who thoroughly entertained the crowd with a rousing talk on live foods. Charlie was in rare form and really got things on a roll early and setting the tone for the Hospitality Suite socializing that followed. The evening concluded with fish tales being told well into the night.
Saturday's activities opened with an outstanding talk by Dr. Ron Coleman who provided fascinating observations on cichlid behavior and insight into why cichlid eggs vary from species to species. Ron's energy, command of the subject matter and excellent photography held the audience's attention throughout the talk. Ron showed some underwater shots of 14" male tuba from Costa Rica that were absolutely incredible!
Next, Lee Finley presented a talk on the subject of Cichlids and Scavengers. This talk was well received, as most cichlid aquarists have an interest in Scavengers and Lee is certainly an expert in this regard. Lee provided some interesting insight into how some aquarists are producing Synodontis fry in substantial quantities.
The third talk of the day was by Willem Heijns of the Netherlands. Willem showed excellent underwater footage and slides of the Cichlids of México and Belize. The video footage of the Cichlids tending their eggs and fry in the crystal clear rivers was very impressive. Additionally, Willem showed several aquarium photographs to complement his video presentation.
Last but not least, Ad Konings presented his talk on Lake Malawi Cichlids with truly spectacular photographs of the fish in their natural habitats. As usual, Ad's talk was 'standing room only' and a hit with the audience.
The highlight of Saturday evening was the surprise 50th Birthday Party for Ray 'Fish King' Lucas, long time friend and supporter of the OCA and many other fish clubs. Ray was shocked to see the 150+ people waiting for him when he was brought into the room. Lee Finley roasted Ray in memorable fashion, showing slides of Ray in his best form. The picture of Ray and friend in their matching flowered outfits was the crowd's favorite and proved that Ray will do anything for attention.
After Ray said a few words, he proceeded to conduct the huge Dry Goods Auction in which the manufacturers' donations were sold.
The Cichlid and Scavengers Show had over 250 entries with several rare and unusual species present, such as a large male Chuco sp. "Guarumo" and a large Herichthys bocourti male. Several participants received awards, however, Best of Show went to Ohio's own Showmaster, Ron Georgeone for his Geophagus altifrons.
On Sunday, the Cichlids auction was held, with close to 900 bags of high quality Cichlids being sold. This auction was truly a seller's auction with the prices staying high from start to finish.
All in all, the 1997 Ohio Cichlid Association Extravaganza was a huge success with something for everyone.